My Dark Hour

Written by Steve Miller

Album This song officially appears on the Brave New World LP.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1969

Song facts

My Dark Hour” is a song by Steve Miller Band, recorded and released in 1969 with the contribution of Paul McCartney. It was recorded in a late-night session on May 9, 1969, after an acrimonious argument between Paul, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr over signing a contract appointing Allen Klein as The Beatles’ financial manager. John, George, and Ringo walked out, while Paul remained at Olympic Studios and encountered Steve Miller.

Paul recorded drums, bass, guitar and backing vocals, while Steve Miller sang and performed all the other instruments. Paul didn’t receive a composer credit, but his performance was attributed to Paul Ramon, the pseudonym he had used in 1960 while on a tour of Scotland with The Silver Beetles.

The track was released as a single in June 1969 and on the Steve Miller Band’s album “Brave New World“.

There was a big argument and they all went, leaving me at the studio. Steve Miller happened to be around: ‘Hi, how you doing? Is the studio free?’ I said: ‘Well, it looks like it is now, mate.’ He said: ‘Mind if I use it?’ So I ended up drumming on a track of his that night. It was called My Dark Hour – a good track actually. He and I made it alone. I had to do something, thrash something, to get it out of my system.

Paul McCartney, in Beatles Anthology

Paul McCartney in "Many Years From Now", by Barry Miles:

Steve Miller happened to be there recording, late at night, and he just breezed in. ‘Hey, what’s happening, man? Can I use the studio?’ ‘Yeah!’ I said. ‘Can I drum for you? I just had a fucking unholy argument with the guys there.’ I explained it to him, took ten minutes to get it off my chest. So I did a track, he and I stayed that night and did a track of his called My Dark Hour. I thrashed everything out on the drums. There’s a surfeit of aggressive drum fills, that’s all I can say about that. We stayed up until late. I played bass, guitar and drums and sang backing vocals. It’s actually a pretty good track.

It was a very strange time in my life and I swear I got my first grey hairs that month. I saw them appearing. I looked in the mirror, I thought, I can see you. You’re all coming now. Welcome.

Mum introduced me to a song [Paul McCartney] played drums on years ago, called “My Dark Hour”, by the Steve Miller Band. He’s credited as “Paul Ramon” and he does backing vocals, guitar, bass and drums. It was recorded in Olympic Studios in London towards the end of 1969, after an argument Dad had had with the others over Allen Klein becoming their manager. The others had gone off and he said Steve Miller walked in and asked if he wanted to play the drums on this track he was recording. I think the drumming on it is so good, but you can tell he’s letting out a lot of tension.

Mary McCartney – from Paul Weller in conversation with Mary McCartney: ‘We used to pinch a lot of Beatles songs’ | British GQ, June 4, 2021

From Ultimate Classic Rock:

The closing track from the Steve Miller Band’s third album, ‘Brave New World,’ ‘My Dark Hour’ finds him working at an altogether sweatier pitch than casual listeners might expect; although it incorporates the same basic ingredients as many of Miller’s other songs, it’s distinguished by a woozy lead guitar riff (later recycled for ‘Fly Like an Eagle’), a propulsive backbeat (delivered by some positively volcanic drums), and screaming background vocals.

It’s those drums and vocals that add a particularly interesting footnote to ‘My Dark Hour,’ because they — along with the bass — were performed by a moonlighting Paul McCartney, blowing off some steam after a particularly rough day in the studio with the Beatles on May 9, 1969. […]

As McCartney modestly noted, ‘My Dark Hour’ is a pretty good track; in fact, it’s tempting to imagine the path Miller might have followed if it had been a hit. The song is a basic blues strutter, sure, and one whose lyrics are basically just there to prop up the arrangement, but it’s performed with such tuneful abandon that you end up wishing it was twice as long (and at least twice as loud). […]

Paul would work again with Steve Miller for his 1997 album “Flaming Pie”.

Lyrics

My dark hour
My dark hour, you know it's drivin' me wild

Well, well, I went to see the doctor
And I had my fortune read
And you know the doctor told me
Son you better stay in bed

Who's that comin' down that road
Looks like he's carryin' a heavy load
{??} and he started to say
Want to come with me on my way

My dark hour, mother nature's child
My dark hour, oh, it's drivin' me wild

Well, I went to see the doctor
Just to have my fortune read
Well, well, well, well, well, the doctor told me
Son you better stay in bed

So do you think these sinners will fall
Or do you think they'll survive us all
Well, well, well, well down this road
Won't you help me carry my load

My dark hour, mother nature's child
My dark hour, oh, it's drivin' me wild

Officially appears on


Brave New World

LP • Released in 1969

3:07 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass guitar, Drums, Guitar
Steve Miller :
Guitar, Lead vocals, Producer
Glyn Johns :
Producer, Recording engineer

Session Recording:
May 09, 1969
Studio :
Olympic Sound Studios, London

My Dark Hour / Song For Our Ancestors

7" Single • Released in 1969

3:07 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass guitar, Drums, Guitar
Steve Miller :
Guitar, Lead vocals, Producer
Glyn Johns :
Producer, Recording engineer

Session Recording:
May 09, 1969
Studio :
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Latest concerts where My Dark Hour has been played

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

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