TIMELINE – STEELY DAN

Steely Dan, made up of core members Donald Fagen (keyboards) and Walter Becker (guitar & bass) and a revolving door of side musicians, have been creating a wealthy fusion of Rock, Pop and Jazz for quite a while now.  We’ll take a look-see at some of their history, accomplishments and anecdotes along the way… oh, and we’ll take a peek at some delicious Videos from Live Performances as we walk through the TIMELINE for STEELY DAN.

  •  1967 –  Donald Fagan and Walter Becker meet at Bard College in New York and soon after      started writing songs together.  Fagen very much embraced the Beatnik culture.
  • They  played around in local bands  including the Leather Canary  with future comedian, Chevy Chase on drums.
  • 1971 – Fagen & Becker work on the soundtrack to the low budget Richard Pryor film, You’ve Got To Walk It Like You Talk It      or You’ll Lose That Beat.
  • 1971 – Barbara Streisand records Donald & Walter’s song, “I  Mean To Shine.”
  • Gary Katz hires Donald & Walter to be staff songwriters for ABC Records
  • After  concluding their songs were too complicated for other singers, Katz  suggested they form their own band.
  • As  fans of Beat Literature, they named the group Steely Dan, the  name of the sex toy in the William S. Burroughs novel, Naked Lunch.
  • David Palmer, a second lead      singer, was added to the group because Fagen wasn’t comfortable with his singing voice and the record label wasn’t confident he was a strong  enough lead vocalist.
  • 1972 – Can’t Buy A Thrill album is      released with HIT songs, “Do      It Again” and “Reelin’ In The Years.”  Both songs were led by Donald Fagen.
  • 1974 – Steely Dan adds Jeff Porcaro (Toto) on drums and Michael McDonald (Doobie Bros.) on      keyboard and vocals.  Session  musicians are constantly coming and going in the band.  The album, Pretzel Logic is released with “Rikki Don’t Lose That  Number” reaching #4 on the Billboard charts.  “Rikki” was built on the prominent piano riff directly  lifted from Horace Silver’s, “Song For My Father.”
  • 1974 – Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (Doobie      Bros.) quits Steely Dan once he  learned that Fagen & Becker were      planning to quit touring and  become a studio band  exclusively.
  • 1977 –  Aja was an undeniable mix of Jazz & Rock with  top-of-the-line Jazz session  players like Larry Carlton, Wayne Shorter, Lee Ritenour, Steve Gadd, Chuck  Rainey, Tom Scott and Bernard Purdie.  The album was one of America’s first Platinum LP’s, selling over a million copies.
  • 1981 – Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, ever the non-conformists, broke up their songwriting and recording partnership and, for a while, just walked away from the music business.
  • 1993 – Becker produced Fagen’s 2nd solo album,  Kamakiriad, and the following  year they reunited as Steely Dan and began recording and touring again.


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