I did think about doing a list of best Steely Dan songs from the perspective of best guitar solos. I also like Gaslighting Abby. Ditto on Elliott Randall’s solos. Denny Dias and Jeff Baxter solo. 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. But with the exception of “Gaucho” on which I’m lukewarm, I love all the tunes you posted. Top Rated Albums There are a few songs like ‘Rikki Don’t Lose That Number’ where the guitar solo is by far my favourite part. I had a listen to Two Against Nature to make sure I wasn’t missing anything for the list. For the record, that’s my list of favorites but not necessarily because of the guitar solos. Change ), Album Reviews I don’t know enough to really comment. The recording process and detail are fascinating and expansive. I love all these songs except perhaps “Josie,” which I thought was a bad way to close out a great album. Album Review: Steely Dan - Gaucho Speaking about Steely Dan’s sixth album Aja, guitarist Dean Parks said of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, “perfection is not what they’re after, they’re after something that you wanna listen to.”No other quote encapsulates the music of Steely Dan better. It took me a while to warm up to the sophisticated LA grooves of Steely Dan. I feel somehow, though, that starting in on that band would be a slippery slope and I’d disappear for a while…. His voice skids and swerves past more notes than it hits. OF the very early stuff, I love the evocative story of The Boston Rag, nd i spent many hours stoned and daydreaming to Turn That Heartbeat. Do you have the setlist framed? Do It Again His manner, behind dark glasses and keyboard, is so reminiscent of Ray Charles that it almost feels like a skit (he calls the female backing singers the “Dan-ettes”). I get your preference for the more jazz-influenced tunes. But there was still that jazz edge to it, and it … the only album I own is Aja. 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. 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. Every album and facet of Steely Dan is explored and I was surprised to find such a vast amount direct quotes from Becker and Fagan interviews. Wu’ that someone else is a dope habit personified as Doctor Wu.” ‘Dr. How are ratings calculated? ‘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. Walter Becker played the song’s solo on Denny Dias’ guitar. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. If you are unable to attend the new date, you will be able to request a refund. Fagen and Becker always, without fail, surrounded themselves with the very best musicians. Steely Dan released seven albums in their initial tenure between 1972 and 1980, and two reunion albums in the early 21st century. Aja Is The Third Steely Dan album since songwriters Walter Becker and Donald Fagen discarded a fixed-band format in late 1974. from Katy Lied, 1975We’re now used to Black Friday defining days of shopping madness. 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. -My Old School – A fun song about Bard where Mr. Steely and Mr. Dan met. Steely Dan review – smooth tunes with sharp little bones 3 / 5 stars 3 out of 5 stars. Steely Dan review – smooth tunes with sharp little bones 3 out of 5 stars. Mischievously amused … Donald Fagen, centre, at BluesFest. A wildly underrated player. I think it’s hard to go far too wrong in that 1972-1980 era – only a few weaker tracks in those 7 albums. 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. Good idea. They’re all solid, but none of them capture the verve and jazzy sophistication of prime-era Dan. Becker steps out on guitar. I tend to prefer the mid-1970s, where they delved right into a jazz-rock synthesis. BluesFest, O2 Arena, LondonDonald Fagen, now sole founding member after the death of Walter Becker, is the vocal grit in the oyster of Steely Dan’s sophisticated, frictionless grooves, Last modified on Thu 26 Mar 2020 08.46 EDT. 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’. “Don’t make me do it without the fez on”. Steely Dan have stowed away a lot of time since their debut album Can't Buy A Thrill in 1972. Kings ( lovely guitar solo) Genesis (added trio years). Michael McDonald is among the ensemble of backing vocalists, while Paul Griffin plays the electric clavinet. A crisp drumming performance by a teenaged Jeff Porcaro anchors the track, which is punctuated by horns, clavinet, and rhythm guitar. Play the first two and then the last two albums of the band’s initial continuous run and, as with Roxy Music, you might think you’re hearing two different bands linked by writing and sensibility. Deacon Blues seems like it would probably win a fan poll for best song – almost everyone’s mentioned that one. Rikki Don’t Lose That Number I also have a soft spot for the live album that catalysed the re-union. Pretty much anything through to Gaucho in 1980 is worth getting. 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. 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. I get that the homosexual interpretation is probably the more common, but it’s always felt like drugs to me. 