“Fly Like an Eagle” is a song written by Steve Miller for the album of the same name. The song went to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the week of March 12, 1977, kept from the top spot by “Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)” by Barbra Streisand. The single edit can be found on Greatest Hits (1974–1978). The song has an unusually mellow and “dreamy” feel. It is usually played in tandem with “Space Intro”, but the song also segues into “Wild Mountain Honey”.
The band first performed the song in 1973 for the concert at New York City’s Felt Forum venue with The Marshall Tucker Band, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. The song was re-recorded for the eponymous album released in 1976.
An earlier 1973 version of the song features a more bluesy and less funk-inspired rhythm, and guitar taking the synthesizer parts (albeit with similar delay effects). The lyrics are slightly different, indicating that the place the eagle wants to fly away from is a Native American reservation. The song’s final, funk-inspired album version pays homage to “Slippin’ Into Darkness” by War (1971).
The main guitar hook in the song was first used in a slightly different form on Miller’s 1969 track “My Dark Hour” (which featured Paul McCartney).
The original Steve Miller Band version sold over one million copies. The Seal version sold over 300,000 units as of April 5, 1997, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Steve Miller — lead vocals, guitar, ARP Odyssey
Lonnie Turner — bass
Gary Mallaber — drums
Joachim Young — B3 organ