Walter Becker, co-founder of the legendary band Steely Dan, died Sunday September 3, 2017.
Anyone who has read this site for more than five minutes knows how respected the Dan is around here.
His bandmate and collaborator Donald Fagen wrote a tribute, posted on Rolling Stone’s website. Read it here, or listen with brief commentary.
One awaits the inevitable “Steely Dead” tour.
– Night Sky Radio, “Reaching The Music Singularity“
“Better keep it real –
– Steely Dan, “Pixeleen”
Steely Dan quit touring in 1974, saying they hated it. In 1993, they starting touring again, and now Donald Fagen is announcing a new tour at the age of 69. So, if they don’t like touring, why go back to Annandale, as it were? The Don tells the Wall Street Journal (behind a paywall, unfortunately) –
When the bottom fell out of the record business a bunch of years ago, it deprived me of the luxury of earning a living from records. I don’t sell enough albums to cover the cost of recording them the way I like to. For me, touring is the only way to make a living.
Turns out The Dan is not the only band touring to make some cash. Guns ‘n’ Roses is hitting the circuit to make some pay as well. The fact that the band hasn’t released a new album since 2008 is no obstacle. Proving that a band does not need to be creating new stuff to make money.
Or even alive. Ronnie James Dio is going on tour despite being currently dead. A hologram of Dio will perform with a live band.
No word on whether Jem will be the opening act.
One awaits the inevitable “Steely Dead” tour.
Have some music to rock out the old year and ring in the new!
See you in 2017!
It’s that time of year again…. load up your machine guns and storm the stores for those Black Friday sales!
Stores should be required to play nothing but Steely Dan songs today. Maybe it would chill some of the more… frenetic… shoppers out. Well, at least until they got to “Don’t Take Me Alive!
Some Steely Dan for your shopper-survivalist weekend –
This one’s heavy on video, yo. But it’s smooth.
In 1978, the Doobie Brothers released their album Minute By Minute, containing the song “What A Fool Believes”….
…and, of course, it became a hit. So smooth.
Comare and contrast with Robbie Dupree’s 1980 single titled “Steal Away”…
…which seems to be exactly what happened here. Very suspiciously similar.
According to this site, Dupree’s song also was, uh, inspired by Eddie Money’s 1977 song “Baby Hold On.” I can kind of hear it.
Doobie Bro Michael McDonald had this happen with another song, 1982’s “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)” –
The song was sampled in 1994 by Warren G and Nate Dogg in “Regulate” [mildly NSFW]-
A completely and totally 100% absolutely true and smooth account of how this came about was related on the internet series Yacht Rock [also a bit NSFW]. And “Hollywood Steve,” the host of the show, is a real life music critic.
However, “I Keep Forgettin'” itself is heavily inspired by Chuck Jackson’s 1963 song titled, amazingly, “I Keep Forgettin'” –
McDonald’s version is sometimes listed as a cover of Jackson’s song, but there are differences. Although sharing credit with the writers of Jackson’s song, McDonald does get a songwriting credit on his version.
Michael’s old friends in Steely Dan had their own run-in with this sort of thing. From 1977, their song “Black Cow” –
…which got sampled in 1997 by Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz for their single “Uptown Baby” [you know it’s NSFW]-
The opening of the song features another sample, Amores Como El Nuestro by Jerry Rivera.
Turns out The Dan weren’t happy with Tariq and Gunz sampling the song and causing Walter and Donald some difficulties. Peter Gunz discusses it here (a little NSFW language in there).
Not long after that, Tatyana Ali released her 1998 single “Daydreamin'” (lots of apostrophes in music, apparently), where Tariq and Gunz sampled themselves sampling “Black Cow” in some kind of recursive loop and rapped on it –
“I heard Steely Dan “Black Cow” and went wild!”
Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen completes and reverses the Mobius Circuit by sampling “Uptown Baby” over “Black Cow” –
Time to put the needle on the record. No sucker Djs, just two turntables and a microphone on the avenue by Radio City with a transistor.
Wdydfae commented on the last post about his memories of radio –
My inchoate fragments of radio memories don’t coalesce into a particular story. Radio wasn’t a big part of my childhood, as far as I can remember, unless I was riding in someone’s car and it happened to be playing.
…Then it moves into adulthood, and radio was in another country and language. Basically, lousy radio selection–just not a radio culture. Then I realized the radio riches I had left behind, with at least a channel for just about any genre you could want. So, belatedly I appreciated that the radio world of the States is vibrant–lot of stuff out there, and a whole way of talking, presenting yourself, presenting sound, pacing things.
Read the full comment here.
Kicking off with Steely Dan’s classic”FM” in spectacular style…. From the YouTube channel of the Empire State Building, followed by a big block of tunes to crank up to 11 –
“On October 29, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the installation of a Master FM Antenna on the top of the Empire State Building, the global landmark synchronized its world-famous tower lights to Steely Dan’s 1978 smash ‘FM (No Static At All).'”
Bonus points if you saw a young Geordi La Forge or maybe Tom & Jerry in there.
Hope you enjoyed the music.
They say nothing changes on New Year’s Day. But this past year has me reeling. Remember when Bill Cosby was the family man and America’s Dad, and Steely Dan were the shady freaks singing about Bad Things instead of grocery store Muzak?
Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your Black Friday! Try not to get killed by crazed shoppers.
Bonus: A full set of The Dan in Cincinnati from 2008 –
I just found this and haven’t had time to watch much but it sounds good so far.
Bonus Studio on what seems to be turning into J-Pop night. Sort of.
From The Weekly Constitutional –
If you are anything like me, you have more than once found yourself sitting alone in your room listening to Steely Dan cover bands while lamenting:
“If only a group of chinamen would form a group devoted to doing spot on covers (except for the accent) of the Steely Dan classics…”
Well friends, your wait is over… Coming at you from Japan, here’s Steely Shodan…
Rather surreal hearing him sing “the shine in your Japan, the sparkle in your China.”
Here’s their version of “Kid Charlemagne” –
Donald Fagen of Steely Dan hears them for the first time –
And here’s some balls-out awesome –
No flies on them.
The band is a near perfect replica with a slight Japanese twist, and the singer looks like a streets-of-Chiba pimp or one of the gangsters in Black Rain, making him perfect for the, uh, less than cheery lyrics that Walt and Don are notorious for. It’s like Steely Dan crossed with Blade Runner.