William Royce "Boz" Scaggs (born June 8, 1944) is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. He gained fame in the 1960s as a guitarist and sometimes lead singer with the Steve Miller Band and in the 1970s with several solo Top 20 hit singles in the United States, along with the #2 album, Silk Degrees. Scaggs continues to write, record music and tour.
Early life and career[edit source | edit]Edit
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 a schoolmate gave him the nickname "Bosley"; this was later shortened to "Boz".
After learning guitar at the age of 12, he met Steve Miller at St. Mark's School (Texas). 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. After singing in bands such as the Wigs and Mother Earth, he traveled to Sweden as a solo performer, and in 1965 recorded his solo debut album, Boz, which was not a commercial success. Scaggs also had a brief stint with the band the Other Side with Mac MacLeod and fellow American Jack Downing. How he was able to afford this time in Europe is not known.
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. 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. Scaggs moved to Columbia Records; his first five albums for Columbia all charted, but none peaked higher than #81.
1976-81: the hit years[edit source | edit]Edit
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 countries across the world, spawning four hit singles: "It's Over", "Lowdown", "What Can I Say", and "Lido Shuffle", as well as the MOR standard "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 had, and neither of the singles taken from it 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 US #14 hits.
Later career[edit source | edit]Edit
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 to date. Also in 1988, he opened the San Francisco nightclub, Slim's, and remained a co-owner of the venue as of 2008.
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, an anthology, in the late 1990s. 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 #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."
Scaggs tours each summer, and released a DVD and a live CD in 2004. In 2008, Scaggs undertook an expanded tour across the US. In the summer of 2010, Scaggs began a tour with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald, performing together as the Dukes of September Rhythm Revue. His album Memphis was released in March 2013. It was recorded in that city at the Royal Studios. A major tour of the United States, Canada and Japan followed.
Family[edit source | edit]Edit
Scaggs and his wife Dominique grow grapes in Napa County, California, and have produced their own wine. Scaggs's son, Austin Scaggs, is a music journalist with a column called "The Smoking Section" in Rolling Stone. Another son, Oscar, died of a heroin overdose in 1998 at the age of 21.
Discography[edit source | edit]Edit
With the Steve Miller Band[edit source | edit]Edit
|1968||Children of the Future||#134|
Solo[edit source | edit]Edit
|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||-||-||-|
|2001||The Lost Concert||-||-||-|
|2004||Greatest Hits Live||-||-||-|
- 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, did not chart.
Singles[edit source | edit]Edit
|1971||"We Were Always Sweethearts"||61||Moments|
|1972||"Dinah Flo"||86||My Time|
|1976||"It's Over"||38||Silk Degrees|
|"What Can I Say"||42||10|
|"Hard Times"||58||Down Two Then Left|
|1980||"Breakdown Dead Ahead"||15||Middle Man|
|"Look What You've Done to Me"||14||Urban Cowboy (soundtrack)|
|1988||"Heart Of Mine"||35||Other Roads|