Sep 17

The Dan

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Walter Becker of Steely Dan died the week before last, and so I spent last week listening to each of their seven LPs, one a day. “The rim of salt around the cocktail of my taste”, I called them on Facebook: this last week I’ve been amazed all over again by how much I enjoy them and by how divisive they are (particularly among US listeners, where they seem to be a real line in the sand, even though most of my own connections there are strongly pro-Dan).

This is a playlist I made, three tracks from each of their albums. Not necessarily my all time favourites, just the songs that stood out to me most this time through the catalogue. RIP, Walter Becker.


  1. 1
    lonepilgrim on 14 Sep 2017 #

    I first became aware of them around the release of The Royal Scam when Becker and Fagen were interviewed in the NME and were witty, waspish and hip. IIRC correctly the interviewer tried to compare them to 10cc (who enjoyed critical respect with the NME at that point) due to their use of cryptic/intelligent lyrics and B & F were adamant that they were not alike. The music, when I heard it, was alluring and the lyrics engagingly ambiguous. After all these years I’m still not entirely sure what the lyrics to ‘My Gold Teeth’ (my favourite song) are about and I love the song all the more for that. At their worst they could just embrace a sneering tone (which is why I don’t care for ‘Everyone’s gone to the movies’) but at their best they manage to include a surprising amount of compassion for the losers and chancers that they describe. If you’ve not heard it I’d recommend ‘Here at the Western World’ which is an outtake from around the Katy Lied/Royal Scam era which features a cast of beach bums and hipsters with a narrative that hints at the allure and cost of addiction.

  2. 2
    Armando on 16 Oct 2017 #

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