The Joker is the eighth album by Steve Miller Band, released in 1973. The album marked a period of significant change for the group as the band abandoned their psychedelic oriented music for a more melodic, smooth rock/blues sound. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also their first solid commercial success due to the strong radio-play of the title track. The title track took 19 days to record. The album reached #2 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified Platinum in the United States.
The artwork of the album is also considered amongst the greatest; for example Rolling Stone would later rank it as one of the "Top 100 Album Covers Of All Time".
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic rated The Joker three out of five stars, stating that "those spacy jams [are] driven by chops and [reveal] new worlds" and calling it "all bright and fun, occasionally truly silly". He also stated that it "isn't mind-expanding", but concluded by saying that it "nevertheless maintains its good-time vibe so well that it's hard not to smile along...provided you're on the same wavelength as Miller, of course."
The Quadraphonic 8-track tape of this album features an extended (4:11) unedited version of "The Joker" and also features studio talk before "Your Cash Ain't Nothin' but trash". The studio talk information is also present on the standard vinyl release.
Near the end of the song "Lovin' Cup", someone can be heard saying "Last....Last verse". This is very noticeable on the Quadraphonic 8-track tape. According to an email from stevemillerband.com, it was Lonnie Turner the bassist.