Born in 1944, Boz Scaggs is an American songwriter, guitarist and singer who is perhaps best known for his work with the Steve Miller Band, as well as his solo efforts. He has scored several top 20 hits in North America, as well as achieving a top 10 hit in the UK. He has a soulful voice, which he puts to use in a wide range of musical genres, including rock, blues and jazz-rock. Over the years, the performer has been variously signed to Columbia, Atlantic, Virgin and 429 Records.
Nicknamed Bosley at school, which later became Boz, Scaggs' real first name is William. He began playing guitar at the age of 12, about the time he first met Steve Miller. They formed a band together and would later serve as musicians in various outfits, such as the Fabulous Knight Trains and the Marksmen. In the mid-1960s, Scaggs spent some time performing as a solo artist in Europe before returning to his home country. In 1965, Scaggs released his debut solo work, an album that showed promise but which failed to chart. He recorded two albums with the Steve Miller Band around this time.
Boz Scaggs' solo breakthrough
Although the first album was remixed and reissued, and three further studio albums followed, it was not until 1974 that Scaggs had a taste of real success. Following the release of Slow Dancer in that year, the performer achieved his first gold-selling LP. It included a cover version of Allen Toussaint's “Hercules”. The follow-up album Silk Degrees in 1976 was critically acclaimed and ended up being a huge hit. Scaggs used session musicians for the recordings – these musicians would later go on to form the popular band, Toto. Silk Degrees got to number two in the US album charts and broke into the top 20 in the UK. Several singles were taken from the LP, including the incredibly popular “Lowdown”, which sold over a million copies in North America alone.
Boz Scaggs' later career
Scaggs has produced several albums since the height of Silk Degrees, none of them quite matching it in commercial terms. Middle Man of 1980 came the closest and was a big hit. A more recent hit album, Memphis, was released in 2013. However, Scaggs has not had a hit single since 1988.
In the late 1980s, Scaggs opened his own nightclub and music venue in San Francisco. He has recorded a jazz LP, which reached number one in the jazz charts. In recent years, the singer has teamed up with the likes of Michael McDonald for a string of performances.