June 8, 2020 – Day 84 of my quarantine
Donald Jay Fagen (born January 10, 1948) is an American musician best known as the co-founder, lead singer, co-songwriter, and keyboardist of the band Steely Dan, formed in the early 1970s. He has also released four albums as a solo artist and in 2001 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The 2017 death of Steely Dan’s co-founder Walter Becker left Fagen as the only remaining original member.
I have long loved this man’s music because it is so many things – quirky, subversive, eclectic, hip, melodic, observant, aware, tuneful, toe-tapping, thought-provoking, intelligent, clever, insightful, narrative, sometimes dark and humorous, understated lyrical commentaries about life on our planet and just always a joy to listen to – a chillaxing party in every tune. And chillaxing is how this artist rolls … LOL
From my library
Donald Fagen met Walter Becker in a coffee house at Bard College in 1967. They began to form Steely Dan in the summer of 1970 after a Village Voice ad for a bassist and keyboard player with jazz chops was placed by guitarist Denny Dias, which was answered by Fagen and Becker. Dias was immediately impressed by the pair’s abilities, and particularly by the fact that they already had a whole stack of original material. The group’s first lineup was assembled in December 1971 in Los Angeles, where Becker and Fagen had relocated to work as staff songwriters for ABC/Dunhill. Becker and Fagen formed the core of the band and wrote all the songs, with Becker on bass, and later lead guitar, and Fagen on keyboards and vocals.
After the release of their third LP in 1974, the other members left or were fired from the band, which evolved into a studio project headed by Becker and Fagen. Steely Dan’s best-selling album was 1977’s Aja, which was certified platinum. Three years later, they released Gaucho. Their next album wasn’t until 1995 when they released the live album Alive in America. It was followed by the multiple Grammy Award-winning Two Against Nature in 2000, and Steely Dan’s most recent album Everything Must Go in 2003. A concert DVD, Two Against Nature, included material from much of the band’s history.
After Becker’s death in 2017, Fagen wished to retire the Steely Dan name out of respect for his bandmate and tour under a different name, but promoters advised him against it for commercial reasons. As of 2020, Fagen continues to tour as Steely Dan.
Sending you all my Love and Light. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Stay Sane. Stay Strong out there.
Until next time …