Steely Dan combined elements of jazz, rock, funk and so much more into one of the smoothest sounds in music. It also features some of the most bizarre background vocals, courtesy of Michael McDonald, in pop music history. The Anniversary February 28, 2020 11:16 AM By Zach Schonfeld. They were the unlikeliest of rock stars in the '70s. I think the people down the hall/ Know who you are”. In This Article: But Jeff “Skunk” Baxter’s stinging lead guitar hints at the cruelty that pops up in the final verse, as Fagen sings, “California tumbles into the sea/ That’ll be the day I go back to Annandale” over Jim Hodder’s precise yet stomping backbeat. Fagen’s narrator describes a weekend with a woman he doesn’t respect (“Turn that jungle music down/ Just until we’re out of town”) but is still afraid of losing (“So fine, so young/ Tell me I’m the only one”). “It wouldn’t bother me at all,” Steely Dan‘s Walter Becker told Rolling Stone‘s Cameron Crowe in 1977, “not to play on my own album.” He was stating a fact – Steely Dan famously staffed their sessions with the finest studio musicians they could find – but he was also summing up the weird oblique approach to rock-stardom shared by him and his longtime songwriting partner Donald Fagen. The pattern for the next six albums has been set: They’re on the inside, you’re on the outside. And the stories they tell — of hipsters on the downward slide, of rueful infidelity and intergenerational angst, of people with nothing in common but their damage — are wrapped in complex and impeccable arrangements. Chris Walter / Getty Images . Forty is the perfect anniversary for a Steely Dan album, since so many of their narrators, on that album in particular but throughout their catalog, seem to be middle-aged men bemoaning their lost youth. Doctor Wu was a real person, an acupuncturist and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner in Washington, DC. Lyrically, it’s an outlier in their catalog, as one of the few SD songs to depict a non-heterosexual relationship; as near as I can tell, a rich businessman is being embarrassed by his young boyfriend, who’s brought a fellow hustler or at least a crass, uncultured friend to some sort of upscale gathering “high in the Custerdome.” Musically, it’s a bluesy, piano-driven ballad, a shimmering smooth-jazz cloud with an insistent backbeat, over which Fagen’s narrator expresses dismay at the situation he finds himself in. They're … Which makes it all the more astonishing/horrifying that the band’s two creative voices, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, were 24 and 22, respectively, when their first album, Can’t Buy A Thrill, was released in 1972. Steely Dan Everything Must Go (2003) The Last Mall: The Last Mall: 74: 74. The song fuses the urban pop/rock/jazz sound that Steely Dan ultimate became known for. We want to hear from you! Top 10 Eccentric Songs of All Time By Steely Dan - Melodyful Download Hungama Music app to get access to unlimited free songs, free movies, latest music videos, online radio, new TV shows and … Steely Dan the band (and there was one, early on) ceased to exist in 1974, so that Becker, Fagen, and their true creative partners, producer Gary Katz and engineer Roger Nichols, could really get down to work. They write songs that borrow from blues, New Orleans R&B, and a dash of Nashville, build them out of jazz chords and Latin rhythms, and throw in the occasional snarling guitar solo to keep it from going down too smoothly. They can be seen rapping to the track in this video, which is either one of the funniest or most infuriating things you’ll ever see. Find the best place to download latest songs by Steely Dan. 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. By the time they broke the “band” up in 1981, they were in their early thirties but seemed much older. The band was formed by Donald Fagen (vocals, keyboards) and Walter Becker (guitar, bass), who met in 1967 while both attended Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and began a songwriting partnership shortly thereafter. Gradually, guitar and keyboards, and eventually a multitude of horns and some of the most sardonic female background vocals ever recorded, come creeping in. The rollicking piano and punchy horns set you up for a romp, and the lyrics — full of veiled references to Becker and Fagen’s time as students at Bard College in upstate New York — seem funny at first. Forty is … Yet, against all odds, they still carved out their own proud niche in the classic-rock canon. The solos — electric sitar and cheap plastic organ — are pure Dan, though, as are the lyrics, which describe revenge, infidelity, and gambling addiction dispassionately, the subject always an anonymous "you" with the band themselves mentioned in the third verse as "us." If you really wanted to rage with the flame-pattern bowling shirt and wallet chain crowd, Papa Roach’s “Last Resort” was the move. Steely Dan were hit making machines in the 70's. Steely Dan is a one of a kind act: a cerebral and literate fusion of rock and jazz that is among the smartest music rock has ever produced. Fagen, anchoring the track from the organ, tells a first-person story of escaping a financial apocalypse (“When Black Friday comes/ I’ll collect everything I’m owed/ And before my friends find out/ I’ll be on the road”) and running away to Australia (“Gonna do just what I please/ Gonna wear no socks and shoes/ With nothing to do but feed/ All the kangaroos”). Steely Dan’s catalog is one of the most perverse bodies of work ever subsidized by a major record label. 3 months ago. The band was formed by Donald Fagen (vocals, keyboards) and Walter Becker (guitar, bass), who met in 1967 while both attended Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and began a songwriting partnership shortly thereafter. The most important stories and least important memes, every Friday. He’s the rare Dan protagonist you actually find yourself rooting for. 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