Steamroller

Album: Sweet Baby James (1970)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This song is a parody of sorts, taking aim at overtly sexual blues metaphors. Taylor has "the steamroller blues" and compares his love machine to a cement mixer, a demolition derby, and even a napalm bomb.

    Taylor came up with the song after seeing lots of white college kids playing blues songs by the likes of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf - he noticed a disconnect there.
  • Taylor wrote this song when he was in a band called The Flying Machine, which issued one single in 1966 before disbanding. One of his Flying Machine bandmates was Danny Kortchmar, who played guitar on the Sweet Baby James album and toured with Taylor.
  • Taylor had a cold when he recorded this song, resulting in a more congested vocal than usual. Recording his track at a later date was not an option, as they were on a tight recording budget and schedule.
  • Sweet Baby James was Taylor's second album, and his first on the Warner Bros. label. His 1968 debut album was issued on Apple Records, which was owned by The Beatles. That album also contains a blues takeoff: "Blues Is Just a Bad Dream."
  • "Steamroller" was never released as a single, but is one of Taylor's most popular live songs, making its way into most of his setlists. He has done different versions over the years, often having some fun with the last verse.
  • Elvis Presley added this song to his live set, and performed it on his 1973 Aloha from Hawaii special. This live version was released as a single (as "Steamroller Blues") and made #17 US.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Todd Rundgren

Todd RundgrenSongwriter Interviews

Todd Rundgren explains why he avoids "Hello It's Me," and what it was like producing Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell album.

Maxi Priest

Maxi PriestSongwriter Interviews

The British reggae legend tells the story of his #1 hit "Close To You," talks about his groundbreaking Shabba Ranks collaboration "Housecall," and discusses his latest project with Robin Trower.

Kim Thayil of Soundgarden

Kim Thayil of SoundgardenSongwriter Interviews

Their frontman (Chris Cornell) started out as their drummer, so Soundgarden takes a linear approach when it comes to songwriting. Kim explains how they do it.

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In Songs

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In SongsSong Writing

Songs where something goes horribly wrong (literally or metaphorically), and help is needed right away.

Little Big Town

Little Big TownSongwriter Interviews

"When seeds that you sow grow by the wicked moon/Be sure your sins will find you out/Your past will hunt you down and turn to tell on you."

Lecrae

LecraeSongwriter Interviews

The Christian rapper talks about where his trip to Haiti and his history of addiction fit into his songs.