- The Joker (song)
Cover of the 1973 single
Single by Steve Miller Band from the album The Joker B-side see track listings Released October 1973 Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl, CD Genre Rock Length 4:41
3:35 (7" version)
Label Capitol Writer(s) Eddie Curtis, Ahmet Ertegün, Steve Miller Producer Steve Miller Steve Miller Band singles chronology "Fandango"
"Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash"
"The Joker" is a song by the Steve Miller Band from their 1973 album The Joker. The song is one of two Steve Miller Band songs that feature the neologism "pompatus". The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 1974. It draws heavy influence from the Allen Toussaint's song Soul Sister featured on his 1972 album Life, Love and Faith. The bass line and the guitar effects on the intro are the same, although both songs have different lyrics and distinct melodies.
More than 16 years later, in September 1990, it reached number one in the UK Singles Chart for two weeks after being used in a Levi's television advertisement, thus holding the record for the longest gap between transatlantic chart-toppers. This reissue of "The Joker" also topped the Irish Singles Chart, the New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart, the Dutch Nationale Top 100 and the Dutch Top 40.
The song is sometimes misidentified by the title "Space Cowboy" because of the first line of the lyrics, which actually refer to an earlier song by that title from Miller's Brave New World album. The following lines refer to two other earlier songs, "Gangster of Love" from Sailor, and "Enter Maurice" from Recall the Beginning...A Journey from Eden.
During the song, Steve Miller references lines from the 1954 The Clovers song "Lovey Dovey" four times when he sings "You're the cutest thing that I ever did see/ Really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree / Lovey dovey, lovey dovey, lovey dovey all the time"; the second of these mentions is during the fade-out.
The song is noted for its wolf whistle played on a slide guitar after the "lovey dovey" parts and the "some people call me Maurrice [sic]" part.
- 7" single (1973)
- "The Joker" – 3:36
- "Something to Believe In" – 4:40
- 7" single (1983 - live version)
- "The Joker" (live) – 2:55
- "Take the Money and Run" (live) – 3:49
- 7" single (1990)
- "The Joker" (single version) – 3:34
- "Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around" – 2:27
- 12" maxi (1990)
- "The Joker" (LP version) – 4:22
- "Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around" – 2:27
- "Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma" – 5:39
- CD maxi (1990)
- "The Joker" (single version) – 3:34
- "Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around" – 2:27
- "Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma" – 3:33
- "Living in the U.S.A." – 3:59
Country Certification Date Sales certified U.S. Gold January 11, 1974 1,000,000 Sweden Gold February 6, 1991 10,000
Chart (1973/1974) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1 Canadian RPM Top Singles 2 Dutch Daverende 30 18 Dutch Top 40 18 Chart (1990/1991) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart 5 Dutch Nationale Top 100 1 Dutch Top 40 1 French SNEP Singles Chart 33 Irish Singles Chart 1 New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 1 Norwegian Singles Chart 2 Swedish Singles Chart 4 Swiss Singles Chart 5 UK Singles Chart 1 Preceded by
"Time in a Bottle" by Jim Croce
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
January 12, 1974
"Show and Tell" by Al Wilson
"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" by Bombalurina with Timmy Mallett
Irish IRMA number-one single
September 6, 1990
"I Useta Lover" by The Saw Doctors
UK Singles Chart number-one single
September 9, 1990 – September 22, 1990
"Show Me Heaven" by Maria McKee
"Verdammt, ich lieb' dich" by Matthias Reim
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
November 3, 1990 - November 16, 1990 (2 weeks)
Dutch Nationale Top 100 number-one single
November 10, 1990 - November 23, 1990 (2 weeks)
"Trippin'" by Push Push
New Zealand RIANZ number-one single
May 10, 1991
"Trippin'" by Push Push
"The Joker" Single by k.d. lang from the album Drag Released 1997 Genre Adult contemporary Length 4:44 Label Warner Bros. Writer(s) Eddie Curtis, Ahmet Ertegün, Steve Miller Producer k.d. Lang, Craig Street k.d. lang singles chronology "Sexuality"
"Theme from the Valley of the Dolls"
"The Joker" Single by Fatboy Slim from the album Palookaville Released February 28, 2005 Recorded 2004 Genre Big Beat Label Astralwerks, Skint Writer(s) Eddie Curtis, Ahmet Ertegün, Steve Miller Producer Fatboy Slim, Simon Thornton Fatboy Slim singles chronology "Wonderful Night"
"Don't Let the Man Get You Down"
Alternative coverRemix single
- k.d. lang covered it on her album Drag (1997) on which all the songs have the theme of smoking or cigarettes. The song was released as a single.
- Fettes Brot did a German rendition of the song in 2001, retitled as "The Grosser" (English translation "The big guy").
- Fatboy Slim reworked the song on his 2004 album Palookaville, featuring Bootsy Collins on lead vocals. This cover version reached No. 32 on the UK Singles Chart in 2005.
- Mike Myers did a cover to the song, playing a sitar, in The Love Guru.
