Fly Like an Eagle

Music review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Fly Like an Eagle Music Poster Image
Power rocker's tour de force stands the test of time.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Messages are a bit mixed here. The title track is much concerned with transcendence, on various levels, and social justice.  Elsewhere, the murderous outlaws Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue appear to be still on the lam with their ill-gotten money when we last see them in "Take the Money and Run." On the other hand, such songs as "Wild Mountain Honey" and "The Window" preach, however sappily, a message of peace and love rather than materialism.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Fly Like an Eagle isn't really about positive role models, but there's nothing too heinous either, beyond the young criminals in "Take the Money and Run," who appear to be getting off scot-free. There's a good-time party ethos in evidence, but the narrators of many songs seem to be modeling a positive, life-affirming set of values that rises above the merely hedonistic.

Violence

In "Take the Money and Run," the protagonists murder a man and run off with his money.

Sex

Miller's music is based in the blues, a notably sexualized idiom; "rock 'n' roll," after all, is one of the myriad euphemisms for sex, and his song "Rock 'n Me," for example, follows in the same tradition. The lovely old-school harmonies of "You Send Me" are briefly interrupted with a voiceover of what seems to be a guy trying to get his girl to go farther than she wants to -- followed by more harmonies, leaving the drama to the listener's imagination. Intentionally or otherwise, Miller's lyrics to "Wild Mountain Honey" are perennial finalists in the Really Bad Hippie Poetry: Sniggering Phallic Allusions category: "Come on mama / Heal this lonesome man / Grow the tree of wholeness / In this desert land"; "Come on papa / Your end is the means / Don't trade your love and goodness / For the golden machine." Kids may find this hilarious.

Language
Consumerism

Materialism was definitely  out of fashion when this album was made. The cover tune "Mercury Blues" does sing the praises of the car in question, but it's a retro song about a retro car.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue, the miscreants of "Take the Money and Run," "sit around the house, get high and watch the tube" at the start of their career of crime.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that it was the mid-'70s, so expect some low-level sex, drug, and crime references here. But Fly Like an Eagle is arguably Steve Miller's masterpiece, an enduring classic of rock 'n' roll, with Miller and the band in top form. Many an adolescent boy credited this album with giving him the strength to survive high school back in the day.

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Teen, 17 years old Written bymoviewannabe April 6, 2013

Steve Miller Band is not bad of a band; though the band's guitars do NOT sound like hard rock.

Many older kids should handle this. The only things to worried about are in "Take The Money and Run" conclude, "Sit around the house / Get high a... Continue reading

What's the story?

Steve Miller's most commercially successful album when it came out in 1976, Fly Like an Eagle is a perfect snapshot of the era, delivering some of its most notable conventions -- outlaws on the run, space rock, hippie-dippy sweetness -- with force and skill in classic tracks \"Take the Money and Run,\" \"Fly Like an Eagle,\" \"Wild Mountain Honey.\" Blues, rock, synths, and power chords directed where they'll do the most good; especially irresistible to teen boys of the era, and surviving on radio today.

Is it any good?

Musically, Miller's at the height of his powers here, and the band's firing on all cylinders. Many of the tracks are enduring classics, and each of the others is appealing on its own merit (e.g. the cover versions of "Mercury Blues" and "You Send Me"). As a lyricist Miller sometimes falls a bit short; while his verses are well suited to rockers, his attempts to impart philosophical wisdom sometimes result in howlers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why the theme of space seems to run through so many of the songs on this album. What was happening with space at the time? What other songs did Steve Miller write about space?

  • Why do you think the theme of outlaws -- as in "Take the Money and Run" -- is so popular in music? What other songs about outlaws can you think of, and how do they turn out?

  • Looking at the world's problems that Miller sees in "Fly Like an Eagle," do you think things have changed much since 1976?

  • Do you think this style of music still sounds good today, or is it too old-fashioned for you?

Music details

  • Artist: Steve Miller Band
  • Release date: May 1, 1976
  • Type: Album
  • Label: Capitol
  • Genre: Rock
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No

For kids who love music for teens

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