The Steely Dan File
The Steely Dan 45’s
Volume 4 1974-5 Rikki doesn’t lose….but their Logic leads to a Black Friday
By 1974 Steely Dan were rightfully respected as one of the
more talented of the 1970’s rock bands. Despite having no real visual image, except long hair, torn jeans, and smoke, The ‘Dan, as they were now called by hip-dj’s, continued on in the mid-70s placing songs in the US and Uk Top 40 and releasing well received and moderately selling albums.
“Rikki Don’t Lose That Number’ became a turning point in the bands’ history. Issued in the spring of 1974 following two previous non-hit singles (My Old School and Show Biz Kids), ‘Rikki’ would turn out to have a positive and negative effect on the band. On the positive side it was a huge selling hit, climbing to #4 in Billboard, paving the way for the band to plow through their 3rd US tour and 1st tour of the UK and Europe.
The bad side was that the song was way overplayed on the radio and would usually be sited by Steely Dan critics as they reason they “hated that band”. For loyal fans ‘Rikki’ was simply a continuation of the Steely saga of uncertainty and unrequeted love, draped against a backdrop of Horace Silver chords. To people who hated Steely Dan already it was the final nail in the coffin…it just rubbed them the wrong way.
And despite appearing as a bunch of closenit hippies in their interviews Steely Dan the band was fraying at the edges. Finally in August, a month after their final US concert in Sant
a Monica, Fagen and Becker announced the end of the original ‘Dan by kicking out drummer Jimmy Hodder and guitarist Jeff Baxter.
In September life went on and ABC Records issued a new single in the title track to the band Top 10 album ‘Pretzel Logic’. ‘Logic’ wasn’t working in Steely Dan’s favour at this point and the song struggled only to #57.
Fagen and Becker didn’t seem to care and had already settled into the recording studios to work on new songs like ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Bad Sneakers’ both of which would be issued as 45’s in 1975 to limited success.
Essentially refusing to tour at this point the new Steely
Dan was in unchartered territory. How can a rock band survive without playing concerts or giving interviews or even leaving their small Malibu beach house??? Fagen and Becker had done the impossible they had bucked the system, broke up their band and told the man at the record company to eff off…….would they survive??? Could they??? Or maybe they were about to pull off a royal scam???? heheh
(to be continued)