Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Steely Dan Songs

In commemoration of the death this past weekend of Steely Dan’s Walter Becker, here is a reprise of a 2014 post involving my five favorite Steely Dan songs.

Interestingly, my original post drew a strong reaction from my mom — she’d never heard of Steely Dan but could not stop listening to the referenced tracks.

Of course, she was only double digits then.

Here they are — for Betty X. Davis and for many others — my five favorite songs from Steely Dan:


No one ever said Steely Dan was a normal band.

Two guys from New York.  Neither one a great singer.  A style that mixes jazz, pop, rock, and reggae.  Lyrics that are irreverent, elusive, and oh-so-70s.

When I saw them at Blockbuster Arena; Verizon Wireless Amphitheater; PNC Music Pavilion here in Charlotte in the 90s, they didn’t even do that which is in my opinion their best song (for that see below, #1).

Yet I still like them.  Maybe that’s because the Eagles liked them enough to include them in the Hotel California lyric:  “they stab it with their steely knives but they just can’t kill the beast … ”

Or maybe it’s because they’re clever, inventive, and completely unique.

Whatever the reason, here are my top five Steely Dan songs:

5.  Kid Charlemagne.  The title song from the one Steely Dan cassette tape I owned in 1977.  I think I even bought this one from the old RCA Music Club — six tapes for a penny!  Remember that direct marketing ploy?

4.  My Old School.  Guadalaraja won’t do, but why not?

3.  Hey Nineteen.  So inappropriate on so many levels.  Marijuana, tequila, seduction of a girl the singer hopes is 19.  But the harmonies are . . . intoxicating.

2.  Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.  This hypnotic piece is why a whole lot of people named “Ricky” think I’m odd.  (Because out of nowhere I’ll urge them not to lose that number.)

1. Reelin’ In The Years.  Great, great song driven by some superlative guitar work.  Which makes its no-show at that mid-90s concert all the more baffling.