Mr.Classic’s Classic Rock Pick of the Day Steve Miller Band The Joker

Steve Miller Band – The Joker + Lyrics

“The Joker” by Steve Miller Band from their tittle track 1973 album. Hit #1 1973/1974 Certified gold January 11, 1974. More than 16 years later, in September 1990, after being used in “Great Deal”, a Hugh Johnson-directed television advertisement for Levi’s, broke new ground on the charts with top ten scores in:

Chart (1990/1991)            Peak Position

Austrian Singles Chart      5

Dutch Nationale Top 100               1

Dutch Top 40      1

Irish Singles Chart             1

New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart      1

Norwegian Singles Chart       2

Swedish Singles Chart      4

Swiss Singles Chart           5

UK Singles Chart        1

Now holding the record for the longest gap between transatlantic chart-toppers

It is one of two Steve Miller Band songs that feature the nonce word “pompatus”.

During the song, Steve Miller references The Clovers’ 1954 song “Lovey Dovey” when he sings “You’re the cutest thing that I ever did see/ Really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree / Lovey dovey, lovey dovey, lovey dovey all the time”.The song is noted for its wolf whistle played on a slide guitar after the “lovey dovey” parts and the “some people call me Maurice” part.

The line “some people call me Maurice / ‘Cause I speak of the pompatus of love” was written after Miller heard the song “The Letter” by The Medallions. In 1954, Vernon Green of the Medallions wrote a song called “The Letter” in which he used the words “puppetutes of love”, a combination of “puppets” and “prostitutes”. A puppetute was a woman of your fantasies who would do anything you wanted. Steve Miller, who sometimes imported words from other songs (including his own) into his lyrics, misheard the word as “pompitous” or “pompatus” and added “pompitous of love” and “pompatus of love” to his songs, “Enter Maurice” and “The Joker”, respectively. The words were later used as a title to a movie, “The Pompatus of Love”. “Enter Maurice” also uses the words “sweet words of epismetology” (close to an actual dictionary word, epistomology), which was probably a misheard version of another Green-invented word, “pizmotality”, words so secret they can only be revealed to a lover.

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