Once heard, Steely Dan has been one of those bands which demand ‘loyalty’. The strength of the song writing partnership of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen and the supreme musicianship of their bands has ensured that their “string of pristine, sophisticated albums with ‘calculated and literary lyrics’ that blurred the lines of jazz, pop, rock and soul” will endure as long as recorded music is listened to.
Walter Becker died yesterday from an undisclosed illness aged 67.
Read Rickie Lee Jones’ poignant tribute.
There are only eight Steely Dan studio albums, but such is their originality that many musicians cover the songs. There’s even a Facebook page called Steely Dan Covers.
The following tracks are from tribute albums and are listed in the order of release of the original albums, noted in brackets.
1972. The Royal Dan w. Mike Stern – Dirty Work (Can’t Buy a Thrill)
1973. The Brian Setzer Orchestra – Bodhisattva (Countdown to Ecstasy)
1974. Bob McAlpine – Rikki Don’t Lose That Number (Pretzel Logic)
1975. Sara Isaksson & Rebecka Törnqvist – Rose Darling (Katy Lied)
1976. The Woody Herman Band – Kid Charlemagne (The Royal Scam)
1977. Hoops McCann Band – Deacon Blues (Aja)
1980. Sara Isaksson & Rebecka Törnqvist – Gaucho (Gaucho)
fr. 2000. Steely Dan – Cousin Dupree (Two Against Nature)
If you don’t know the music of Steely Dan, then you are seriously losing out on some of the most meticulously recorded classy music of the past 40+ years.
The songs of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker on their six album stretch from Can’t Buy Me A Thrill in 1972 until Gaucho in 1980 have resonated for the past 40+ years. Two further albums, Two Against Nature in 2000, with accompanying DVD, and Everything Must Go in 2003, plus ten compilations, two live albums, and at least five ‘tribute’ albums have cemented their place in popular music history.
They are still touring, and in June will have Steve Winwood as their opening act … but, alas alack, they will not be coming to Indonesia.
It was inevitable that their songs would be covered by a range of singers, groups and bands. In selecting tracks for my compilation, listened to a few jazz big band albums of Dan covers, but in general they’re band=bland, so there is only one selection (#06). I think my choices all have the virtue of not sounding like clones of the originals, yet retaining their spirit …, and in a variety of genres.
…even hard rock …
1. The first unreleased track is to whet your appetites.
2. The Diana Ross track was written by Donald Fagen, but not recorded by Steely Dan.
01. Steely Dan – Cash Only Island
02. Ian Matthews – Dirty Work
03. Bob McAlpine – Deacon Blues
04. Waylon Jennings – Do it Again
05. Ben Folds Five – Barrytown
06. The Royal Dan – Aja
07. Diana Ross – Love Will Make It Right
08. Boz Scaggs – Pearl Of The Quarter
09. Sara Isaksson & Rebecka Törnqvist – Gaucho
10. Rickie Lee Jones – Show Biz Kids
11. Zen Blues Quartet – Reelin’ in the Years
12. Pointer Sisters – Dirty Work