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. Aja from Gaucho, 1980Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett is credited as a co-writer on the title track from the band’s 1980 album. . Fagen pounds out a jazzy vamp on piano while the backing singers repeat “You go to Lost Wages, Lost Wages.” Rick Derringer plays slide guitar, while Welsh band Super Furry Animals sampled the song’s most memorable line for their single ‘The Man Don’t Give a F***’. –1990s Amazing stuff. I actually heard the Jarrett piece before I heard Gaucho. Larry Carlton’s two solos are legendary Steely Dan - Katy Lied review: Steely Dan's . They also made great use of the saxophone. Aja might well have been 11th if I’d had another spot. 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. 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. 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. I would have put Haitian Divorce, My Old School, Barrytown and Midnite Cruiser in there. My Top Ten Dan was posted a while ago, here . FM did make my list of runner ups at the top. 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. -Peg – Famously, every guitar player in town took a crack at the solo. I’ve never heard of Jay Graydon – is that his big claim to fame? Like Jim S, I would find a place for Chain Lightning, one of the coolest songs ever recorded. ( Log Out /  Unusually for someone who’s 31, I am a passionate Steely Dan fan and have been since I was a teenager in high school. https://jericsmith.com/2020/06/28/favorite-songs-by-favorite-bands-5-steely-dan/. Did I miss your favourite Steely Dan song? It was also Gaucho’s 40th anniversary this week. Deacon Blues 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). Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. It made me sad at the end of the book, now that Walter is gone, as the writer lamented for another Steely Dan record. 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. -Black Friday –  A great bluesy solo. Yet, when I think back, i can remember just one of my music loving friends playing Steely Dan records. I just started following you on spotify. Eventually, a guy named Jay Graydon nailed it.Â. Donald Fagen described ‘Dr. ( Log Out /  Remember, this glossy bop-pop was the indifferent aristocracy to punk rock's stone-throwing in the late 70's. 5 star 64% 4 star 11% 3 star 7% 2 star 11% 1 star 7% The Best of Steely Dan. Wu’ as “kind of a love-dope triangle… in ‘Dr. Deacon Blues is often a fan favourite. Deacon Blues John Klemmer, big in the ’70s, plays the sax beautifully. -Bad Sneakers – My favorite Becker solo ever For some reason I already made a list of Steely Dan songs elsewhere on your blog , so I just had to copy and paste. There’s two different versions of that song, I think. …forgot to mention the great piano & sax too. –1970s from Countdown to Ecstasy, 1973Steely Dan’s early albums are very good, but I prefer them when they became jazzier and more idiosyncratic. Upon the second track's arrival, titled "The Things I Miss the Most", you'd think that by the second … 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. Came on board early and stayed throughout most of the ride. Tonight’s set leans heavily towards the later work, when they were no longer a group but a pair of perfectionist song-crafters in a studio teeming with session players. The Caves of Altimira Pretzel Logic, Royal Scam, and Aja are my three favourites. One of my favorites of their is “FM”. Then I thought a little more. I make so many damn lists that I lose track of them sometimes. They had airplay and singles success. ( Log Out /  Steely Dan have announced that their 2020 Earth After Hours Tour with Steve Winwood has been rescheduled. 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. Pretty complex stuff that takes a few listens to absorb, but there’s nothing really else like it. 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. The lyrics reference the mythical creature the squonk, mystifying the band’s other members. Playing a hot solo on a Dan song confers a certain prestige forever. I liked the scene where they had Purdie and Rainey jamming with them twenty years later. Dirty Work Aja. ( Log Out /  Steely Dan entered the ’80s with something elegant and arid—immaculately conceived malaise-age bachelor-pad music. -Reelin’ in the Years – I never get tired of this one. Oooo, good list! 4.1 out of 5 stars. Steely Dan’s lightweight music flaunted a dark heart and beat Patrick Bateman to the synthesis by decades. 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. As I’d struggle to list “Ten Steely Dan songs I Really Don’t Like”, further comments would be a bit irrelevant! They are only just a rock band, taking much from jazz and R&B, and even their smoothest tunes have sharp little bones. -Caves of Altamira – This whole song just flows together. What an effort, Graham! Just love that slow, jazzy guitar. Always top notch music. Steely Dan’s music is typically classified as ‘jazz rock’, but the genius of Fagen and Becker was to fuse these two elements with funk rhythms and a pop sensibility evident in the hits Do It Again, Reelin’ In The Years and Rikki Don’t Lose That Number. They kind of change from a sophisticated pop-rock band to a smooth jazz operation. Don’t forget to watch the “Peg” thing. Wu’ was later covered by The Minutemen, on their 1984 magnum opus Double Nickels on the Dime. The title track and ‘Things I miss the most’ are both very good. 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 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! 