Personalities | Steely Dan | Seventies | Rock

(Vocal group, 1972–81, 1993–present)

This critically acclaimed New York outfit was formed around the nucleus of songwriters of Walter Becker (bass, vocals) and Donald Fagen (keyboards, vocals). Drummer Jim Hodder and guitarists Denny Dias and Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter completed the line-up along with vocalist David Palmer, recruited because Fagen was not sufficiently confident in his own singing. Their debut Can’t Buy A Thrill (1972) contained radio staples ‘Reeling In The Years’ and ‘Do It Again’ and displayed the band’s diverse influences from jazz to pop, rock’n’roll to funk.

Palmer left before the less impressive follow-up Countdown To Ecstasy (1973) but the Dan were back on peak form on 1974’s Pretzel Logic, at which point Fagen and Becker started to rely increasingly on session musicians, whose ranks included keyboardist/singer Michael McDonald. After an extended hiatus following 1980’s Gaucho, Steely Dan reformed in 1993 and, surprisingly, have returned to the live arena.

Styles & Forms | Seventies | Rock
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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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