In concert in 2006
|Birth name||William Royce Scaggs|
June 8, 1944 |
Canton, Ohio, United States
|Origin||Madison, Wisconsin, United States|
|Genres||Blue-eyed soul, rock, blues rock, soft rock, jazz rock|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, guitarist|
|Labels||Columbia, Atlantic, Virgin, 429 Records|
|Associated acts||Steve Miller Band, Toto|
Gibson Les Paul
William Royce Scaggs (known professionally as Boz Scaggs; born June 8, 1944) is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He gained fame in the 1960s as a guitarist and one-time lead singer with the Steve Miller Band, and in the 1970s with several solo Top 20 hit singles in the United States, including the hits "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" from the critically acclaimed album Silk Degrees (1976), which peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200. Scaggs continues to write, record music, and tour.
Early life and career
Scaggs was born in Canton, Ohio, the son of a traveling salesman. The family moved to McAlester, Oklahoma, then to Plano, Texas (at that time a farm town), just north of Dallas. He attended a Dallas private school, St. Mark's School of Texas, where schoolmate Mal Buckner gave him the nickname "Bosley", later shortened to "Boz".
After learning guitar at the age of 12, he met Steve Miller at St. Mark's School. In 1959, he became the vocalist for Miller's band, the Marksmen. The pair later attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison together, playing in blues bands like the Ardells and the Fabulous Knight Trains.
Leaving school, Scaggs briefly joined the burgeoning rhythm and blues scene in London, then traveled on to Sweden as a solo performer, and in 1965 recorded his solo debut album, Boz, which failed commercially. Scaggs also had a brief stint with the band the Other Side with Mac MacLeod and fellow American Jack Downing.
Returning to the U.S., Scaggs promptly headed for the booming psychedelic music center of San Francisco in 1967. Linking up with Steve Miller again, he appeared on the Steve Miller Band's first two albums, Children of the Future and Sailor in 1968. Scaggs secured a solo contract with Atlantic Records in 1968, releasing his second album, Boz Scaggs, featuring the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and session guitarist Duane Allman, in 1969. Despite good reviews, this release achieved only moderate sales. He then briefly hooked up with Bay Area band Mother Earth in a supporting role on their second album Make a Joyful Noise on guitar and backup vocals. Scaggs then signed with Columbia Records; his first four albums for Columbia all charted, with his best peaking at #81.
1976-81: the hit years
In 1976, using session musicians who would later form Toto, he recorded Silk Degrees. The album reached #2 on the US Billboard 200, and #1 in a number of other countries, spawning four hit singles: "It's Over", "Lowdown", "What Can I Say", and "Lido Shuffle", as well as the poignant ballad "We're All Alone", later recorded by Rita Coolidge and Frankie Valli. "Lowdown" sold over one million copies in the US.
A sellout world tour followed, but his follow-up album in 1977 Down Two Then Left did not sell as well as Silk Degrees and neither of its singles reached the Top 40. The 1980 album Middle Man spawned two top 20 hits, "Breakdown Dead Ahead" and "Jojo"; and Scaggs enjoyed two more hits in 1980-81: "Look What You've Done to Me", from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack, and "Miss Sun", from a greatest hits set. Both were US #14 hits.
Scaggs took a long break from recording and his next LP, Other Roads, did not appear until 1988. "Heart of Mine", from Other Roads, is Scaggs' last top-40 hit as of 2016. Also in 1988, he opened the San Francisco nightclub Slim's, and remained a co-owner of the venue as of 2011.
From 1989 to 1992, Scaggs joined Donald Fagen, Phoebe Snow, Michael McDonald and others in The New York Rock and Soul Revue. His next solo release was the album Some Change in 1994. He issued Come On Home, an album of blues, and My Time: A Boz Scaggs Anthology, an anthology, in 1997.
He garnered good reviews with Dig although the CD, which was released on September 11, 2001, got less attention than it might have received in a calmer time. In May 2003, Scaggs released But Beautiful, a collection of jazz standards that debuted at number 1 on the jazz chart. In 2008 he released Speak Low, which he described in the liner notes as "a sort of progressive, experimental effort ... along the lines of some of the ideas that Gil Evans explored." During 2004, he released a DVD and a live 16-track CD Greatest Hits Live that was recorded August 2003 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.
After a break in recording, in 2008, he undertook a series of shows across the US. Two years followed when the performer began a tour with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald. Together they took the opportunity with concerts entitled Dukes of September Rhythm Revue. Aside from that, Scaggs's next album Memphis was released a few months later in March 2013. It was recorded in that Southern American city at the Royal Studios. The album included some of his favorite compositions he chose to cover from other artists. A tour of the United States, Canada and Japan followed with the anticipated release. Scaggs got himself a great reception on the road in 2013, and before the year ended, added new live dates across North America, including Australia for 2014. In 2015, he released A Fool to Care, a compilation of mostly covers, including "Whispering Pines" with Lucinda Williams, and one original blues composition, "Hell to Pay", performed with Bonnie Raitt. The album rose to number 1 on the Billboard Blues Album chart, and number 54 on the Billboard 200.
Personal life and family
Scaggs' first marriage was to Carmella Storniola and they had two sons Austin, a music journalist with a column called "The Smoking Section" in Rolling Stone, and Oscar, who died of a heroin overdose on New Year's Eve 1998 aged just 21 at the decrepit Hotel Royan in the rough areas of San Francisco. Scaggs and Carmella divorced in 1980 and after a child custody battle, they were awarded joint custody of their sons.
With the Steve Miller Band
|1968||Children of the Future||134|
|1971||Boz Scaggs & Band||198||—|
|1977||Down Two Then Left||11||—||Platinum|
|1996||Fade into Light||—||—|
|1997||Come On Home||94||—|
|1997||My Time: A Boz Scaggs Anthology||—||—|
|2004||Greatest Hits Live||—||—|
|2015||A Fool to Care||—||—|
- While the 1969 self-titled Atlantic album failed to chart upon initial release, it peaked at #171 when reissued in 1974. Three years later the album was reissued once again, this time in a remixed form. This version, however, only bubbled under the Billboard 200, reaching #209.
|1971||"We Were Always Sweethearts"||61||—||—||Moments|
|1972||"Dinah Flo"||86||—||—||My Time|
|1976||"It's Over"||38||—||63||Silk Degrees|
|"What Can I Say"||42||10||2|
|"Hard Times"||58||—||40||Down Two Then Left|
|1980||"Breakdown Dead Ahead"||15||—||64||Middle Man|
|"Look What You've Done to Me"||14||—||—||Urban Cowboy (soundtrack)|
|1988||"Heart of Mine"||35||—||60||Other Roads|
- Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 847–848. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
- "Boz Scaggs Official Website | Home". Bozscaggs.com. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
- "Boz Scaggs Biography by Ben Fong-Torres". Bozscaggs.org. 1974-03-10. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 483. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Jay Barmann. "Boz Scaggs Loves Bar Tartine, and Eats Many a Loaf of Acme Bread". Grub Street. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
- "A Fool to Care - Boz Scaggs | Awards". AllMusic. 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
- "Boz Scaggs' Son Dies On New Year's Eve / Heroin overdose kills 21-year-old". SFGate. 1999-01-04. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
- "Welcome - Scaggs Vineyards - Organic farming and artisanal winemaking from Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley". Scaggsvineyard.com. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
- Baltin, Steve (2013-01-14). "Boz Scaggs to Release First New Album in Five Years in March | Music News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-03-09.