Everything works. Saxophone saw a fair bit of use in the 1970s and 1980s – it’s quite possible that it was besmirched by Kenny G (and Bill Clinton) in the early 1990s, and had to lie low for a while. …forgot to mention the great piano & sax too. -My Old School – A fun song about Bard where Mr. Steely and Mr. Dan met. There are so many A songs by this band, but my favorite might be “Your Gold Teeth II,” from Katy Lied, which has a beautiful jazzy melody and one of the loveliest guitar solos, by Denny Dias, ever recorded. Wu’ was later covered by The Minutemen, on their 1984 magnum opus Double Nickels on the Dime. While the two previous Steely Dan albums were dominated by a smooth jazz sound, they featured songs like ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Everything You Did’ that were driven by raw, bluesy guitars, while the group’s lyrics constantly poked at the dark underbelly of society. I could easily make a superlative top ten out of the leftovers – maybe ‘Do It Again’, ‘Bodhisattva’, ‘Pretzel Logic’, ‘The Caves of … Donald Fagen described ‘Dr. It was also Gaucho’s 40th anniversary this week. Steely Dan review – smooth tunes with sharp little bones 3 / 5 stars 3 out of 5 stars. Nice write-up, Graham. ‘Gaucho’ is cryptic, seemingly addressing a destructive drug habit that caused the creative partnership between Becker and Fagen to go on hiatus after this record. Graydon, like so many of the Dan’s musicians is/was a studio guy who has some other credits and even some Grammys. the only album I own is Aja. https://jericsmith.com/2020/06/28/favorite-songs-by-favorite-bands-5-steely-dan/. tricot One with guitar solos and one with sax solos. I could easily make a superlative top ten out of the leftovers – maybe ‘Do It Again’, ‘Bodhisattva’, ‘Pretzel Logic’, ‘The Caves of Altamira’, ‘Don’t Take Me Alive’, ‘The Royal Scam’, ‘Aja’, ‘Peg’, ‘FM’, and ‘Babylon Sisters’. That’s pretty cool. from Countdown to Ecstasy, 1973Steely Dan’s early albums are very good, but I prefer them when they became jazzier and more idiosyncratic. There isn’t one weak track on there, IMHO! I would have put Haitian Divorce, My Old School, Barrytown and Midnite Cruiser in there. Reeling in the Years The Royal Scam Playing a hot solo on a Dan song confers a certain prestige forever. Aja. I can’t remember if I’ve seen the documentary before, but I checked out some of it now. Oooo, good list! Glenn Frey admits it on Yacht Rock episode 10: Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. The magic of the Dan is that their original catalog is small and tight enough that I’d say “Oooo, good list!” to just about any combination of ten songs culled from it. The term actually originated on 24 September 1869 when gold prices plummeted; the US government intervened to drop the price after speculators cornered the market. My deep track would be “Chain Lightning.” Since guitar is my thang, I’ve made some comments on those solos, only one of which is not the gee-tar: -Kid Charlemagne –  A great song. Steely Dan is an American rock band founded in 1972 by core members Walter Becker (guitars, bass, backing vocals) and Donald Fagen (keyboards, lead vocals). I tend to prefer the mid-1970s, where they delved right into a jazz-rock synthesis. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! I l.o.v.e. That being said, I also really dig some of their earlier more rock-oriented songs. They are not good old boys innocuously celebrating life’s elemental joys. Steely Dan / Aja (1977/MCA) So many stellar albums by Fagen and Becker in the 70′s but this one is timeless. They were well-reviewed. Have you heard the reunion albums? 🙂. Almost from their debut Steely Dan have been my favourite band whose name doesn’t begin with a “B”, Although I always enjoy Can’t Buy a Thrill, the two in the middle, Katy Lied and The Royal Scam are the two that I play most. If Bruce Springsteen, in his own wry summation, avoided honest labour by writing about it, then Steely Dan have made a roaring success of narrating failure. So does that mean the more volatile character of Walter Becker was responsible? Fortunately, The Very Best of Steely Dan takes a kitchen-sink approach as it delivers two discs of remarkably precise jazz-rock from the storied outfit. I would find it impossible to compile a top ten list; as soon as I thought “that’s it, done” I would think of a couple more that deserve to be included. Royal Scam is my second favourite Dan record (after Aja) and it’s very well represented on your list. Fagen and Becker always, without fail, surrounded themselves with the very best musicians. Find album reviews, stream songs, credits and award information for Pretzel