Boz Scaggs
Scaggs in 2015
Scaggs in 2015
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Royce Scaggs
Born (1944-06-08) June 8, 1944 (age 78)
Canton, Ohio, United States
OriginPlano, Texas, United States
GenresRock, blues rock, soft rock, jazz rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, guitarist
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1963–present
LabelsConcord, Columbia, Atlantic, Virgin, 429 Records

William Royce "Boz" Scaggs (born June 8, 1944) is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist.[1] An early bandmate of Steve Miller in The Ardells and the Steve Miller Band, he began his solo career in 1969, though he lacked a major hit until his 1976 album Silk Degrees peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200, and produced the hit singles "Lido Shuffle" and "Lowdown". Scaggs produced two more platinum-certified albums in Down Two Then Left and Middle Man, the latter of which produced two top-40 singles "Breakdown Dead Ahead" and "Jojo". After a hiatus for most of the 1980s, he returned to recording and touring in 1988, joining The New York Rock and Soul Revue and opening the nightclub Slim's, a popular San Francisco music venue until it closed in 2020. He has continued to record and tour throughout the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s, with his most recent album being 2018's Out of the Blues.

Early life and career

Scaggs was born in Canton, Ohio,[1] the eldest child of a traveling salesman. Their family moved to McAlester, Oklahoma, then to Plano, Texas (at that time a farm town), just north of Dallas. He attended a Dallas private school, St. Mark's School of Texas.[2]

After learning guitar at the age of 12, Scaggs met Steve Miller at St. Mark's School. In 1959, he became the vocalist for Miller's band, the Marksmen. The pair later attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison together, playing in blues bands like the Ardells and the Fabulous Knight Trains.[1]

Leaving school, Scaggs briefly joined the burgeoning R&B scene in London, then traveled on to Sweden as a solo performer, and in 1965 recorded his solo debut album, Boz, which failed commercially.[1] He also had a brief stint with the band the Other Side with Mac MacLeod and Jack Downing.

Returning to the U.S., Scaggs promptly headed for the booming psychedelic music center of San Francisco in 1967. Linking up with Steve Miller again, he appeared on the Steve Miller Band's first two albums, Children of the Future and Sailor in 1968.[3] Scaggs secured a solo contract with Atlantic Records in 1968, releasing his second album, Boz Scaggs, featuring the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and session guitarist Duane Allman, in 1969.[3] Despite good reviews, this release achieved only moderate sales. He then briefly hooked up with Bay Area band Mother Earth in a supporting role on their second album Make a Joyful Noise on guitar and backup vocals.

Scaggs next signed with Columbia Records releasing the albums Moments in 1971 and My Time in 1972. His first two Columbia albums were modest sellers and seeking a new more soulful direction his record company brought in former Motown producer Johnny Bristol for 1974's Slow Dancer album.[3] Although the album only made # 81 on the US Billboard Album Chart, it subsequently attained gold status, no doubt getting a boost from the huge success of Scaggs's next album Silk Degrees.[1]

1976–1981: the hit years

In 1976, using session musicians who later formed Toto, he recorded Silk Degrees,[3] with Joe Wissert on producing duties.[1] The album, which received a Grammy nomination for album of the year and a further nomination for Wissert as Producer of The Year, reached No. 2 on the US Billboard 200, and #1 in a number of other countries, spawning four hit singles: "It's Over", "Lowdown", "What Can I Say", and "Lido Shuffle",[1] as well as the poignant ballad "We're All Alone",[3] later recorded by Rita Coolidge and Frankie Valli. "Lowdown" sold over one million copies in the US[4] and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song, which was shared by Scaggs and David Paich.

A sellout world tour followed, but his follow-up album in 1977 Down Two Then Left did not sell as well as Silk Degrees and neither of its singles reached the Top 40.[1] The 1980 album Middle Man spawned two top 20 hits, "Breakdown Dead Ahead" (No. 15, Hot 100) and "Jojo" (No. 17, Hot 100); and Scaggs also enjoyed two more top 20 hits in 1980–81, "Look What You've Done to Me", from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack, and "Miss Sun", from a greatest hits set, both reaching No. 14 on the Hot 100.

Later career

Scaggs in concert in 2006
Scaggs in concert in 2006

Scaggs took a long break from recording and his next album, Other Roads, did not appear until 1988.[3] "Heart of Mine", from Other Roads, is Scaggs' last top-40 hit as of 2018.[1] Also in 1988, he opened the San Francisco nightclub, Slim's, and remained an owner of the venue until the club's closure in 2020.[5]

From 1989 to 1992, Scaggs joined Donald Fagen, Phoebe Snow, Michael McDonald and others in the New York Rock and Soul Revue. His next solo release was the album Some Change in 1994. He issued Come On Home, an album of rhythm and blues,[3] and My Time: A Boz Scaggs Anthology, an anthology, in 1997.

In the summer of 1998 Boz went on tour as the opening act for Stevie Nicks.

