Silk Degrees

Silk Degrees is the seventh solo album by Boz Scaggs, released on Columbia Records in February 1976. The album peaked at No. 2 and spent 115 weeks on the Billboard 200. It has been certified five times platinum by the RIAA and remains Scaggs's best selling album.

Silk Degrees
Album Silk Degrees.jpg
Studio album by
Released18 February 1976
RecordedSeptember–October 1975[1]
StudioDavlen Sound Studios, North Hollywood, California; Hollywood Sound Recorders, Los Angeles, California
GenreBlue-eyed soul, soft rock, blues
LabelColumbia 33920
ProducerJoe Wissert
Boz Scaggs chronology
Slow Dancer
Silk Degrees
Down Two Then Left

Silk Degrees spawned four singles. "It's Over" (No. 38), "Lowdown" (No. 3) and "Lido Shuffle" (No. 11) made the Top 40, while "What Can I Say" peaked at No. 42.

The front cover photograph was by Moshe Brakha of Scaggs at Casino Point, Avalon, California.[2]


Boz Scaggs on the meaning
of the album's title
"It was just something I had scribbled on the side of a page. The last thing I do after I record an album is name it. [Silk Degrees] doesn't mean anything specifically. It's just an image I couldn't get out of my head."[3]

The album was recorded at Davlen Sound Studios and Hollywood Sound Recorders in Los Angeles. Among the accompanying musicians, David Paich, Jeff Porcaro, and David Hungate became members of Toto, while Fred Tackett became a member of Little Feat. The album marked Scaggs's commercial zenith, a mix of pop rock ("Jump Street" and "Lido Shuffle"), soul ("What Can I Say" and "Lowdown"), and ballads ("Harbor Lights" and "We're All Alone", which became a hit for Rita Coolidge). Scaggs wrote "Jump Street" 10 minutes before recording it, only having a rough idea of the lyrics. He stated he'd scream out words that "worked phonetically".

Release and receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [4]
Christgau's Record GuideA−[5]
Rolling Stone     [7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [8]
The Village VoiceB+[9]

"Lowdown" reached the top 5 on the club play, black, disco, and pop charts and also did respectably on the AC chart, with its peak at number 3 on the pop chart. The song is an airplay staple to this day, particularly on AC, oldies, and smooth jazz radio stations. "It's Over", "What Can I Say", and "Lido Shuffle" reached numbers 38, 42 and 11, respectively, on the pop chart. At the Grammy Awards of 1977, "Lowdown" won the Grammy for Best R&B Song. Scaggs also received nominations for Album of the Year, Best LP Package, Best Pop Vocal by a Male, and Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Male for "Lowdown" and Joe Wissert received a nomination for Producer of the Year.

Reviewing for The Village Voice in 1976, Robert Christgau praised the album as "white soul with a sense of humor that isn't consumed in self-parody."[9] Alex Henderson of music database website AllMusic wrote that Scaggs "hit the R&B charts in a big way with the addictive, sly 'Lowdown' [...] and expressed his love of smooth soul music almost as well on the appealing 'What Can I Say'", nonetheless noting that "Scaggs was essentially a pop/rocker, and in that area he has a considerable amount of fun". Henderson found that while the more adult contemporary-leaning ballads are less remarkable, they "have more heart than most of the bland material dominating that format."[4]

On February 27, 2007, Silk Degrees was reissued by Legacy Records with three bonus tracks recorded live at the Greek Theatre on August 15, 1976.

Track listingEdit

Side one

1."What Can I Say"Boz Scaggs, David Paich3:01
3."Jump Street"Scaggs, Paich5:14
4."What Do You Want the Girl to Do"Allen Toussaint3:53
5."Harbor Lights"Scaggs5:58

Side two

6."Lowdown"Scaggs, Paich5:18
7."It's Over"Scaggs, Paich2:52
8."Love Me Tomorrow"Paich3:17
9."Lido Shuffle"Scaggs, Paich3:44
10."We're All Alone"Scaggs4:14

2007 bonus tracksEdit

11."What Can I Say" (live)Scaggs, Paich3:24
12."Jump Street" (live)Scaggs, Paich5:06
13."It's Over" (live)Scaggs, Paich3:37




Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[26] 7× Platinum 350,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[27] 3× Platinum 300,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[28] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[29] 5× Platinum 5,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Images for Boz Scaggs - Silk Degrees". Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Musical Maps".
  3. ^ "Boz Scaggs talks about his lost album".
  4. ^ a b Henderson, Alex. "Silk Degrees – Boz Scaggs". AllMusic. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Boz Scaggs: Silk Degrees". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor and Fields. p. 345. ISBN 0-89919-026-X. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  6. ^ Sodomsky, Sam (November 14, 2021). "Boz Scaggs: Silk Degrees". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  7. ^ Leishman, David (January 21, 1997) [April 22, 1976]. "Boz Scaggs: Silk Degrees". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 6, 2007. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  8. ^ Puterbaugh, Parke (2004). "Boz Scaggs". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 719–20. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  9. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (July 12, 1976). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
  10. ^ Cashmere, Paul (April 14, 2014). "Boz Scaggs Explains How He Became The Father Of Toto". Noise11 Music Newsletter.
  11. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, New South Wales, Australia: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  12. ^ "RPM Top Albums". RPM. Vol. 26, no. 2. October 9, 1976. p. 29. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  13. ^ " – Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  14. ^ " – Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees". Hung Medien.
  15. ^ "Boz Scaggs | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart.
  16. ^ "Boz Scaggs Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Boz Scaggs Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard.
  18. ^ Lyttle, Brendan (January 8, 1977). "Top 100 Albums of '76". RPM. Vol. 26, no. 14 & 15. p. 11. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  19. ^ "Top Pop Albums". Billboard. December 25, 1976. p. TA-12. ("Talent in Action" supplement)
  20. ^ Kent (1993). p. 429.
  21. ^ "Top 100 Albums of '77". RPM. Vol. 28, no. 14. December 31, 1977. p. 15. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  22. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1977". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  23. ^ "Top Pop Albums". Billboard. December 24, 1977. p. 66.
  24. ^ Kent (1993). p. 430.
  25. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1978". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  26. ^ Baker, Glen A. (28 May 1983). "Australia - Explosive Talent Gains Temper Year of playing Dangerously" (PDF). Billboard. p. 12. Retrieved 31 October 2020 – via World Radio History.
  27. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees". Music Canada.
  28. ^ "British album certifications – Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Silk Degrees in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  29. ^ "American album certifications – Boz Scaggs – Silk Degrees". Recording Industry Association of America.

External linksEdit