Miracles (Jefferson Starship song)
Cover of the Spanish single (FB-10367)
|Single by Jefferson Starship|
|from the album Red Octopus|
|Recorded||13 February 1975|
|Genre||Rock, soft rock|
|Length||6:52 (album version)
3:25 (single version)
|Producer(s)||Jefferson Starship and Larry Cox|
|Jefferson Starship singles chronology|
"Miracles" peaked at #3 for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the highest-charting single the band ever recorded under the name "Jefferson Starship," and also charting higher than any single the band had recorded in its previous incarnation as "Jefferson Airplane". (However, the band went on to have three #1 hits under its later incarnation as "Starship".)
Background and writing
The song was inspired in part by the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba, whose followers believe him to have been a miracle worker. It was also inspired in part by a woman Balin was in love with at the time. According to Jeff Tamarkin's book Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane, Balin labored over the song "for some time" and "slowly but deliberately crafted" it. However, author Robert Yehling has written that Balin wrote the song in 30 minutes or wrote the lyrics in 45 minutes. According to Balin, when he presented the song to the rest of the band members, "Everybody went, 'I don't know about that, that's pretty weird, man.' I was really worried; nobody liked it. But I told myself, after about five days, Maybe they're wrong."
In order to secure more radio airplay for the song, the full-length album version of "Miracles" (6 minutes, 52 seconds long) was cut by more than half its length for the single, which was released at a length of 3 minutes, 25 seconds. This edit was done not only for length, but to remove the sexual reference in the line "I had a taste of the real world when I went down on you, girl."
Commenting on the band's recording of "Miracles", Jeff Tamarkin wrote: "[Larry] Cox nailed the production -- there isn't a wasted, out of place note. Strings glisten, the keyboard sound is contemporary and Grace [Slick] and Paul [Kantner]'s harmonies are relatively traditional. [David] Freiberg came up with the memorable signature organ riff that opens the song and Craig [Chaquico] with a fresh supply of delicious guitar sounds. Marty is at his most open, crooning his words of love like he hasn't in years -- without a hint of irony or awkwardness he uses the word 'baby' at least 25 times ...."
Upon the single's release, Billboard magazine listed "Miracles" among its Top Single Picks, indicating that the review panel predicted it to reach the top 30 of the Hot 100. The magazine commented, "With a top 10 LP under their belts, the rejuvenated Starship (with Marty Balin back as a full fledged member) come up with the kind of easy rocker that highlighted the early Airplane days. Vocal interchanges between Balin and Grace Slick the high point of the record."
Dave Marsh and James Bernard listed "Miracles" among the "Best Songs to Pass the Censor" in The New Book of Rock Lists. In the same book, they also described "I got a taste of the real world when I went down on you girl" as the "Most Off-Color Line in the LP Version of a Number One Hit" (although "Miracles" did not, in fact, hit #1).
In 1998, Balin received a plaque from Broadcast Music Incorporated, a performing rights organization which monitors music performances on radio and elsewhere, recognizing that "Miracles" had achieved 2 million performances.
William Ruhlmann, writing in All Music Guide Required Listening: Classic Rock, commented, "[T]here can be little doubt that it was Balin's irresistible ballad 'Miracles,' the biggest hit single in the Jefferson Whatever catalog, that propelled Red Octopus to the top of the charts .... This must have been sweet vindication for Balin, who founded Jefferson Airplane but then drifted away from the group as it veered away from his musical vision. Now, the collective was incorporating his taste without quite integrating it -- 'Miracles,' with its strings and sax solo by nonband member Irv Cox, was hardly a characteristic Airplane/Starship track."
The New Rolling Stone Album Guide, published in 2004, stated that "with Marty Balin's 'Miracles,' Octopus′s massive hit, the band began shifting toward schmaltz. Balin now sounded like a lounge singer ...."
Philip Dodd, in The Book of Rock: From the 1950s to Today, described "Miracles" as "magnificent".
2005 movie: "The Family Stone" (along with "Count on Me").
2006 movie: "Crank." It was used in the last 45 seconds, in the scene where main character Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) is falling to his apparent death.
2011 TV series Supernatural (S06E19: "Mommy Dearest")
Weekly singles charts
- "Miracles" 45-RPM single label
- Brackett, ed. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York: Fireside. p. 427. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Whitburn, Joel (2010). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (9th ed.). New York: Billboard Books. pp. 332–33. ISBN 978-0-8230-8554-5. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Tamarkin, Jeff (2003). Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane. New York: Atria. p. 279. ISBN 0-671-03403-0. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Yehling, Robert (2006). Shades of Green: New & Selected Poems and Essays. Tampa: Koboca. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-9744997-6-5. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Yehling, Robert (2006). Writes of Life: Using Your Personal Experiences in Everything You Write. Tampa: Koboca. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-9744997-7-2. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Tamarkin, Jeff (2003). Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane. New York: Atria. p. 280. ISBN 0-671-03403-0. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- "Top Single Picks". Billboard. 1975-08-16. p. 78. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
- Holden, Stephen (1981-10-11). "Rock: Marty Balin Sings". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
- Marsh, Dave; Bernard, James (1994). The New Book of Rock Lists. New York: Fireside. p. 507. ISBN 0-671-78700-4. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Marsh, Dave; Bernard, James (1994). The New Book of Rock Lists. New York: Fireside. p. 104. ISBN 0-671-78700-4. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- "Playing for 'Miracles'". Billboard. 1998-03-28. p. 32. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
- Woodstra, Chris; Bush, John; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas, eds. (2007). All Music Guide Required Listening: Classic Rock. New York: Backbeat Books. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-87930-917-6. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Dodd, Philip (2005). The Book of Rock: From the 1950s to Today. Da Capo Press. p. 2136. ISBN 1-56025-729-6. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- "Charts.org.nz – Starship – Miracles". Top 40 Singles.
- "Miracles - Starship". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 24, 2011.