Logic - Steely Dan on AllMusic - 1974 - Countdown to Ecstasy wasn't half the hit that… I actually heard the Jarrett piece before I heard Gaucho. Later on, Home At Last can bring a tear to my eye and Black Cow is another great little scene: a jealous confrontation in a bar, and even later, What A Shame About Me puts you face to face with a slightly crazy ex-student colleague who wants to take you to her hotel room to do who-knows-what or old times’ sake. I recall a day after I finished law school in 1976 when one of my school-mates berated me (gently) for not introducing the band to him in 1972! Review Summary: Steely Dan's "jack of all trades" album, Katy has a little something to please everyone, even if she is a horrible liar. The Caves of Altimira I wrote about it years ago but forgot… you don’t hear it as much as the songs you mentioned that were the radio hits. Mischievously amused … Donald Fagen, centre, at BluesFest. A crisp drumming performance by a teenaged Jeff Porcaro anchors the track, which is punctuated by horns, clavinet, and rhythm guitar. from Aja, 1977This slinky and concise pop-rocker comes from a time where Steely Dan’s material was becoming more esoteric. Steely Dan released seven albums in their initial tenure between 1972 and 1980, and two reunion albums in the early 21st century. Gaucho. ( Log Out /  Wu’ that someone else is a dope habit personified as Doctor Wu.” ‘Dr. BTW, “FM” is another great deep cut. Razor Boy One of the weirdest arrangements in Steely Dan is the backing vocals in Show Biz Kids – they just sing “Going to lost wages…. The sax/drum interplay by Wayne Shorter and Steve Gadd never fails to stir me Blending elements of rock, jazz, latin music, R&B, blues and sophisticated studio production with cryptic and ironic lyrics, the band enjoyed critical and commercial success starting from the early 1970s until breaking up in 1981. Great list. That would be for about 47 years. Thanks for writing in! They’re great songs that could have easily had piano or sax solos. The title track on Pretzel Logic is my all-time favorite Steely Dan track, with the menacing keyboard intro and guitar riffing, with the triple bizarro jazz-pop classic of “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” “Any Major Dude Will Tell You,” and “Barrytown” close behind. For some reason I already made a list of Steely Dan songs elsewhere on your blog , so I just had to copy and paste. Ten worst songs (from 1972-1980) probably would have been a more interesting list – With A Gun? A solid list…one song that is always left out of Steely Dan lists that I see…the one I like so much…Dirty Work…It’s almost like the forgotten song by them…it doesn’t have their jazzy style as much though. -Aja – A beautiful piece of pop-jazz. Steely Dan’s lightweight music flaunted a dark heart and beat Patrick Bateman to the synthesis by decades. They’re all solid, but none of them capture the verve and jazzy sophistication of prime-era Dan. Metacritic Music Reviews, Two Against Nature by Steely Dan, The duo of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen return after a 20-year hiatus, with this Grammy-winning comeback album … –2000s Steely Dan's debut album, "Can't Buy a Thrill", was released in 1972, and was the least jazzy of what they would sound like by the end of their career. Denny Dias and Jeff Baxter solo. Steely Dan have announced that their 2020 Earth After Hours Tour with Steve Winwood has been rescheduled. from Pretzel Logic, 1974There’s not a lot of lyrical bite to ‘Night by Night’ by Steely Dan’s standards, but it’s typically accomplished musically. I’m with Jim here and never get tired of this one. Amazing stuff. For the record, that’s my list of favorites but not necessarily because of the guitar solos. This is a band I keep having recommended to me, and I keep saying yeah yeah I’ll get there, but I only own a Hits set thus far. I think those two are amongst the strongest songs on Two Against Nature. There’s two different versions of that song, I think. Good idea. Citizen Steely Dan is a lump sum of all their studio albums from 1972 debut till 1980 Gaucho that marked the end of that period of their work. I just started following you on spotify. Also, in addition to “Deacon Blues” (my favorite Dan tune) and “Josie” (yes, that bass line is friggin’ cool! If a person is hearing a SD song for the first time she/he would have no idea where any song was headed. I also like Gaslighting Abby. It took me a while to warm up to the sophisticated LA grooves of Steely Dan. Always top notch music. At one point – and it may be standalone as well – you see Messrs. Becker and Fagen listening to – and sometimes mocking – the “Peg” guitar solos that didn’t make the grade. lost wages” over and over. Throughout, Fagen remains mischievously amused – much as he has, in his own sardonic way, through Steely Dan’s career. Cool. Wu’ that someone else is a dope habit personified as Doctor Wu.” ‘Dr. Rikki Don’t Lose That Number Kings ( lovely guitar solo) from Aja, 1977‘Deacon Blues’ was inspired by Fagen’s epiphany that “if a college football team like the University of Alabama could have a grandiose name like the ‘Crimson Tide’ the nerds and losers should be entitled to a grandiose name as well.” It’s a midlife crisis song -despite their success as masters of cynical pop/rock, Becker and Fagen had unfulfilled dreams as jazz musos. Upon the second track's arrival, titled "The Things I Miss the Most", you'd think that by the second … But yeah, that is what he is best-known for. Do you have the setlist framed? The lyrics reference the mythical creature the squonk, mystifying the band’s other members. Did you see them on the 1993-1994 tour? Kid Charlemagne is the rightful number 1. Fagen later admitted that he lifted ideas from Jarrett’s 1974 piece ”Long As You Know You’re Living Yours’. I do hope you enjoyed the process and discovered some further Dan gems (enough for the Top 40 songs!). Great Jeff Baxter solo Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. -Black Friday –  A great bluesy solo. -Bad Sneakers – My favorite Becker solo ever Then I thought a little more. Aja Deacon Blues seems like it would probably win a fan poll for best song – almost everyone’s mentioned that one. 4.1 out of 5. f Bruce Springsteen, in his own wry summation, avoided honest labour by writing about it, then. Frontman, fulcrum and bandleader Fagen is the only rough element beneath the surface of an immaculate band – the much-needed grit in the oyster, especially when the middle part of the show noodles into soporific virtuosity on Time Out of Mind and Aja’s title track. Ditto on Elliott Randall’s solos. Write a review. Genesis Albums: Ranked from Worst to Best, Matt P (movingtheriver.com, soundsofsurprise.com), New Music Reviews: Cleo Sol, Chloe x Halle, and Wobbler, New Music Reviews: Ela Minus, Sault, Róisín Murphy. This box set, released in 1993 during Steely Dan's original comeback tour, collects every original album track released during the first phase of the group's career (1972-1980), in chronological and album order on 4 CDs/cassettes, plus various non-album rarities scattered throughout. Yet when the sour, rollicking glee of My Old School kicks off a concluding troika of earlier cuts, the energy is transformed; it feels as if the most primitive of garage bands has stormed the stage. Did I miss your favourite Steely Dan song? A lot of your choices were on my list of runners up at the top of my post, so we have a lot of crossover. -Caves of Altamira – This whole song just flows together. 1977, 9.5/10 Beloved by audiophiles, Steely Dan’s sixth album was a further progression towards a pristine studio sound. After I posted I had a couple more thoughts. Steely Dan’s fourth album Katy Lied marks their first with Becker and Fagen as the only official members, augmented by session musicians. A great place to start if you're a Dan newbie without access to a greatest hits album. Michael McDonald is among the ensemble of backing vocalists, while Paul Griffin plays the electric clavinet. I worship at the altar of Steely Dan so there was no way I was not gonna respond to this one. Pretzel Logic, Royal Scam, and Aja are my three favourites. Donald Fagen described ‘Dr. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Hadn’t thought of framing. I was thinking that they were unusual in this. Amazingly, Steely Dan's name has been popping up as a hip musical crush. I also have a soft spot for the live album that catalysed the re-union. Steely Dan released seven albums in their initial tenure between 1972 and 1980, and two reunion albums in the early 21st century. What an effort, Graham! –1960s Steely Dan review – smooth tunes with sharp little bones 3 out of 5 stars. STEELY DAN debut is a remarkable record because of two things at least: a sophisticated musical hybrid of rock, pop, jazz and R'n'B along with cynical sometimes cryptic lyrics and campy cover art in the vein of LITTLE FEAT or ROXY MUSIC on one hand; and on the other the phenomenal piece of art in the shape of the opening mega tune Do It Again. -Peg – Famously, every guitar player in town took a crack at the solo. Steely Dan, and these are all great picks, Graham! Walter Becker played the song’s solo on Denny Dias’ guitar. How are ratings calculated? Review by TCat Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team. Steely