David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 121: Steve Miller Band (Take The Money And Run)

August 25, 2020

It was one of the most ubiquitous albums of the mid-70's: Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits: 1974-1978. You couldn't walk down the hallways of your high schools and not hear either it or Eagles' Their Greatest Hits (no one knew how imminent a Vol. II would occur for them). However, it usually wasn't the students listening to these. It was the faculty.

At least that's how it was at Morgantown High School in 1978-1980. Both my German class and my extracurricular work with the German Club gave us plenty of opportunity to hear Steve Miller.  Frau must have loved the Steve Miller Band, as I have no memories of other songs or albums. They were catchy pop songs, but how appropriate were they for 16- and 17-year olds?  Certainly nothing stood out more, for the wrong reasons, than "Take The Money And Run," a song about a couple of ne'er-do-wells.

Just imagine the way it plays out.

Teacher: O.k., junge and madchen, get into groups. I want you to write a dialogue about American exchange students lost in Munich.  I'll put on some music.

Student 1 to Student 2: Did you hear what that singer just said?  "Two young lovers with nothing better to do than sit around the house, get high, and watch the tube." Awesome!

Student 2: Wait. My older brother has this album, it gets better. They decide to rob a man in El Paso, and it ends up a big hassle. As my brother, John, says, it's so hard to be a hard-working thief. And he should know, he just got out of jail.

Student 3 (the one with the brown nose): Frau, aren't you worried about these role models?

Frau: But they are only part of the story, Mein Liebchen.  Wait for the die Polizei in the second verse.

Student 1: Maybe it will end up in a shoot out? Wouldn't that be cool?

Student 2: No wait, listen. This Billy Mack character is a pretty useless "detective down in Texas, you know he knows exactly what the facts is." {Snicker}

Student 3: Uh, Frau, isn't that incorrect verb usage?

Student 2: Yeah, Frau, remind me us how we should conjugate. {Snickers heard from all over the room.}

Frau: Hush, das Gör, listen to what Herr Miller says, "he ain't gonna let them escape justice/he makes his living off of the people's taxes."

Student 1: Really? Did he really just rhyme Texas, facts is, justice, and taxes?

Student 2: Nah, that ain't nothin' dude, wait 'til you hear what he does with this song "The Joker." It's a hoot!

Student 1: Wait a minute, Frau!  "They got the money, hey, you know they got away." Why the hell are we staying in school?

Frau: Watch your mouth, young man.

O.k. maybe this isn't how it played out in my German class. Maybe we weren't paying that much attention, too busy getting caught up in the "oooo hooo," the hand claps, and the drumming. We were already a bit pampered, between regular trips to Fred Warner's authentic German restaurant near Cumberland, Maryland, and building a keg for the German Club Homecoming Float. "Bier macht spass," we yelled over a microphone as we headed down High Street. Steve Miller was pretty tame compared to us.

The sad thing is that it seemed that not long after we graduated, Frau left MHS. Rumors had it that she was asked to leave. Maybe her liberal approach to the kids in her classes caught up to her. Maybe the administration got sick of "Fly Like An Eagle." Maybe Frau abandoned Herr Miller for Kraftwerk, providing authentic German music instead of light-hearted American blues.

If she did have to leave, I hope she left on her own terms. Yes, I hope she took the money and ran.

"Take The Money And Run." Steve Miller Band. Greatest Hits: 1974-1978. Capitol. 1978. Link here.

Day 120: The Call "I Still Believe."

Day 122: Pulp "This Is Hardcore."->

See full unfinished list here.