The Steely Dan File
The Steely Dan 45’s
Volume 1 1972
with their debut album ‘Can’t Buy A Thrill‘- a US Top 20 hit. They also released 2 45’s in 1972, the long forgotten ‘Dallas’ and the huge hit ‘Do It Again’.
Unlike most other bands starting out back then Steely Dan had no real track record before they issued their records. Although the members of the band had a lot of concert experience Steely Dan as a musical entity didn’t really exist until their first concert in September of 1972. Heavy radio airplay and positive press reviews would be the cornerstone of Steely Dan’s early success as their public appearance would be infrequent and erratic.
Six months before their first live performance Steely Dan was unceremoniously announced to the world with a one-off 45 entitled ‘Dallas’ on ABC Records. This track was recorded soon after songwriters Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were signed by ABC Records in late 1971 and featured Jimmy Hodder on lead vocals and Jeff Baxter on pedal steel guitar. Very few copies of this record were ever pressed and many that have survived are what are known as”white label” promotional copies.
In 1977 the ABC affiliated label Anchor Records in the UK issued ‘Dallas’ along with its’ flip side ‘Sail The Waterway’ on a 12′ 45 EP, allowing many ‘Dan fans to hear this version of the song for the first time. Famed folk-rock band Poco had themselves recorded ‘Dallas’ in 1975 on their ABC Records debut ‘Head Over Heels’- but it is unclear why ABC Records in the US relegated this track to such a forgotten existence. To this day ‘Dallas’ has never
been included on any US Steely Dan compilation on LP or CD. But thanks to You Tube you can listen to it anytime now.
While you quite possibly have not heard ‘Dallas’ you have definitely heard Steely Dan’s first official single ‘Do It Again’, aka, “Go Back Jack and Do It Again.” Issued by ABC Records in November 1972 in the US and around the world soon after on Probe Records, ‘Do It Again’ was a massive hit in early 1973 that has had subsequent new lives over the years. Forty-two years on it remains a staple of classic rock radio.
Clocking in at six minutes on the LP, ‘Do It Again’ was shrewdly edited when issued on a 45 with about 1:30 cut from it. For some reason the 4:35 edit was always listed as 3:57 when issued on ABC Records misleading many an AM DJ. There does exist an odd 5:30 version of ‘Do It Again’ that seems to have been issued on one of the quadrophonic versions of ‘Can’t Buy A Thrill’ and to further complicate matters there is alleged to be a 7:00 minute mix, also on one of the quadrophonic versions released in 1974.
Regardless of which version you’ve heard ‘Do It Again’ quickly put Steely Dan on the map and established them as a serious rock band. Unknowns at the start of 1972….rock stars with a cool hit single as the year closed….those were the days of early ’70’s rock.