Dan have stowed away a lot of time since their debut album Can't Buy A Thrill in 1972. The word “dude” was the group’s effort to assimilate in California. Black Friday Steely Dan is an American rock band; its core members are Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. “Don’t make me do it without the fez on”. Gaucho is the only song on Gaucho that I liked besides Time Out of Mind. The ‘final’ album, ‘Everything Must Go’, is similarly solid if not exceptional. Around half is drawn from their biggest record, the frictionless Aja, and its successor, the luxuriant, bloodless Gaucho. by Steely Dan. One of Jimmy Page’s favorites The title track and ‘Things I miss the most’ are both very good. On their debut, Steely Dan brought pop instincts and studied musicianship to rock radio, putting a smooth spin on several hits that would prove to be a … In these songs, everyone’s alone, or … I do recall coveting a poster for the tour (featuring the CD cover image) that I tried to work out how to liberate from its display case on a bridge in Frankfurt! “Dirty Work” was the Steely Dan song that came to my mind when the band’s Donald Fagen announced that he planned to tour this year, mere … A wildly underrated player. Haitian Divorce I feel somehow, though, that starting in on that band would be a slippery slope and I’d disappear for a while…. I was collecting vinyl in high school when it was still uncommon to do so, and Steely Dan was high on my list of favorite artists to listen to. Aja isn’t one of your top 10?? I find it strangely romantic It’s great, even though the line “She prays like a Roman/With her eyes on fire” is an unusual central hook for a pop song. Becker steps out on guitar. I think it’s hard to go far too wrong in that 1972-1980 era – only a few weaker tracks in those 7 albums. Growing up, classic hits radio played precisely five Steely Dan songs; ‘Do It Again’, ‘Reelin’ In The Years’, ‘Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number’, ‘Hey Nineteen’, and ‘Babylon Sisters’. Amazing songs produced and performed to perfection by some of the best session musicians and singers in the business. On Katy Lied, my favorite tracks are without a doubt “Black Friday,” “Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City Anymore,” and “Doctor Wu,” and on Aja, the entire first side is a classic, with “Peg” and “Josie” serving as terrific classic bookends on the second side. Theband's popularity peaked inthelate 1970s, with the release of seven albums blending elements ofjazz, rock, funk, R&B, and pop. SD have been a part of my musical life since I was 23. Change ), Album Reviews Aja might well have been 11th if I’d had another spot. Do It Again I’ve never heard of Jay Graydon – is that his big claim to fame? Aja Is The Third Steely Dan album since songwriters Walter Becker and Donald Fagen discarded a fixed-band format in late 1974. Pretty complex stuff that takes a few listens to absorb, but there’s nothing really else like it. FM did make my list of runner ups at the top. “Night by Night” is a great deep track. AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine [+] Steely Dan hadn't been a real working band since Pretzel Logic, but with Aja, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen 's obsession with sonic detail and fascination with composition reached new heights. The brief, poignant exception is when he refers obliquely to Becker’s death: “I gotta live with it.” Now there’s a motto for Steely Dan Man. Don’t forget to watch the “Peg” thing. Steely Dan were so expert at fusing genres it’s often hard to say what bit came from where, or exactly which tradition (fusion, R&B, soul, disco, classical) was being mined or reimagined. They had airplay and singles success. It’s cool you have those records on vinyl – the only Steely Dan album I have a physical copy of is a 1993 compilation named Remastered – I never saw physical copies around really. Came on board early and stayed throughout most of the ride. ( Log Out /  I find Reelin’ in the Years a tiny bit cheesy but I love the guitar solo. Steely Dan watched the dream fall apart on its first road trip. Very surprising but kind of interesting to see the inclusion of ‘Black Friday’, ‘Josie’ and ‘Gaucho’ (btw, I’m not sure I agree with you on your interpretation of that as a drugs song – I think it’s fairly ‘on the nose’ in terms of being about a homosexual three-way love affair). Hm. Supertramp, Al Stewart, Bowie (I love the LP Young Americans even if Bowie fans don’t), Foreigner (Jr. Walker, Cleo’s Mood, great tune), Pink Floyd, Roxy, Gerry Rafferty. 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