Abracadabra (Steve Miller Band song)

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Single by Steve Miller Band
from the album Abracadabra
B-side"Give It Up" (US/Canada)
"Baby Wanna Dance" (US/Canada, alternate B-side)
"Never Say No" (international)
ReleasedMay 1982
Length5:08 (Album version)
3:34 (Single/Video version)
LabelCapitol (US/Canada)
Mercury (international)
Songwriter(s)Steve Miller
Producer(s)Steve Miller, Gary Mallaber
Steve Miller Band singles chronology
"Heart Like a Wheel"
"Keeps Me Wondering Why"
Music video
"Abracadabra" on YouTube

"Abracadabra" is a song by American rock group the Steve Miller Band, written by Steve Miller. The song was released as the first single from the 1982 album of the same name that year. In the U.S., it spent two non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the biggest hit of Steve Miller's career to date, as well their last US Top 10 hit.


The song is said to have been inspired by the American singer Diana Ross, whom Miller had met when they each performed on the same episode of the pop music television show Hullabaloo in the 1960s.[1] The lyrics "Round and round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows" are a reference to the spinning wheel segment from The Original Amateur Hour.

Speaking on The Howard Stern Show in June 2016, Miller said at first his record company Capitol Records did not see the potential hit it would become. "Capitol didn't believe in it and didn't want to release it. I had a different deal with Phonogram in Europe. When it came out in Europe, I cancelled my American tour because it was No. 1 everywhere in the world, except the States."[citation needed] After seeing its success overseas, Capitol released it in the U.S. and it also climbed to No. 1.

Upon release, Billboard said the song "mixes sly lyric, soulful vocal, and Miller's guitar wizardry."[2]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song became a worldwide hit, charting in ten countries and topping the charts in six. In the U.S., the song was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two non-consecutive weeks, becoming the band's third number one hit in the U.S. along with "The Joker" and "Rock'n Me". It was knocked off the top by Chicago's "Hard to Say I'm Sorry", only to return to No. 1 two weeks later. A similar occurrence happened in 1976, when "Rock'n Me" knocked Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now" out of the No. 1 spot.

The song also showed substantial longevity, spending fourteen weeks in the top ten of the Hot 100 chart. It was the No. 9 song on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1982. "Abracadabra" is listed at No. 90 on Billboard's Hot 100 60th Anniversary chart.[3]

Alternate versions[edit]

The UK single version has never yet appeared on CD. It is 3:33 and is an exclusive edit where the chorus is edited back in at 3:06 and repeats to fade. The non-UK single version of the song appears in several Steve Miller Band compilation albums such as Young Hearts as well as on the Time-Life compilation Sounds of the Eighties: 1980–1982 and on a CD of songs hand-picked by Guy Fieri titled Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: Road Songs That Rock. Capitol issued an alternative version on a promotional 12" single (Capitol Records #SPRO 9797) for radio airplay; it featured a slightly slower tempo, removal of the second verse and first chorus, and a slightly earlier fade than the LP version. A live version of the song was released on Steve Miller Band Live! in 1983.

Music video[edit]

The music video 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. He is seen wearing sunglasses or having his eyes covered with a black bar juxtaposed next to images of a beautiful enchantress, "The Abracadabra Girl." Her face, physique and actions form the focal point of the video, dramatising the lyrics. She appears in different guises and attitudes; stage magician, juggler of scarves, playful sorceress with white mouse on her shoulder, seductress in a top hat and spandex. At times she is seen reclining, tossing her hair, making fireworks burst from the hat with tap of her wand amid more stills of Steve Miller.

Two young male magician/jugglers are also featured in the video, sometimes shirtless. They perform tricks and make the young witch disappear. She then turns into an older female sorceress, performed by another actress, who gestures dramatically then dances a tango in hot pants. The video begins and ends with the Abracadabra Girl placing a ball on a spinning umbrella, suggestive of the line "round and round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows".

Various special effects are employed in the video, such as collage, extreme colours and computer created magical effects. Somewhat primitive now, at that time, the early days of MTV and music videos, such effects were fresh and innovative. The video has since become iconic as has the mysterious girl, whose image is interwoven with the song. Peter Conn served as the video's director.[4]

Track listings[edit]

7" 45 RPM[edit]

Side one

  1. "Abracadabra" (single version; note: UK 7" version is an exclusive edit – see above for details)

Side two

  1. "Baby Wanna Dance" (North American release)
  2. "Never Say No" (European release)

12" Maxi[edit]

North American release[edit]

Side one

  1. "Abracadabra" (album version)

Side two

  1. "Macho City" (album version)

European release[edit]

Side one

  1. "Abracadabra" (album version)

Side two

  1. "Never Say No" (album version)

Chart performance[edit]


Certifications for "Abracadabra"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[29] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[30] Silver 250,000^
United States (RIAA)[31] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Notable cover versions[edit]

Depictions in popular media[edit]

"Abracadabra" was used in the season 12 episode "The Witches of Langley" of the animated television series American Dad! during a musical montage when Steve and his friends take up witchcraft to gain popularity at school. It was also used in the 2013 film The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. It was also played in an audition scene in the 2021 film Sing 2.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dallas hitmaker Steve Miller brings local flavor to 'Bingo!'". Dallasnews.com. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  2. ^ "Top Single Picks". Billboard. June 5, 1982. p. 67. Retrieved 2023-01-27.
  3. ^ a b "Hot 100 turns 60". Billboard. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  4. ^ Songfacts.com "Steve Miller Band - Abracadabra"
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ "Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  7. ^ "50 Singles". RPM. 36 (24). July 24, 1982. ISSN 0315-5994. Archived from the original (PHP) on January 30, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  8. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1982-10-23. Retrieved 2022-01-30.
  9. ^ "Danish Charts Archive?".
  10. ^ "The Irish Charts - search". Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  11. ^ "Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  12. ^ "Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra". Top 40 Singles.
  13. ^ "Topp 20 Single uke 30, 1982 – VG-lista. Offisielle hitlister fra og med 1958" (in Norwegian). VG-lista.
  14. ^ "TOP 20 TMP Portugal - number one in the 80's airplay charts".
  15. ^ "SA Charts 1965 - 1989". Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Listas de superventas: 1982". 12 February 2010.
  17. ^ "Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra". Singles Top 100.
  18. ^ "Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra – Hitparade.ch". Archived from the original on 2011-11-10. Singles Top 75. Hung Medien.
  19. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  20. ^ "Steve Miller Band Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  21. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 165.
  22. ^ "Steve Miller Band Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard.
  23. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1982". Kent Music Report. January 3, 1983. Retrieved January 22, 2023 – via Imgur.
  24. ^ "australian-charts.com - Forum - Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts - 1980s (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2014-07-17.
  25. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 2016-08-11. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  26. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1982". Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  27. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1982". Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  28. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1982/Top 100 Songs of 1982". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  29. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Steve Miller – Abracadabra". Music Canada. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  30. ^ "British single certifications – Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  31. ^ "American single certifications – Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  32. ^ "'The Best Songs We Never Wrote': Track by Track with EODM's Jesse Hughes". 7 June 2019.
  33. ^ Lagas, Jorge (2021-05-11). "Arnel Pineda de Journey colabora con miembros de Mr. Big y Whitesnake". Radio Futuro (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  34. ^ 14:59 at Discogs (list of releases)