Sunday, May 19, 2024

Rock History: Paul McCartney’s Secret 1969 Track for Steve Miller Band Exposed


Here’s a little bit of rock trivia on the eve of Steve Miller being inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Whatever.

Paul McCartney co-wrote and played on a 1969 Miller track called “My Dark Hour.”

Paul was listed as “Paul Ramon,” and the track has remained a deep secret in rock history except to very knowledgeable McCartney fanatics.

Produced by Glyn Johns, “My Dark Hour” came about when Johns happened into the studio right after a big fight among the Beatles. The subject was Allen Klein, who McCartney didn’t want mixed up in their business. But John Lennon did, and had convinced George Harrison and Ringo Starr to let Klein be their manager.

When Johns arrived, the others (including Klein) had left. McCartney was fuming. He told bis friend and biographer Barry Miles:

Steve Miller happened to be there recording, late at night, and he just breezed in. ‘Hey, what’s happening, man? Can I use the studio?’ ‘Yeah!’ I said. ‘Can I drum for you? I just had a fucking unholy argument with the guys there.’ I explained it to him, took ten minutes to get it off my chest. So I did a track, he and I stayed that night and did a track of his called My Dark Hour. I thrashed everything out on the drums. There’s a surfeit of aggressive drum fills, that’s all I can say about that. We stayed up until late. I played bass, guitar and drums and sang backing vocals. It’s actually a pretty good track.

It was a very strange time in my life and I swear I got my first grey hairs that month. I saw them appearing. I looked in the mirror, I thought, I can see you. You’re all coming now. Welcome.

The song sounds a lot like would become “Fly Like An Eagle” about six years later. It also sounds a lot like would become Wings type music in the interim. This is the kind of thing that should be on a McCartney historical box set. Alas, the set we’re getting soon from McCartney is just a rehash of prior greatest hits. Macca really needs a curator!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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