“Some people call me the space cowboy / Some call me the gangster of love.” As introductions go, Steve Miller's boasting at the beginning of his 1973 smash The Joker tales some beating.
Of course, there's more to Miller's hit than just bragging. First, there's a rare example of a word being used for the first time, as the Milwaukie man bravely introduces 'pompatus' into the English language. It may not have passed into common usage, but hey, you can't blame Miller for trying.
Then there's that wolf whistle, that waa-waaaaah sound played on the slide guitar after the line "some people call me Maurice." It's an iconic moment in rock history.
And now it's even more so, as YouTuber Matthew McVickar has 'remixed' The Joker so that the wolf whistle appears at the end of every line. It shouldn't work, but somehow it does, and somehow the results are much funnier than Miller ever intended. "The wolf whistle happens 49 times in this version," says McVickar.
"I got this funny, lazy, sexy little tune," Miller told Mojo in 2012, "but it didn't come together until a party in Novato, north of San Francisco. I sat on the hood of a car under the stars with an acoustic guitar making up lyrics and 'I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, 'I'm a midnight toker' came out. My chorus!"
In 2016, Miller's use of the wah-wah pedal earned him the #16 spot on Guitar World's list of greatest wah solos of all time (opens in new tab). "The Joker doesn't go overboard on the wah," they said, "opting instead for the tasteful, restrained approach."
And now it's 49 times better.