In 1966, Steve Miller was a young Texas blues guitarist who flipped a coin to see if he’d drive his Volkswagen Bus east to New York or west to a city he kept hearing about.

“There was a pulse about it, as if you could put an ear to a railroad track and all you’d hear was, ‘San Francisco, San Francisco, San Francisco,” he says.

The 23-year-old pulled into town on a sunny afternoon and went to the fabled Fillmore West just in time to catch Grace Slick being appointed the new lead singer of one of the city’s hippest bands, Jefferson Airplane.

“It was such a cool, small scene, with everyone involved in music and posters and light shows and writing,” recalls Miller, 79. “The group of people who started this thing were idealistic in a period of time that wasn’t cynical. It was all about the art.”

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