"Jet Airliner" is a song composed by Paul Pena and popularized by the Steve Miller Band.
Pena wrote and recorded the song in 1973 for his New Train album. However, due to conflicts between Pena and his label, New Train sat unreleased until 2000. Miller decided to record "Jet Airliner" for his band's Book of Dreams album in 1977 after hearing the unreleased album via Ben Sidran, who produced it, and who was also formerly in Miller's band. It was concurrently released as a single, and reached #8 on the Billboard chart.
On classic rock radio, "Jet Airliner" is typically played in tandem with "Threshold", the instrumental piece that precedes it on both Book of Dreams and Greatest Hits.
The song's main guitar riff as played by Miller is reminiscent of (but not identical to) one used by Eric Clapton in Cream's version of Robert Johnson's song "Cross Road Blues" (from Cream's 1968 album Wheels of Fire). Miller's performance of the main riff is in turn slightly different from Pena's original, which has a more funky edge to it.
The single edit of Miller's recording features a truncated version of the guitar intro. In addition, one line of the song's lyric was altered for radio play: instead...