Boz Scaggs

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Boz Scaggs
Boz Scaggs in 2006.jpg
In concert in 2006
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Royce Scaggs
Born (1944-06-08) June 8, 1944 (age 76)
Canton, Ohio, United States
Origin Plano, Texas, United States
Genres Rock, blues rock, soft rock, jazz rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, guitarist
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1963–present
Labels Concord, Columbia, Atlantic, Virgin, 429 Records
Associated acts Steve Miller Band, Toto

William Royce "Boz" Scaggs (born June 8, 1944) is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. [1] He became prominent for his series of albums in the late 1970s, and songs "Lido Shuffle" and "Lowdown" from Silk Degrees (1976), which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Scaggs continues to write, record music, and tour. [2]


Early life and career

Scaggs was born in Canton, Ohio, [1] the eldest child of a traveling salesman. Their 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 schoolmate Mal Buckner gave him the nickname "Bosley", later shortened to "Boz". [3]

After learning guitar at the age of 12, Scaggs met Steve Miller at St. Mark's School. 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. [1]

Leaving school, Scaggs briefly joined the burgeoning R&B scene in London, then traveled on to Sweden as a solo performer, and in 1965 recorded his solo debut album, Boz , which failed commercially. [1] He also had a brief stint with the band the Other Side with Mac MacLeod and Jack Downing.

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 in 1968. [4] 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. [4] Despite good reviews, this release achieved only moderate sales. He then briefly hooked up with Bay Area band Mother Earth in a supporting role on their second album Make a Joyful Noise on guitar and backup vocals.

Scaggs next signed with Columbia Records releasing the albums Moments in 1971 and My Time in 1972. His first two Columbia albums were modest sellers and seeking a new more soulful direction his record company brought in former Motown producer Johnny Bristol for 1974's Slow Dancer album. [4] Although the album only made # 81 on the US Billboard Album Chart, it subsequently attained gold status no doubt getting a boost from the huge success of Scaggs's next album Silk Degrees . [1]

1976–1981: the hit years

In 1976, using session musicians who later formed Toto, he recorded Silk Degrees , [4] with Joe Wissert on producing duties. [1] The album, which received a Grammy nomination for album of the year and a further nomination for Wissert as Producer of The Year, reached #2 on the US Billboard 200, and #1 in a number of other countries, spawning four hit singles: "It's Over", "Lowdown", "What Can I Say", and "Lido Shuffle", [1] as well as the poignant ballad "We're All Alone", [4] later recorded by Rita Coolidge and Frankie Valli. "Lowdown" sold over one million copies in the US [5] and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song, which was shared by Scaggs and David Paich.

A sellout world tour followed, but his follow-up album in 1977 Down Two Then Left did not sell as well as Silk Degrees and neither of its singles reached the Top 40. [1] The 1980 album Middle Man spawned two top 20 hits, "Breakdown Dead Ahead" (No. 15, Hot 100) and "Jojo" (No. 17, Hot 100); and Scaggs also enjoyed two more top 20 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 reaching No. 14 on the Hot 100.

Later career

Scaggs took a long break from recording and his next album, Other Roads , did not appear until 1988. [4] "Heart of Mine", from Other Roads, is Scaggs' last top-40 hit as of 2018. [1] Also in 1988, he opened the San Francisco nightclub, Slim's , and remained an owner of the venue through the club's closure in 2020. [6]

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 rhythm and blues, [4] and My Time: A Boz Scaggs Anthology , an anthology, in 1997.

In the summer of 1998 Boz went on tour as the opening act for Stevie Nicks.

After another hiatus from recording, his next album, Dig, got good reviews, although the CD was released on an unfortunate date  September 11, 2001. [7] In May 2003, Scaggs released But Beautiful , a collection of jazz standards that debuted at number one 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." During 2004, he released a DVD and a live 16-track CD Greatest Hits Live that was recorded August 2003 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

After a break in recording, he undertook a series of shows across the US in 2008. Two years later he joined Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald for concerts entitled the Dukes of September Rhythm Revue. His next album Memphis was released in March 2013. It was recorded in that Southern American city at the Royal Studios. The album included some of his favorite compositions from other artists. A tour of the United States, Canada and Japan followed the release. Before the year ended, he added live dates across North America and Australia for 2014. In 2015, he released A Fool to Care, a compilation of mostly covers, including "Whispering Pines" with Lucinda Williams, and one original blues composition, "Hell to Pay," performed with Bonnie Raitt. The album rose to number one on the Billboard Blues Album chart and number 54 on the Billboard 200. [8]

Personal life

Scaggs's first marriage was to Donna Carmella Storniola. They had two sons: Austin, a music journalist for Rolling Stone , and Oscar, who died in 1998. [9] [10] Scaggs and Carmella divorced in 1980. [11] She died in February 2017. [12]

In 1992 he married Dominique Gioia. [13]


With the Steve Miller Band

YearAlbum US
1968 Children of the Future 134
1968 Sailor 24

Solo albums

YearAlbum US
AUS [15] RIAA certification
1965 Boz N/A
1969 Boz Scaggs *171N/A
1971 Moments 124
1971 Boz Scaggs & Band 198
1972 My Time 138-
1974 Slow Dancer 8162Gold [16]
1976 Silk Degrees 2615× Platinum [16]
1977 Down Two Then Left 114Platinum [16]
1980 Middle Man 83611Platinum [16]
1988 Other Roads 4735
1994 Some Change 91
1996 Fade into Light
1997 Come On Home 94
2003 But Beautiful 167
2008Speak Low128
2013 Memphis [17] 17
2015 A Fool to Care 54
2018 Out of the Blues [18] 82

Compilation albums

YearAlbum US
AUS [15] RIAA certification
1980 Hits! 249Platinum [16]
1984His Greatest Hits28
1997 My Time: A Boz Scaggs Anthology
2004 Greatest Hits Live
2013 The Essential Boz Scaggs


YearTitle US
1971"We Were Always Sweethearts"6140 Moments
"Near You"96
1972"Dinah Flo"86 My Time
1976"It's Over"387963 Silk Degrees
"What Can I Say"42355521102
1977"Lido Shuffle"11513218
"Hard Times"587940 Down Two Then Left
1980"Breakdown Dead Ahead"15864 Middle Man
"Look What You've Done to Me"143841 Urban Cowboy (soundtrack)
"Miss Sun"141333 Hits!
1988"Heart of Mine"3532560 Other Roads
"Cool Running"3943
1994"Some Change"38 Some Change
"I'll Be the One"68
Source: [1]

See also

Related Research Articles

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David Paich American musician

David Frank Paich is an American musician, songwriter, singer, and record producer, best known as the co-founder, principal songwriter, keyboardist, and occasional singer of the rock band Toto since 1976. Paich wrote or co-wrote much of Toto's original material, including the band's three most popular songs: "Hold the Line", "Rosanna" and "Africa". With Toto, Paich has contributed to 17 albums and sold over 40 million records. Additionally, Paich has worked as a songwriter, session musician, and producer with a host of artists including Boz Scaggs and Michael Jackson.

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Steve Miller Band American rock band

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<i>Silk Degrees</i> 1976 studio album by Boz Scaggs

Silk Degrees is the seventh album by Boz Scaggs, released on Columbia Records in 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 spawned four singles. "It's Over", "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" 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.

Les Dudek is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter.

<i>Down Two Then Left</i> 1977 studio album by Boz Scaggs

Down Two Then Left is the eighth album by singer Boz Scaggs, released in 1977. The album peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200.

<i>Middle Man</i> (album) 1980 studio album by Boz Scaggs

Middle Man is an album by Boz Scaggs that was released by Columbia Records in 1980. Scaggs hired members of the band Toto as session musicians and shared songwriting credits with them, returning to the commercial, soul-influenced rock of Silk Degrees (1976).

<i>Other Roads</i> 1988 studio album by Boz Scaggs

Other Roads is an album by Boz Scaggs, released in 1988. After an eight-year hiatus from recording, Boz Scaggs returned in 1988 with the album Other Roads, a record aimed primarily at the adult contemporary market. The album reached #47 on the Billboard pop album chart, while the lead single “Heart of Mine” was a big Adult Contemporary success, peaking at #3 on that chart. The single also reached #35 on the Billboard pop singles chart, making it his last hit on that chart to date. This single was produced by Stewart Levine. Another adult contemporary radio hit from the album, "Cool Running" was co-written by producer Patrick Leonard.

<i>Greatest Hits Live</i> (Boz Scaggs album) 2004 live album by Boz Scaggs

Greatest Hits Live is a live album by Boz Scaggs. It was released on August 17, 2004 by Mailboat Records.

<i>Boz Scaggs</i> (album) 1969 studio album by Boz Scaggs

Boz Scaggs is the second studio album by American musician Boz Scaggs, released in 1969 by Atlantic Records. A stylistically diverse album, Boz Scaggs incorporates several genres, including Americana, blue-eyed soul, country, and rhythm and blues. The lyrics are about typical themes found in blues songs, such as love, regret, guilt, and loss. Scaggs recorded the album at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio with producer Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine. The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section heavily contributed to the album, which included a young Duane Allman, before his rise to fame with the Allman Brothers Band.

<i>Fade into Light</i> 1996 studio album by Boz Scaggs

Fade into Light is an album by Boz Scaggs that was released in Japan in 1996 and the U.S. in 2005.

Were All Alone

"We're All Alone" is a song written by Boz Scaggs, which became a 1977 top-ten hit for Rita Coolidge in the US and the UK. Scaggs introduced it on his 1976 album Silk Degrees. Scaggs included it as the B-side of two of the four single releases from that LP, including "Lido Shuffle". The song was first a hit for Frankie Valli.

Joe Wissert is an American record producer. Wissert has worked with artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Boz Scaggs, Helen Reddy, The Lovin' Spoonful, Gordon Lightfoot and The Turtles.

<i>Moments</i> (Boz Scaggs album) 1971 studio album by Boz Scaggs

Moments is the third album by singer Boz Scaggs, released in 1971. It was his debut album on the Columbia label.

Lowdown (Boz Scaggs song) 1976 single by Boz Scaggs

"Lowdown" is a song originally recorded in 1976 by Boz Scaggs for his album Silk Degrees. The song was co-written by Scaggs and keyboardist David Paich. Paich, along with fellow "Lowdown" session musicians bassist David Hungate and drummer Jeff Porcaro, would later go on to help form the band Toto.

<i>Hits!</i> (Boz Scaggs album) 1980 greatest hits album by Boz Scaggs

Hits! is a compilation album by Boz Scaggs, first released in 1980. It focuses primarily on material released in 1976 and 1980. The album has been certified platinum by the RIAA.

The Dukes of September were an American supergroup, formed in 2010 featuring Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs. The project was a resurrection of the previous New York Rock and Soul Revue which featured the same three musicians and played a combination of hits from the members' respective careers as well as a wide variety of covers.

Drew Zingg is an American rock, blues, soul and jazz guitarist, best known for his performing with Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs.

<i>Out of the Blues</i> (album) 2018 studio album by Boz Scaggs

Out of the Blues is the nineteenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Boz Scaggs. The album, a mixture of vintage classics and four original compositions by close friend Jack "Applejack" Walroth, is the last in a trilogy that began with 2013's Memphis and continued with 2015's A Fool to Care. The album contains covers of songs by blues musicians including Bobby "Blue" Bland, Jimmy Reed, Magic Sam, and Neil Young. It was released on July 27, 2018, on Concord Records. It reached number one on the Billboard Top Blues Albums chart.


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