Threshold / Jet Airliner - Steve Miller Band from the album Book of Dreams (1977)

Threshold / Jet Airliner - Steve Miller Band from the album Book of Dreams (1977)

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"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. However, due to conflicts between him and his label, New Train was not released until 2000. 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, and who was formerly in Miller's band. The Steve Miller band version has lyrics that are slightly different from the Pena original. It was concurrently released as a single, and reached #8 on the Billboard chart. In Canada, the song spent two weeks at #3.

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.

The song's main guitar riff as played by Miller is reminiscent of (but not identical to) one used by Eric Clapton in Cream's version of Robert Johnson's song "Cross Road Blues" (from Cream's 1968 album Wheels of Fire). 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 the Bob Dylan songs "Tangled Up in Blue" and "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere."

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  1. Features of This Track

    electric rock instrumentation
    a subtle use of vocal harmony
    major key tonality
    electric guitar riffs
    a dynamic male vocalist