- Post-grunge band Puddle of Mudd covered it on their covers album Re:(disc)overed.
- In 1998, Todd Snider covered the song on his Viva Satellite album.
- Spearhead recorded a cover for the compilation CD Hempilation 2 (1998).
- Darkbuster covered the song as "Space Cowboy" on their album 22 Songs You'll Never Want to Hear Again! (1999).
- Twiztid recorded a cover of the song, which appeared on their 2004 compilation Cryptic Collection Vol. 3.
- In 2006, Jason Mraz covered the song for the soundtrack to the film Happy Feet. This recording was produced by Josh Deutsch and John Powell. On the soundtrack album Happy Feet: Music from the Motion Picture, the song is mashed up with "Everything I Own", recorded by Chrissie Hynde.
Live cover performances
- The song was covered live by The Smashing Pumpkins in 1992, and the recording can be found on the Mashed Potatoes box set.
- Kurt Elling performed live during a concert in the Czech Republic in 2006.
- Tim McGraw performed it during the "Soul2Soul" 2007 tour with his wife Faith Hill.
- They Might Be Giants have played it live on occasion, and included a cover of it on their podcast.
- The String Cheese Incident covered it at a show in Melkweg, Amsterdam on March 27, 2004, and added "Don't wanna see Billy run" (Bill Nershi of SCI)
- Keith Urban performed the song during his "Love, Pain, and the Whole Crazy Thing" 2007 tour with The Wreckers on August 18, 2007 and with Amanda Wilkinson and Tyler Wilkinson on December 15, 2007.
- 311 performed it live in New Orleans on 311 Day (March 11, 2008).
- Puddle of Mudd performed the song at DC101 Chili Cook-Off on May 16, 2009
- Jack Johnson often performs the song live during his 2010 To the Sea world tour and did so in Vancouver on October 1, 2010.
- "The Joker" was sampled in the song "Summer and Lightning" by Electric Light Orchestra from their 1977 album, Out of the Blue.
- "The Joker" serves as the outline of the song "So Cal Loco (Party Like a Rockstar)" by Sprung Monkey which appeared on the film Dude, Where's My Car?.
- It was also sampled on the original Def American Records release of The Geto Boys' song "Gangster of Love" from their 1989 album, Grip It! On That Other Level. The sample, presumably unauthorized, was replaced with Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" on later pressings of the album.
- The song was sampled on Shaggy's song "Angel" from 2001.
- The song "Hudson Dragonfly" by Jackie-O Motherfucker, from the album, America Mystica (2006), contains a sample of "The Joker".
- Cover version appeared in the movie My Super Ex-Girlfriend.
- In the 2008 Hollywood movie, The Love Guru, the song is performed by Mike Myers and Manu Narayan towards the ending.
- In the "The Way We Was" episode of The Simpsons, Homer sings along to the song while driving. Homer's rendition of the song also plays over the end credits of the episode.
- The first lyric of the song was sung in an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast by Space Ghost, backed up by Zorak, banging tunelessly on a piano. Unable to figure out the next few lyrics, he adds: "Dumb people haul trash around!"
- In the "That '70s Musical" episode of That '70s Show, Eric Forman, Donna Pinciotti, Steven Hyde and Michael Kelso sings it in "The Circle" in Fez's thoughts.
- The Pompatus of Love is a 1996 film based on the same notable lyrics in this song.
- In Cowboy Bebop, many of the episodes end with the text "See you Space Cowboy...", which is a double reference to the main character and how the story is influenced by music.
- David Letterman once did a Top 10 list of Rejected Batman villains. Included in the list were The Joker's brothers, The Smoker and The Midnight Toker (a reference to the line: I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight toker...).
- It is in the video game Karaoke Revolution Volume 2.
- The song is also featured in the video game Guitar Hero World Tour.
- The song has also been released as downloadable content for the video game Rock Band, having been released on January 20, 2009.
- On the sitcom Friends, Joey's imaginary friend from childhood was Maurice and his occupation was "Space Cowboy."
- On the Spike original show 1000 Ways to Die, way to die #623 is titled "MIDNIGHT CHOKER", in reference to the lyric in the song "midnight toker".
- A character in Stephen King's novel Gerald's Game is nicknamed "The Space Cowboy" from the corresponding lyric in this song.
- In the King of the Hill episode "Patch Boomhauer", the song is used in bachelor party scenes.
- In comedian Frank Caliendo's stand up special on TBS, he spoofs the song during an act as Batman characters and a note The Riddler has left says that he has a new partner in crime, but "because I'm the Riddler I can't tell who that partner is, but the answer lies in a song from 1974." Frank, as Robin, then says "Holy midnight tokers, Batman! It's The Joker!"
- In the 2009 Marvel Comics limited comic series "Deadpool: Suicide Kings", Deadpool introduces himself by quoting some of the song's lines, saying, "Some people call me Deadpool, some call me the gangster of love, some people call me Maurice, 'cause I speak the pompatus of love."
