Jet Airliner (Steve Miller Band song)

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"Jet Airliner"
Jet Airliner single.jpg
Single by Steve Miller Band
from the album Book of Dreams
B-side "Babes in the Wood"
Released April 1977
Recorded May 1975 at CBS Studios in San Francisco, California
Genre Blues rock, rock and roll
Length 4:25 (album version)
3:33 (single version)
Label Capitol Records
Songwriter(s) Paul Pena
Producer(s) Steve Miller
Steve Miller Band singles chronology
"Fly Like an Eagle"
"Jet Airliner"
"Jungle Love"
"Fly Like an Eagle"
"Jet Airliner"
"Jungle Love"

"Jet Airliner" is a song composed by Paul Pena and popularized by the Steve Miller Band.

Pena wrote and recorded the song in 1973 for his New Train album.[1] However, due to conflicts between him and his label, New Train was not released until 2000.[2] Miller decided to record "Jet Airliner" for his band's Book of Dreams album in 1977 after hearing the unreleased album via Ben Sidran, who produced it,[3] and who was formerly in Miller's band. The Steve Miller band version has lyrics that are slightly different from the Pena original.[4][5] It was concurrently released as a single, and reached #8 on the Billboard chart.[6] In Canada, the song spent two weeks at #3.[7]

On classic rock radio, "Jet Airliner" is generally played in tandem with "Threshold", the all-synthesizer instrumental that precedes it on Book of Dreams and Miller's Greatest Hits 1974–78 compilation.

Miller's performance of the main riff is in turn slightly different from Pena's original, which has a more funky edge to it. The song is also notable for an early reference to the catchphrase "keep on keepin' on," also found in John Lennon's 1974 song "Old Dirt Road" and in the Bob Dylan songs "Tangled Up in Blue" and "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere."[4]

Single edit[edit]

The single edit of Miller's recording features a truncated version of the guitar intro. In addition, one line of the song's lyrics was altered for radio play; instead of "that I don't want to get caught up in any of that funky shit goin' down in the city", it was changed to "funky kicks." The single edit was included on the original release of Greatest Hits 1974–78, although the full album version has been used for later reissues of the compilation.

The single edit also had a slightly different mix of Miller's lead vocal on the song. On the album version, one can often hear Miller breathing into the microphone as he begins singing a line. His breathing was mixed out of the single release.[citation needed]

Chart performance[edit]


  1. ^ Webster, Spidra. "Paul "Earthquake" Pena - Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Press Release". Paul Pena. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  3. ^ Pena, Paul. New Train (CD). New York: Hybrid Recordings, 2000.
  4. ^ a b "Steve Miller Band - Jet Airliner Lyrics". MetroLyrics. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  5. ^ PAUL PENA "Jet Airliner". "PAUL PENA lyrics - Jet Airliner". Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  6. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  7. ^ a b "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  8. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-28. Retrieved 2014-12-28. 
  10. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  11. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1977/Top 100 Songs of 1977". Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-05-04.