Abracadabra (Steve Miller Band song)

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Abracadabra Steve Miller Band.jpg
Single by Steve Miller Band
from the album Abracadabra
B-side "Never Say No"
Released May 1982
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded 1981
Genre Pop rock, electronic rock, new wave
Length 5:08 (Album version)
3:34 (Single version)
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Steve Miller
Producer(s) Steve Miller, Gary Mallaber
Steve Miller Band singles chronology
"Heart Like a Wheel"
"Keeps Me Wondering Why"

"Abracadabra" is a song by American rock group Steve Miller Band, written by Steve Miller. The song was released as the first single from the 1982 album of the same name the same year (see 1982 in music).


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 TV show Hullabaloo in the 1960s.[3] Speaking on The Howard Stern Show in June 2016, Miller said, at first his record company Capitol Records didn't 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 Number One 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 number one.


The song became a worldwide hit, charting in ten countries and topping the charts in six countries, and has become one of the band's biggest hits, along with "The Joker" and "Rock'n Me". In the U.S., the song was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two non-consecutive weeks. It was knocked off the top by Chicago's "Hard to Say I'm Sorry", only to return to #1 two weeks later. A similar occurrence happened in 1976, when Steve Miller Band's "Rock'n Me" knocked Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now" out of the #1 spot. The song also showed substantial longevity, spending fourteen weeks in the top ten of the Hot 100 chart. "Abracadabra" is listed at #70 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of all time.[4]

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 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, wearing sunglasses or having his eyes covered with a black bar.

Chart performance[edit]

Single 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]
  2. "Abracadabra" [Single 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]


Cover versions of the song have been performed by Sugar Ray on their album 14:59 and by the Mike Chapman Band. A live version by the Belgian band Das Pop appeared on their 2004 DVD-single Love is Fair. The song was also covered by Australian jazz/folk group Flap! on their self-titled debut album (2010).[21] John Parr and Rick Wakeman covered this song, which was released in 2013 on the album Fly Like An Eagle: An All-Star Tribute to Steve Miller Band. In an Alarm für Cobra 11 episode "Tödlicher Ruhm" (Deadly Fame) Mark Keller and Scooter performed a cover of this song.

See also[edit]

List of Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles of 1982


  1. ^ "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database" (PHP). Recording Industry Association of America. 
  2. ^ "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original (ASPX) on 2013-01-11. 
  3. ^ "Dallas hitmaker Steve Miller brings local flavor to 'Bingo!'". Dallasnews.com. Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  6. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  7. ^ "50 Singles" (PHP). RPM. 36 (24). July 24, 1982. ISSN 0315-5994. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts - search". Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra". Top 40 Singles.
  11. ^ "Topp 20 Single uke 30, 1982 – VG-lista. Offisielle hitlister fra og med 1958" (in Norwegian). VG-lista.
  12. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra". Singles Top 100.
  13. ^ "Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra – Hitparade.ch". Archived from the original on 2011-11-10.  Singles Top 75. Hung Medien.
  14. ^ "Archive Chart: 1982-07-10" UK Singles Chart.
  15. ^ "Steve Miller Band – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Steve Miller Band.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  17. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  18. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1982". Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Top 100 1982 - UK Music Charts". Uk-charts.top-source.info. Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  20. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1982/Top 100 Songs of 1982". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  21. ^ Video on YouTube
Preceded by
"I've Never Been to Me" by Charlene
Canadian "RPM" Singles Chart number-one single
July 24, 1982
Succeeded by
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
Preceded by
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor (first run)
"Hard to Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago (second run)
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
September 4, 1982
September 25, 1982
Succeeded by
"Hard to Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago (first run)
"Jack and Diane" by John Mellencamp (second run)
Preceded by
"The Other Woman" by Ray Parker, Jr.
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
September 6, 1982 – September 13, 1982
Succeeded by
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor