The song Steve Miller wrote to "kick Pink Floyd's butt"

News 06/03/2019

Remember the Steve Miller track, 'Rock'n Me"?

Steve Miller recalled how he had written that classic track at the Knebworth festival near London in 1975 with motivations to wipe Pink Floyd off the wall.

At the time, Miller was not willing to accept that his band was booked as an opening act before headliners, Pink Floyd but eventually agreed when offered a price he couldn't refuse and started to plan for the day of the gig.

As he tells Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights show, Miller remembered that he kept giving excuses to turn down the gig. “I said, ‘I don’t have a band, I don’t wanna do this, this is a bad time for me, I’m in the midst of recording…’ They just kept saying, ‘Well, how about some more? How about if we paid you this much? If that wouldn’t be enough would this be enough?’ Finally, I decided, ‘Well, this would be enough! Yeah, I can take a little break to do this!’”

Miller then rounded up musicians he had been working with most recently and asked, "How would you guys like to have an all-expenses-paid vacation to London to go do a Knebworth festival with Pink Floyd?” Miller says. “They came over to the house, where we rehearsed for one afternoon, we got on a plane, flew to London and played to 120,000 people."

“I had thought about the gig and I knew they way it was going to work was, I was going to play just before Pink Floyd… the sun would be going down, it would be really cold, there wouldn’t be any lights on the stage, it would be a lousy time … I went, ‘You know, I’m gonna kick those guys in the butt.’ So what I did was, I wrote ‘Rock’n Me’ as a song to play at a festival, to just get it going.”

Just as expected, the gig happened, complete with the sunset and sudden drop in temperature. Miller claims that “Rock’n Me” successfully “ripped the joint up” at the perfect timing. He added: “They just loved us… [I thought,] ‘Maybe we oughtta record this one? This might be a good one to put on the record.’”