How Diana Ross Helped Steve Miller Make The Competition Magically Disappear In September Of 1982
And now for Steve Miller's last trick watch him pull another hit single out from his hat. For this one he'll need his very special assistant: Miss Diana Ross.
The Steve Miller Band were #1 on the charts on this weekend back in 1982 with the song "Abracadabra". It would be the last US Top 40 hit for the band, and their third #1, following "The Joker" and "Rock 'N' Me." The song likely wouldn't have enjoyed it's supremacy over all other singles, however, if not for Diana Ross and her former group The Supremes.
Miller once told The Dallas Morning News the song started off as musically pleasing but lyrically? Not so much. In fact, he referred to the original lyrics as being "atrocious". It was after a chance meeting with Ross, however, that the song would get it's finishing magical touch.
"One day I was out skiing in Sun Valley and, lo and behold, who did I see on the mountain but Diana Ross?" Miller told The Dallas Morning News. "I skied down off the mountain to go have lunch. I had played with Diana Ross and the Supremes on Hullabaloo in the '60s, and I started thinking about the Supremes and I wrote the lyrics to 'Abracadabra' in 15 minutes."
Voila! It's a hit.
- The video was the first that Miller made. It features magicians in a white room performing tricks and other illusions with a female assistant. Since Miller himself was touring Europe at the time and unavailable for the shoot, he appears in the video only in a series of photos, wearing sunglasses or having his eyes covered by a black bar.
- The album version runs 5:08; the single was edited down to a radio-friendly 3:37. You can hear the album version HERE.
- Sugar Ray covered this in 1999 on their album 14:59. You can hear Sugar Ray's version HERE.
- The lyrics "Round and round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows" refer to the spinning wheel segment from The Original Amateur Hour, a popular radio and television show which ran from the 30s to the 60s.
- The song's magic spread throughout the world as it charted in ten countries, topping the charts in six of them. In the U.S. the song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was there for two non-consecutive weeks. It was knocked off the top by Chicago's "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" but returned to #1 two weeks later. The song also spent fourteen weeks in the top ten of the Hot 100 chart.
- "Abracadabra" is listed at #90 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of all time.