“Steely Dan, I really like him.” Such is the answer many people give when you tell them who performed top 20 hits like “Do It Again,” “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” “Aja,” and “Hey Nineteen.” But Steely Dan is not a “him” it’s a “them” as in Donald Fagen and Walter Becker who will bring their band, Steely Dan, on its Jamelot Ever After tour to Phoenix on Tuesday night, July 15, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. at the Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix.
Having met in college, Fagen and Becker got their break in 1971 when they were hired as staff writers for ABC Records. Although they didn’t have much luck churning out popular songs for the artists on ABC Records, they did manage to pen a few tunes they would use for themselves. The two songwriters, along with some local musicians, dubbed themselves Steely Dan and released the album, “Can’t Buy A Thrill” in 1972.
The band’s name may have raised a few eyebrows, the moniker comes from the name of a strap-on dildo mentioned in the William S. Burroughs novel “Naked Lunch.” But the success of such singles as “Do It Again,” and “Reelin’ In the Years,” helped propel “Can’t Buy A Thrill,” to number 17 on the U.S. Billboard Album charts.
For the next eight years, Steely Dan would release six more studio albums, which contained numerous singles that still dominate classic rock radio today. “My Old School,” Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” “Peg,” “Deacon Blues,” “FM (No Static At All)” and “Hey Nineteen,” are just a handful of the songs Steely Dan recorded during the 1970’s.
With Fagen and Becker as the creative force behind Steely Dan, it was not uncommon to see the musicians that supported them change over the years. Alumni from Steely Dan include Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Michael McDonald of The Doobie Brothers, David Paich and Jeff Porcaro of Toto, Timothy B. Schmidt of the Eagles and multi Grammy award winning producer Michael Omartian.
After a decade long hiatus from working together and a few more years of working on each other’s solo albums, Fagen and Becker released Steely Dan’s 2000 album, “Two Against Nature.” Despite not having released a Steely Dan studio album in 20 years, “Two Against Nature,” ended up being honored with four Grammy Awards including “Album of the Year.”
In 2001 Steely Dan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Since then, both Becker and Fagen have released solo albums plus Steely Dan’s latest studio album, 2003’s “Everything Must Go.”
Steely Dan’s Jamelot Ever After tour boasts a band with Becker and Fagen and eight other musicians and three back-up singers. Concert goers can expect a cavalcade of Steely Dan hits.
Although this show is almost sold out, a few tickets for Steely Dan still remain and are available through Live Nation. Ticket prices start at $48 and go to $128 plus fees.