Steely Dan – Biography, Songs, Albums, Discography & Facts

Steely Dan - Biography, Songs, Albums, Discography & Facts
Becker & Fagen of Steely Dan at Pori Jazz 2007. Image source: Kotivalo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Steely Dan Biography

Steely Dan is a New York-based American rock band created in 1971 by Walter Becker (guitars, bass, backing vocals) and Donald Fagen (keyboards, lead vocals). The band had a consistent roster at first, but in 1974, Becker and Fagen retired from live performances to become a studio-only band, recording with a rotating cast of session players. The Rolling Stone described them as “the quintessential musical antiheroes for the 1970s.” Becker and Fagen played in a number of bands during their time at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. They then relocated to Los Angeles, formed a band, and began making CDs.

Can’t Buy a Thrill (1972), their first album, created a framework for their career, fusing elements of rock, jazz, Latin music, R&B, blues, and sophisticated studio production with cryptic and satirical lyrics. Then,Pretzel Logic was debuted in early 1974. It’s a broad compilation that includes the group’s most successful tune, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as a note-for-note performance of Duke Ellington and James “Bubber” Miley’s “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo.”

The band achieved critical and economic success with seven studio albums, peaked with their best-selling record Aja in 1977. Becker and Fagen worked on individual projects irregularly after the trio dissolved in 1981, however a cult following remained loyal to the group’s output. Steely Dan has released two albums of new material since reuniting in 1993, the first of which, Two Against Nature, garnered a Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

Steely Dan released their first studio album in 20 years, Two Against Nature, in 2000. It received four Grammy Awards, including Best Engineered Album – Non-Classical, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal (“Cousin Dupree”), and Album of the Year (despite competition from Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP and Radiohead‘s Kid A in this category). Their latest studio album, Everything Must Go, was released in 2003, but the band has continued to release compilations, box sets, and live albums on a regular basis.

Becker died on September 3, 2017 from esophageal cancer complications. Fagen mourned his longtime friend and bandmate in a message issued to the media, promising to “keep the music we made together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band.” Steely Dan honoured agreements to play a short North American tour in October 2017 and three concert dates in the United Kingdom and Ireland for Bluesfest on a double bill with the Doobie Brothers following Becker’s death. The band’s first show after Becker’s death was on October 13 in Thackerville, Oklahoma. In respect to Becker, they performed his solo song “Book of Liars,” with Fagen delivering lead vocals, at numerous concerts on the tour.

In March 2001, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after selling over 40 million albums worldwide. Steely Dan was voted No. 82 on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Musical Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone placed them 15th among the 20 best duos of all time.

Steely Dan Discography

Everything Must GoSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Two Against NatureSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
The Royal ScamSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Katy LiedSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Pretzel LogicSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Countdown to EcstasySpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Can’t Buy a ThrillSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon

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Frequently Asked Questions

Steely Dan?

Steely Dan is an American rock band founded by core members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen in 1972.

What Is Steely Dan’S Most Famous Song?

The group’s best-known song is “Do It Again”, which was a top ten hit in 1972. The song has been covered by a number of artists, including Willie Nelson and Diana Krall. Other well-known Steely Dan songs include “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”, “Peg”, and “Reelin’ in the Years”.

What Was Steely Dan’S First Big Hit?

“Do It Again” was Steely Dan’s first big hit, reaching number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1972. The song was written by band members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen and originally appeared on the group’s debut album, Can’t Buy a Thrill. “Do It Again” has been described as a “perfect pop song” and has been covered by numerous artists over the years.

What Is Steely Dan’S Best Selling Album?

Aja is Steely Dan’s best selling album. It was released in 1977 and reached number 3 on the Billboard 200. The album has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

When Was Steely Dan Most Popular?

The group was most popular in the 1970s, with hits like “Do It Again” and “Reelin’ in the Years.” They continue to tour and release new music today.

Most Searched For Steely Dan Songs

Do It AgainSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Rikki Don’t Lose That NumberSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Reelin’ In The YearsSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Dirty WorkSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Deacon BluesSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Only A Fool Would Say ThatSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Hey NineteenSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Any Major Dude Will Tell YouSpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon
Brooklyn (Owes The Charmer Under Me)SpotifyAppleYouTubeAmazon