* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: Their cover of Duke Ellington's "East St. Louis Toodle-oo", both in terms of its parent album (1974's ''Pretzel Logic'') and the Dan's career as a whole.
** "Dirty Work" is a very [[Music/TheBeatles Beatlesque]] pop tune amid the jazz-rock songs on ''Can't Buy A Thrill'', and is even among the few Steely Dan songs ''not'' sung by Fagen (David Palmer sings it. In live shows they have their backing singers do the vocal).
* CriticalDissonance: ''The Royal Scam'' is especially loved by fans, but its often rated by professional music critics as among their lesser albums.
* [[SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming]]: Not many due to their largely cynical worldview, but this little gem from "Deacon Blues" counts:
--> This is the night of the expanding man
--> I take one last drag as I aproach the stand
--> I cried when I wrote this song
--> sue me if I play too long
--> This brother is free
--> I'll be what I want to be
* [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic Crowning Music of Awesome]]: Many of their songs, but their album ''Aja'' is often considered the zenith.
** "Bodhisattva. So simple, yet oh so badass.
** Despite its troubled production, ''Gaucho'' contains some of the band's best music, such as "Third World Man" and the title track.
* EpicRiff: "Reelin' In The Years", "Hey Nineteen", and a non-guitar example, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number".
** The opening "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" riff is lifted directly from the Horace Silver Quintet's "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY5Inn-WXdY Song for My Father]]." Well, they ''are'' a jazz fusion duo, after all...
** "Black Friday" is also a good example, with the riff being played by a combination of two electric pianos and a guitar.
** "Aja" has several, most notably the two-chord riff that begins the instrumental break.
* FaceOfTheBand: Started with a full band, but ended up being whittled down to just Fagen and Becker with a bunch of studio musicians.
** Subverted, in that they simultaneously retired from public performance, so they essentially became a faceless band.
** Fagen and Becker being the Faces of the Band was not their intention to start with. The duo felt more at home as songwriters and instrumentalists. Fagen volunteered to be the band's lead singer for ''Can't Buy A Thrill'', but was not prepared to combat his crippling stage fright to sing in front of an audience. This is how David Palmer became the band's "lead singer" (even though he only sings two and a half songs on ''Can't Buy A Thrill'') and it was planned that he would draw attention away from Fagen and Becker and become the de facto Face of the Band. By 1973, Fagen and Becker had decided that performing live simply wasn't for them and decided to phase out the other members of the band, starting with Palmer (who sang the songs live in a completely different key than Fagen did on the album), who is almost completely absent from ''Countdown to Ecstasy'' (relegated to backing vocals and removed the from official band lineup listing in the liner notes, appearing instead in [[DemotedToExtra a list of backing vocalists]]) and gone completely by ''Pretzel Logic''.
* FoeYay: hinted at, at the end of "My Rival"
* GeniusBonus: There's at least one website dedicated to explaining some of the obscure references in their songs.
** Some of the band's references may be so oblique or obscure, that they might often be mistaken as a LyricalShoehorn. An example is the chorus for "Deacon Blues". The lyrics, in general, are very dark and melancholy, until it gets to:
--> ''They call Alabama the Crimson Tide''
--> ''Call me Deacon Blues!''
** To some, that just seems like a LyricalShoehorn, but the part of the chorus just beforehand is "they got a name for the winners in the world/I want a name when I lose". The University of Alabama is chosen as an example of a "winner" and were well known as a dominant force in college football under legendary coach Bear Bryant. The "Deacon Blues" part? It refers to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, a college football team that were particularly lousy during the seventies.
* GrowingTheBeard: Many fans agree, ''The Royal Scam'' was when they grew the beard. ''Pretzel Logic'' is also popular.
* IAmNotShazam: No, there is no guy named Steely Dan.
* LastNoteNightmare: "Josie"
* MisattributedSong: No, they did ''not'' do "Still The One". That was Orleans.
** The Hall of Fame writings from their website include a fictional letter in which a woman pleads for their induction so that she can meet them, and find out which one is her father. Her belief is based on a dream in which she is sitting in their lap, [[SelfDeprecatingHumor while they sing]] "[[{{Eagles}} Tequila Sunrise]]".
** Also mocked by the guys in [[http://www.steelydan.com/bbc.html this chat]]:
-->''Which song is the quintessential Steely Dan song?''
-->"Ride Captain Ride"[[note]]Actually by Blues Image[[/note]] or "Year of The Cat"[[note]]Al Stewart[[/note]]
* SampledUp: The "you know they don't give a fuck about anybody else" line from "Show Biz Kids" is used as the refrain for "The Man Don't Give A Fuck", a 1996 single by Welsh psychedelic band Super Furry Animals. This sample is repeated ''fifty times'' in the five minute song.
** The opening riff from "Black Cow" is sampled for "Deja Vu(Uptown Baby" by Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz.
*** Fagen himself jokingly referenced it in a VH1 special detailing the making of ''Aja''.
** "Peg"'s guitar riff and a part of the lyrics is sampled in Music/DeLaSoul's "Eye Know".
** The song "Champion" by KanyeWest extensively samples Kid Charlemagne. Interesting, they initially denied his request to use the sample, but after he [[http://www.fuse.tv/2012/10/kanye-west-wrote-handwritten-letter-to-steely-dan-for-sample-clearance wrote them an emotional letter]] explaining how important the song was to him, they obliged.
* TearJerker: A number of songs, including "Charlie Freak", "Doctor Wu", "Any World That I'm Welcome To", and "Third World Man".
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