An earlier 1973 version of the song features a more bluesy and less funk-inspired rhythm, and guitar taking the synthesizer parts (albeit with similar delay effects). The lyrics are slightly different, indicating that the place the eagle wants to fly away from is a Native American reservation. The song's final, funk-inspired album version pays homage to "Slippin' Into Darkness" by War (1971).
The main guitar hook in the song was first used in a slightly different form on Miller's 1969 track "My Dark Hour" (which featured Paul McCartney).
According to Seal, the executive producer of the Space Jam soundtrack, Dominique Trenier asked him to record it. D'Angelo, who was managed by Trenier, played keyboards on the song. Seal has said that Steve Miller approved of the cover version and at one point called him "thanking me and saying that was the best cover of the song that he had heard."