Steve Miller is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and even if he was a little bit cranky when it all went down, a quick look at his career over the years reveals how he got there and just how many hits he racked up — and they were all present and accounted for during his Sunday-night performance at Mountain Jam.

He primed the audience quickly with his first five songs: “The Stake,” “Swingtown” “Abracadabra,” “Living in the U.S.A.” and “Take the Money and Run” gave a good sign of what was in store for the night’s set. But, as he shared later, there was a time when he saw an expiration date on his career.

The year was 1973, and as Miller recalled, he had made six albums and had turned in his seventh. “We were at the end of the road with our record company,” he remembered, noting that he wasn’t hearing anything from the label about the album after they had received it. He left on tour, thinking that his career was over. Coming home to San Francisco after the tour wrapped, he turned on the radio to check and see what was going on and heard “The Joker” on four out of the five stations he scanned that day. It was Miller’s first No. 1, “and with that, you get bigger amps, vans and better guitars.” He then thanked the audience for that early support. Next year, Miller will mark 50 years since recording the Steve Miller Band’s debut album, Children of the Future.

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