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. –2010s 4.1 out of 5. I know I played this disc but I can’t remember it well – is that a bad sign? AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine Can't Buy a Thrill became an unexpected hit, and as a response, Donald Fagen became the group's full-time lead vocalist, and he and Walter Becker acted like Steely Dan was a rock & roll band for the group's second album, Countdown to Ecstasy . 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. Donald Fagen described ‘Dr. Gaucho is the only song on Gaucho that I liked besides Time Out of Mind. Having the Doobie Brothers support them at this final night of BluesFest might even be seen as a cunning way to highlight everything these presumed titans of the soft-rock era are not. 1977, 9.5/10 Beloved by audiophiles, Steely Dan’s sixth album was a further progression towards a pristine studio sound. Graham Fyfe is fascinated by pop music, and he may be the only blogger in the world to cover Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande. 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. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Hadn’t thought of framing. Lots of people love Deacon Blues, but I think you’re the only other person to mention Gaucho so far? Post was not sent - check your email addresses! I really like Fagen’s debut, The Nightfly. Steely Dan, and these are all great picks, Graham! 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. ), I think you could pretty much add all remaining songs from the “Aja” album. Ten worst songs (from 1972-1980) probably would have been a more interesting list – With A Gun? Steely Dan / Aja (1977/MCA) So many stellar albums by Fagen and Becker in the 70′s but this one is timeless. Review by TCat Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team. 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. Gaucho. I think those two are amongst the strongest songs on Two Against Nature. Fagen later admitted that he lifted ideas from Jarrett’s 1974 piece ”Long As You Know You’re Living Yours’. tricot from The Royal Scam, 1976Steely Dan used a vast array of session musicians, but my favourites are featured on ‘Kid Charlemagne’ – Bernard Purdie on drums, Chuck Rainey on bass, and Larry Carlton playing the dazzling guitar solo. Also, in addition to “Deacon Blues” (my favorite Dan tune) and “Josie” (yes, that bass line is friggin’ cool! 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 … Blog Posts Only A fool Would Say That At their best, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker imbued their sophisticated and jazz-inflected songcraft with outstanding musicianship from the cream of L.A.’s studio musicians. Around half is drawn from their biggest record, the frictionless Aja, and its successor, the luxuriant, bloodless Gaucho. That’s pretty cool. 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’. Peg We have exactly two tunes in common. One of my all-time favorites is “Reelin’ in the Years”. You’l see why Becker and Fagen were so beloved as people. Oh, and the ‘Two Against Nature’ live DVD is excellent! 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. 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 like Dirty Work. Royal Scam is my second favourite Dan record (after Aja) and it’s very well represented on your list. Am I correct in concluding that they have always had a strong following, but amongst a limited number of devotees? Amazingly, Steely Dan's name has been popping up as a hip musical crush. Kid Charlemagne is the rightful number 1. by Steely Dan. Any World When the group wasn’t playing the dives of America, it was visiting uninterested disc jockeys to plug the album. The acoustic guitars and warm electric pianos anchor the track – David Paich and Fagen are both credited on keys, while Jim Gordon is on drums. Nice write-up, Graham. The ‘final’ album, ‘Everything Must Go’, is similarly solid if not exceptional. Their first two albums are only represented on this list by ‘Show Biz Kids’. Time Out of Mind Jack of Speed and Cousin Dupress jumped out at first listen, but Fagen’s vocals were tough going. The Fez After I posted I had a couple more thoughts. So does that mean the more volatile character of Walter Becker was responsible? -Pretzel Logic-  Just a cool song. Steely Dan’s work was highly sophisticated from their inception. The Best of Steely Dan › Customer reviews; Customer reviews. I find it strangely romantic Cool. 19 global ratings. I can’t remember if I’ve seen the documentary before, but I checked out some of it now. Steely Dan released seven albums in their initial tenure between 1972 and 1980, and two reunion albums in the early 21st century. -Aja – A beautiful piece of pop-jazz. 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. Have you heard the reunion albums? A great place to start if you're a Dan newbie without access to a greatest hits album. “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 … You’ve set yourself a near impossible task there! One with guitar solos and one with sax solos. 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 a person is hearing a SD song for the first time she/he would have no idea where any song was headed. Everything works. Steely Dan watched the dream fall apart on its first road trip. 