After another hiatus from recording, his next album, Dig, got good reviews, although the CD was released on an unfortunate date – September 11, 2001.[6] In May 2003, Scaggs released But Beautiful, a collection of jazz standards that debuted at number one on the jazz chart. In 2008 he released Speak Low, which he described in the liner notes as "a sort of progressive, experimental effort ... along the lines of some of the ideas that Gil Evans explored." During 2004, he released a DVD and a live 16-track CD Greatest Hits Live that was recorded August 2003 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

After a break in recording, he undertook a series of shows across the US in 2008. Two years later he joined Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald for concerts entitled the Dukes of September Rhythm Revue. His next album Memphis was released in March 2013. It was recorded in that Southern American city at the Royal Studios. The album included some of his favorite compositions from other artists. A tour of the United States, Canada and Japan followed the release. Before the year ended, he added live dates across North America and Australia for 2014. In 2015, he released A Fool to Care, a compilation of mostly covers, including "Whispering Pines" with Lucinda Williams, and one original blues composition, "Hell to Pay," performed with Bonnie Raitt. The album rose to number one on the Billboard Blues Album chart and number 54 on the Billboard 200.[7]

Personal life

Scaggs married his first wife, Donna Carmella Storniola,[8] in 1973. They had two sons: Austin, a music journalist for Rolling Stone, and Oscar, who died in 1998 from a heroin overdose.[9][10] Scaggs and Carmella divorced in 1980.[11] She died in February 2017.[12]

In 1992 he married Dominique Gioia.[13]

Music in dance

Scaggs' music has been used for several line dances over the years, most notably "Fly Like A Bird" by Hedy McAdams (1995) and "T-Bone Shuffle" by Peter Metelnick (1997).


With the Steve Miller Band

Year Album US
1968 Children of the Future 134
1968 Sailor 24

Solo albums

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications

1965 Boz N/A
1969 Boz Scaggs* 171 N/A
1971 Moments 124
1971 Boz Scaggs & Band 198
1972 My Time 138
1974 Slow Dancer 81 62
1976 Silk Degrees 2 6 1 20
1977 Down Two Then Left 11 4 55
  • RIAA: Platinum[17]
  • ARIA: 2× Platinum[18]
1980 Middle Man 8 36 11 52
1988 Other Roads 47 35
1994 Some Change 91
1996 Fade into Light
1997 Come On Home 94
2001 Dig 146
2003 But Beautiful 167
2008 Speak Low 128
2013 Memphis[20] 17
2015 A Fool to Care 54
2018 Out of the Blues[21] 82
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Compilation albums

Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
1980 Hits! 24 9
1984 His Greatest Hits 28
1997 My Time: A Boz Scaggs Anthology
2004 Greatest Hits Live
2013 The Essential Boz Scaggs
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
1971 "We Were Always Sweethearts" 61 40 Moments
"Near You" 96
1972 "Dinah Flo" 86 My Time
1976 "It's Over" 38 79 63 Silk Degrees
"Lowdown" 3 11 2 7 28 54 35
"What Can I Say" 42 35 55 21 10 2
1977 "Lido Shuffle" 11 5 13 2 18
"Hard Times" 58 79 40 Down Two Then Left
1978 "Hollywood" 49 44 23 33 19 43 7
1980 "Breakdown Dead Ahead" 15 8 64 Middle Man
"JoJo" 17 29 15 73
"Look What You've Done to Me" 14 3 8 41 Urban Cowboy (soundtrack)
"Miss Sun" 14 13 33 Hits!
1988 "Heart of Mine" 35 3 25 60 Other Roads
"Cool Running" 39 43
1994 "Some Change" 38 Some Change
"I'll Be the One" 68

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 847–848. ISBN 978-1-84195-017-4.
  2. ^ "Meet St. Mark's Boz Scaggs". Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1058. ISBN 978-1-85227-745-1.
  4. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 483. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
  5. ^ Joel Selvin (March 20, 2020). "Slim's to close for good after more than three decades at heart of SF's music scene". Datebook. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  6. ^ "Dig – Boz Scaggs | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  7. ^ "A Fool to Care - Boz Scaggs | Awards". AllMusic. March 31, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  8. ^ "Remembering Carmella". February 10, 2018.
  9. ^ Hamburg, Laura (January 4, 1999). "Boz Scaggs' Son Dies On New Year's Eve / Heroin overdose kills 21-year-old". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  10. ^ Chonin, Neva (January 13, 1999). "Heartbroken Scaggs Family Speaks Out Against Heroin / Musician calls drug that killed son 'S.F. plague'". San Francisco Chronicle.
  11. ^ Fong-Torres, Ben (August 4, 1984). "Boz Scaggs Interview". GQ Magazine.
  12. ^ Whiting, Sam (February 15, 2017). "Carmella Scaggs, socialite and ex-wife of singer". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  13. ^ Fink, James (August 23, 2016). "Family ties aside, Boz Scaggs is a Buffalo fan". Buffalo Business First. American City Business Journals.
  14. ^ a b "Boz Scaggs Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  15. ^ "Boz Scaggs - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 6, 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  16. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 265,266. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  17. ^ a b c d e "Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Cashbox Magazine" (PDF). Billboard. March 25, 1978. p. 82. Retrieved November 13, 2021 – via World Radio History.
  19. ^ "Boz Scaggs - Silk Degrees". Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  20. ^ Baltin, Steve (January 14, 2013). "Boz Scaggs to Release First New Album in Five Years in March | Music News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  21. ^ "Boz Scaggs – Out of the Blues". Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  22. ^ Whitburn, Joel. Top Pop Singles 1955–1990. ISBN 978-0-89820-089-8.
  23. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944–2006 (Second ed.). Record Research. p. 212.
  24. ^ "Results: RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  25. ^ "Results: RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". July 17, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  26. ^ "The Irish Charts". Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  27. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 978-0-646-11917-5.
  28. ^ "Flavour of new zealand - search rianz". Retrieved January 17, 2020.