Jet Airliner (Steve Miller Band song)

"Jet Airliner" is a song composed by Paul Pena in 1973 and popularized by the Steve Miller Band in 1977.

"Jet Airliner"
Jet Airliner single.jpg
Single by Steve Miller Band
from the album Book of Dreams
B-side"Babes in the Wood"
ReleasedApril 1977
RecordedMay 1975 at CBS Studios in San Francisco, California
Length4:25 (album version)
3:33 (single version)
LabelCapitol Records
Songwriter(s)Paul Pena
Producer(s)Steve Miller
Steve Miller Band singles chronology
"Fly Like an Eagle"
"Jet Airliner"
"Jungle Love"

Pena wrote and recorded "Jet Airliner" in 1973 for his New Train album.[1] However, New Train was not released until 2000,[2] due to conflicts between him and his label.

Steve Miller decided to record the song 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 lyrics of the Steve Miller Band version are slightly different from the Pena original.[4][5] Miller's performance of the main riff also is 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] It was concurrently released as a single, and reached No. 8 on the Billboard chart.[6] In Canada, the song spent two weeks at No. 3.[7]

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

Single editEdit

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 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 performanceEdit


  1. ^ Webster, Spidra. "Paul "Earthquake" Pena - Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
  2. ^ "27 Year Old Album Finally Sees Light of Day" (Press release). Kathryn Schenker Associates. June 8, 2000. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  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. ^ Pena, Paul. "Paul Pena: Jet Airliner". Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  6. ^ a b 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. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-28. Retrieved 2014-12-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  10. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1977/Top 100 Songs of 1977". Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-05-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)