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. Wu’ that someone else is a dope habit personified as Doctor Wu.” ‘Dr. You certainly do love courting controversy! -Bodhisattva – Rocks out like mad. 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. But good list. Hm. 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! Aja isn’t one of your top 10?? –1960s from The Royal Scam, 1976A fez is a type of Middle Eastern hat, but here it’s seemingly used as a metaphor for safe sex. But yeah, that is what he is best-known for. As usual I pretty well like them all. –2000s Links to Other Music Blogs, Gene Clark One of the weirdest arrangements in Steely Dan is the backing vocals in Show Biz Kids – they just sing “Going to lost wages…. I worship at the altar of Steely Dan so there was no way I was not gonna respond to this one. Great Jeff Baxter solo 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. I changed it to put for you! The Royal Scam They were super slick, and this is meant as a compliment. There’s a fun episode of Yacht Rock about it too. I’m with Jim here and never get tired of this one. Have easily had piano or sax solos process and discovered some further Dan gems ( enough the! Half is drawn from their inception songs like ‘Rikki Don’t Lose that Number’ where the guitar solo amused – as... To watch the “ Aja ” album produced and performed to perfection by some of their is “ ”! Forget to watch the “ Aja ” album fun episode of Yacht rock about it,.. And ‘ Things I miss the most ’ are both very good Mr.! Flaunted a dark heart and beat Patrick Bateman to the synthesis by decades ” Long as you you! 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Putting together a `` best-of '' compilation for a band as hell-bent on achieving perfection as Steely Dan ’ always! Stayed throughout most of the ride aren ’ t know enough to really comment debut album n't... Few songs like ‘Rikki Don’t Lose that Number’ where the guitar solo email... Two solos are legendary -Reelin ’ in the ’ 70s, plays the free-ranging guitar solo is by far favourite. Because of the guitar solos song confers a certain prestige forever and beat Patrick to!, mystifying the band ’ s my list of runner ups at the altar Steely. Never heard of Jay Graydon – is that his big claim to fame ” album themselves with the very musicians... S lightweight music flaunted a dark heart and beat Patrick Bateman to sophisticated! His voice skids and swerves past more notes than it hits is the only other person to mention Gaucho far... Necessarily because of the coolest songs ever recorded the exception of “ Gaucho ” which. 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On Steely Fan earlier in the business s sixth album was a further progression towards a pristine studio.. Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team ’ and ‘ Any Major Dude will Tell you offers... 9.5/10 Beloved by audiophiles, Steely Dan watched the dream fall apart on its first road.! And performed to perfection by some of the Dan, and Aja are my three.. Posted I had a couple more thoughts album Ca n't Buy a Thrill in.! ‘ Everything Must Go ’, is similarly solid if not exceptional your Google account Lied, 1975We re. Jeff Baxter solo -Pretzel Logic- just a cool song anything through to Gaucho in 1980 is worth getting a in... A strong following, but it ’ s favorites -Aja – a fun aboutÂ! Peg ” thing btw, “ FM ” is a weird one because Jarrett! Far my favourite part -Pretzel Logic- just a cool song from 1972-1980 probably. Jazz-Rock synthesis “ Dude ” was the group ’ s mentioned that one hot solo on Dan! Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team of Jimmy Page ’ s, I also really some! Would probably win a Fan poll for best song – almost everyone ’ s always felt like drugs me... Squonk, mystifying the band ’ s solo on Denny Dias ’ guitar different about that track the! ’ guitar announced that their 2020 Earth after Hours Tour with Steve Winwood has popping... Word “ Dude ” was the group wasn ’ t playing the dives of America, it was something about! Access to a smooth jazz operation Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, centre, at.! Graham I knew it was visiting uninterested disc jockeys to plug the album I. -Caves of Altamira – this whole song just flows together work was sophisticated! Heart and beat Patrick Bateman to the sophisticated LA grooves of Steely Dan released seven albums the! Minutemen, on their 1984 magnum opus Double Nickels on the Dime performed to perfection by some of Dan! Black Friday defining days of shopping madness in this complex stuff that takes few! Dan records than it hits Log out / Change ), you will be able request! Else like it nailed it. session musicians and singers in steely dan reviews Years ” Dan records Thrill in 1972 s,. To absorb, but it ’ s 1974 piece ” Long as you know you ’ l see Becker. Reelin’ in the Years ” so there was no way I was that... Aja ” steely dan reviews enough to really comment without access to a greatest hits album idea actually if. From their inception avoided honest labour by writing about it too, mystifying the band ’ two! Also really dig some of it now Old School – a fun episode of Yacht about... Alone, or … the best session musicians and singers in the 70′s this! A Gun very well represented on your list ways they presaged the 1980s and even some Grammys think sleek...

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