5 Classic Tunes by Boz Scaggs in Honor of the Soulful Singer/Songwriter’s 80th Birthday

Have you heard the lowdown on Boz Scaggs? The soulful singer, songwriter and guitarist celebrated 80th birthday on June 8, 2024.

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Scaggs enjoyed a run of successful hits during the mid-to-late 1970s and into the early ’80s, reaching the peak of his popularity with his 1976 breakthrough album Silk Degrees.

[RELATED: Meaning Behind the Fats Domino-Inspired “Lido Shuffle” by Boz Scaggs]

Born William Royce Scaggs, the musician was given the nickname Bosley, which was eventually shortened to Boz, while attending a private school in Dallas during the 1950s. At the same school, Scaggs met and befriended Steve Miller, with whom he began playing music.

Scaggs played in a number of groups with Miller between the late 1950s and the late 1960s. He also released a debut solo album in 1965 called Boz. He joined the Steve Miller Band in 1967, but left the group in ’68 over conflicts with Miller.

He launched his full-fledged solo career in 1969 with his self-titled album. Scaggs didn’t find commercial success until his seventh studio album, the aforementioned Silk Degrees.

The album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, and featured several hit singles. In the next few years, Scaggs released a couple more hit albums and scored a series of additional charting singles.

While his chart success waned after the 1980s, Scaggs has continued to release new albums every few years. His most recent album, Out of the Blues, came out in 2018.

In honor of the veteran musician’s milestone birthday, here are five memorable songs by Scaggs:

“Lowdown” (1976)

“Lowdown” was the second single released from Silk Degrees, and one of five songs on the album Scaggs co-wrote with future Toto keyboardist David Paich.

Paich is featured all of Silk Degrees’ 10 tracks, as are two other future Toto members—drummer Jeff Porcaro and bassist David Hungate.

“Lowdown” was a grooving, funky R&B tune that became Scaggs’ biggest hit, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song earned Scaggs a Grammy in the Best Rhythm & Blues Song category, and also was nominated for the Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male honor.

“Lido Shuffle” (1976)

“Lido Shuffle” was another song Scaggs co-wrote with Paich from Silk Degrees. The upbeat, horn-driven R&B track was the last single released from the album. It was another chart hit for Boz, peaking at No. 11 on the Hot 100 in 1977.

Scaggs said in a 2013 interview with Songfacts that the song’s music was inspired by a Fats Domino tune called “The Fat Man” that featured “a kind of driving shuffle beat.”

“We’re All Alone” (1976)

“We’re All Alone” was a emotional love ballad written solely by Scaggs that closed Silk Degrees. The song featuring soaring strings and showcased Boz’s vocal range.

Although Scaggs didn’t release “We’re All Alone” as a single, the song was covered in 1977 by Rita Coolidge, and it became one of her biggest hits. Her version reached No. 7 on the Hot 100.

“Breakdown Dead Ahead” (1980)

“Breakdown Dead Ahead” was the lead single released from Scaggs’ ninth studio album, Middle Man (1980). It was on of five songs on the album Boz co-wrote with acclaimed Canadian composer and producer David Foster.

Another grooving, soulful tune, the track also featured a rocking guitar solo by Toto’s Steve Lukather. In addition, Toto’s Hungate played bass on the song.

“Breakdown Dead Ahead” peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, while Middle Man reached No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart.

“Look What You’ve Done to Me” (1980)

“Look What You’ve Done to Me” was a soulful love ballad co-written by Scaggs and Foster for the hit 1980 film Urban Cowboy.

Two versions of the song were recorded, with the first featuring a veritable supergroup that included members of the Eagles and Toto. Lukather and the Eagles’ Don Felder played guitar on the track, while the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and Timothy B. Schmit contributed backing vocals. Jeff Porcaro played drums, while his brother Mike, a future Toto member, played bass.

A different version of “Look What You’ve Done to Me” was used in Urban Cowboy that didn’t feature any Eagles members. Alternate backing vocals were recorded by session singers Venetta Fields, Paulette Brown, Julia Tillman Waters, and Oren Waters.

The tune was heard during a segment of the film that reflected stars John Travolta and Debra Winger’s broken relationship.

“Look What You’ve Done to Me” reached No. 15 on the Hot 100, while the Urban Cowboy soundtrack peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.

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