Steely Dan is a highly acclaimed and influential jazz-infused soft rock/pop band with a signature sophisticated sound underscored by often dark, enigmatic lyrics. Formed in 1972 by Walter Becker (February 20, 1950 - September 3, 2017) and lead singer Donald Fagen, who both served as the band's main songwriters, other original members included Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (guitar, backing vocals), Denny Dias (guitar), David Palmer (backing and lead vocals), and drummer Jim Hodder (December 17, 1947 - June 5, 1990), who also provided backing and lead vocals. Royce Jones (backing and lead vocals) joined Steely Dan in 1973, and Michael McDonald (keyboards, backing vocals), later of The Doobie Brothers, and drummer Jeff Porcaro (April 1, 1954 - August 5, 1992) both came on board in 1974. Steely Dan has also made use of a number of different session and jazz musicians, and actor/comedian Chevy Chase served for a time as a drummer during the band's early years.
Steely Dan debuted on the Pop/Rock charts in 1972 with the funky "Do It Again," a Top 10 hit with an electric sitar solo by Denny Dias. This smash was followed soon after by the rollicking "Reeling In The Years" (1973), a Top 20 rocker featuring virtuosic guitar work by famed session musician, Elliott Randall. The band's biggest hit came in 1974 with "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," a melodic soft rocker with a samba-like rhythm about a woman Fagen had an unrequited crush on in college. Steely Dan's long string of hits, which continued through 1981, also included "Show Biz Kids" (1973), "Black Friday" (1975), "Peg" (1977), "Deacon Blues" (1978), "FM (No Static At All)" (1978), "Josie" (1978), "Hey Nineteen" (1980), and "Time Out Of Mind" (1981). Steely Dan later had a Top 40 hit on the Adult Contemporary charts in 2000 with "Cousin Dupree."
After disbanding in 1981, Steely Dan reunited in 1993 and has since then toured and recorded actively to the present. The band has had a devoted following over the years and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. Steely Dan's numerous honors and accolades include three Grammys and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001.
- For more info on the history of Steely Dan and the band's current projects, visit steelydanofficial.com.
- The New York Times remembers Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker.
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- Black Friday 1975
- Do It Again 1972
(This song later also became a hit for Club House (1983, as a medley).)
- Reeling In The Years 1973
- Rikki Don't Lose That Number 1974
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