References and footnotes
- ^ a b "Steve Miller Band > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p198268. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
- ^ a b "Chart Stats - The Steve Miller Band - The Joker". http://www.chartstats.com/songinfo.php?id=17930. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
- ^ a b "irishcharts.ie search results". http://www.irishcharts.ie/search/placement. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
- ^ a b "charts.org.nz - Steve Miller Band - The Joker". http://charts.org.nz/showitem.asp?interpret=Steve+Miller+Band&titel=The+Joker&cat=s. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
- ^ a b c "dutchcharts.nl - Steve Miller Band - The Joker (Dutch)". http://dutchcharts.nl/showitem.asp?interpret=Steve+Miller+Band&titel=The+Joker&cat=s. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
- ^ a b "Nederlandse Top 40 - Week 44, 1990 (Dutch)". . http://www.top40.nl/index.aspx?week=44&jaar=1990&maand=11. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
- ^ U.S. certifications riaa.com (Retrieved April 10, 2009)
- ^ Swedish certifications Ifpi.se (Retrieved April 10, 2009)
- ^ "RPM Volume 20 No. 24, January 26, 1974 - RPM". http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/rpm/028020-119.01-e.php?&file_num=nlc008388.4963a&volume=20&issue=24&issue_dt=January%2026%201974&type=1&interval=24. Retrieved October 6, 2009.
- ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 - Week 47, 1973 (Dutch)". http://www.top40.nl/index.aspx?week=47&jaar=1973. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
- ^ "Steve Miller Band - The Joker - austriancharts.at (German)". http://austriancharts.at/showitem.asp?interpret=Steve+Miller+Band&titel=The+Joker&cat=s. Retrieved October 6, 2009.
- ^ "lescharts.com - Steve Miller Band - The Joker (French)". http://lescharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Steve+Miller+Band&titel=The+Joker&cat=s. Retrieved October 6, 2009.
- ^ "norwegiancharts.com - Steve Miller Band - The Joker". http://norwegiancharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Steve+Miller+Band&titel=The+Joker&cat=s. Retrieved October 6, 2009.
- ^ "swedishcharts.com - Steve Miller Band - The Joker". http://swedishcharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Steve+Miller+Band&titel=The+Joker&cat=s. Retrieved October 6, 2009.
- ^ "Steve Miller Band - The Joker - hitparade.ch (German)". http://hitparade.ch/showitem.asp?interpret=Steve+Miller+Band&titel=The+Joker&cat=s. Retrieved October 6, 2009.
- ^ "Chart Stats - Fatboy Slim - The Joker". http://www.chartstats.com/songinfo.php?id=645. Retrieved October 13, 2009.
- ^ "Smashing Pumpkins dot com". http://www.smashingpumpkins.com/pages/discography/track/13638. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awYA9QBrALc
- ^ http://kotaku.com/5121955/rock-bands-january-lineup-includes-roy-orbison-lenny-kravitz--steve-miller-band
- ^ http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=3196
Steve Miller • Norton Buffalo • Gordy Knudtson • Kenny Lee Lewis • Billy Peterson • Joseph Wooten
- The tokezone: "The Joker" lyrics and biography, more on the pompitous of love; video and e-cards
- The Straight Dope: In Steve Miller's "The Joker," what is "the pompatus of love"?
- Language Log: Dismortality and puppetutes -- post on the etymology of "pompatus".
James "Curley" Cooke • Tim Davis • Les Dudek • Lonnie Turner • Jim Peterman • Craymore Stevens • Boz Scaggs • Glyn Johns • Ben Sidran • Nicky Hopkins • Bobby Winkelman • Jack King • Ross Valory • David Denny • Jesse Davis • Gerald Johnson • Gary Mallaber • Dicky Thompson • Jim Keltner • Roger Allen Clark • "Sneaky" Pete Kleinow • Byron Allred • Greg Douglass • John Massaro • Bob Malach • Billy Peterson • Ricky Peterson • Leo Sidran • Sonny Charles
Studio albumsChildren of the Future • Sailor • Brave New World • Your Saving Grace • Number 5 • Rock Love • Recall the Beginning...A Journey from Eden • The Joker • Fly Like an Eagle • Book of Dreams • Circle of Love • Abracadabra • Italian X Rays • Living in the 20th Century • Born 2 B Blue (Steve Miller solo album) • Wide River • Bingo! • Let Your Hair Down Live albumsSteve Miller Band Live! • King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents the Steve Miller Band • Live in Chicago Compilations Singles Songs Related articles Fatboy Slim Studio albums Live albums Remix albums Compilation albumsThe Greatest Hits – Why Try Harder Limited releases DVDsBig Beach Boutique II – The Movie · The Greatest Hits – Why Make Videos · Incredible Adventures in Brazil Related articles Better Living Through Chemistry You've Come a Long Way, Baby Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars Palookaville The Greatest Hits - Why Try Harder Late Night Tales: Fatboy Slim Here Lies Love"Please Don't" Other singles Featured singles"Badder Badder Schwing"
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