[[caption-width-right:251:Walter Becker (l), Donald Fagen (r).]]

->''I'll learn to work the saxophone\\
I'll play just what I feel\\
Drink Scotch whiskey all night long\\
And die behind the wheel''
-->--"Deacon Blues"

Steely Dan is a jazz-rock duo (originally a full group) consisting of songwriters Donald Fagen (vocals, keyboards) and Walter Becker (guitar, bass). The band is named after a dildo in Creator/WilliamSBurroughs' ''Literature/NakedLunch''. ([[http://www.steelydan.com/schiller1.html There is an alternate story]] for where the name came from, [[TrollingCreator however considering their reputation]], and their site's content, it's a bit of a toss up as to which story is really true, and if you ask them, they'll probably just play along.)

The band is known for a string of hit singles released from 1972 to 1980. The duo split in 1981, and reunited in the early 1990's, with the band releasing their first album in 20 years, ''Two Against Nature'' in 2000. That album won them four UsefulNotes/{{Grammy Award}}s, including Album of the Year.

Becker died on September 3, 2017 of undisclosed causes at age 67, shortly after having an operation whose exact nature was also undisclosed. Fagan has said he will continue the band on his own.

!!Studio album discography:
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Can%27t_Buy_a_Thrill Can't Buy a Thrill]]'' (1972)
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countdown_to_Ecstasy Countdown to Ecstasy]]'' (1973)
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pretzel_Logic Pretzel Logic]]'' (1974)
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katy_Lied Katy Lied]]'' (1975)
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Royal_Scam The Royal Scam]]'' (1976)
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aja_(album) Aja]]'' (1977)
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaucho_(album) Gaucho]]'' (1980)
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Against_Nature Two Against Nature]]'' (2000)
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everything_Must_Go_(Steely_Dan_album) Everything Must Go]]'' (2003)

!!Their best-known songs (or at least those most often heard on the radio) include:
* "Do It Again"
* "Dirty Work"
* "Reelin' in the Years"
* "Bodhisattva"
* "Show Biz Kids"
* "My Old School"
* "Rikki Don't Lose That Number"
* "Black Friday"
* "Bad Sneakers"
* "Kid Charlemagne"
* "Deacon Blues"
* "Peg"
* "Josie"
* "FM (No Static at All)"
* "Babylon Sisters"
* "Hey Nineteen"

!!'''"You go back, Jack, and Trope it again"''':
* ActionGirl: The title character of ''Pixeleen'' seems to be a teenage girl who is involved in a fight with an assassin in the subway, complete with descriptions of the weapons she's carrying- while also having to deal with her father and boyfriend calling her in the middle of it. (However, it is also hinted that the whole song is just a video game.)
* AfterTheEnd: "King of the World" certainly sounds like it.
* AlbumTitleDrop: From "Doctor Wu":
-->"Katie lies\\
You can see it in her eyes\\
But imagine my surprise when I saw you"
* AlmaMaterSong: Subverted; "My Old School" is actually about a grudge against their alma mater, Bard College, for being complicit in the wrongful arrest of some fifty students, including Fagen and Becker, by sheriff's deputies during a raid of the college's dorms in 1969. Fagen was so angry with the school, he refused to attend graduation a few weeks later.
** The song claims that they won't go back to Annandale-On-Hudson -- the college town in Upstate New York where Bard College is located -- until "California tumbles into the sea". Fagen [[FunnyAneurysmMoment returned to Annandale in 1985]] to accept, of all things, an honorary degree (as well as speak at commencement). He went back there again in 2001 for an ''Entertainment Weekly'' [[http://www.ew.com/ew/report/0,6115,1174152_7_0_,00.html article about the song]]. Still, twice is more than most people return to their alma mater, even those who don't write sneering songs about how much they hate the school.
* AntiLoveSong: They wrote many of these. Among them: "Dirty Work", "Reelin' in the Years", "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "Hey Nineteen".
* ApocalypseHow: "King of the World" is Class 2 knocking on the door of Class 3, if the lyrics are any indication.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: Apparently, Buzz stole all his money, his girl, and isn't very funny.
* BigRottenApple: "The Royal Scam". Also the bizarre cover of the album of the same name, depicting a vagrant sleeping under skyscrapers (that at least suggest New York) that are morphing into the heads of vicious animals.
* BilingualBonus: Sort of. The outro of "Only a Fool Could Say That" includes one of the band saying the song title in Spanish.
* BitingTheHandHumor: their website, among many other hilarious writings, contains [[http://www.steelydan.com/hof.html a number of appeals making their case for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame]]. When they were finally voted in, they immediately opened a fake auction for the commemorative trophies awarded by a "self-styled 'official' musical honorary organization". Items offered in exchange ranged from cash offers to "somebody's gold teeth" and something simply described as "biological matter".
* BlindWithoutEm: Walter Becker wore glasses his entire life, and never wore contacts or had laser surgery. Since the 2000s, Fagen has needed them too and is frequently seen with prescription sunglasses. In fact, in the 70s, they frequently refused to be photographed without sunglasses.
* CaliforniaCollapse: "My Old School", though played with in the sense of "when pigs fly":
-->California tumbles into the sea
-->That'll be the day I go back to Annandale
* CallBack: Walter Becker's solo track "Down in the Bottom" includes the line "Down in the suburbs where it's hard to tell - if I got the bear or the bear got me". This is a reference to a Steely Dan outtake called "You Got the Bear" of which the chorus is "only time will tell, if you got the bear or the bear got you".
** Their second album has a song called "Your Gold Teeth" and their fourth has a song called "Your Gold Teeth II". The songs are unrelated musically, but each song's chorus contains the line "throw out your gold teeth, see how they roll" (or a variation thereof).
* CanonDiscontinuity: The two songs the band released before ''Can't Buy a Thrill'', "Dallas" and "Sail the Waterway". Aside from their original release as the two sides of their first single, they've been released on the Japanese compilation "Steely Dan" and the UK "Plus Fours" EP. But the band have never allowed them to be released on CD. Fagen and Becker are on record as calling the songs "stinko".
* ChocolateBaby: The "Who's that kinky so-and-so" conclusion of "Haitian Divorce".
* CoolOldGuy: Becker until his death, and Fagen now.
* CoolShades: Donald Fagen's eyewear of choice.
* DemotedToExtra: David Palmer, the band's "original" lead singer (he only sang on three tracks on the first album, as well as in concerts) was bumped down to one of several backing vocalists for ''Countdown to Ecstasy''. No surprise that he's gone by ''Pretzel Logic'', since the band had abandoned touring.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: ''Godwhacker'' is about a bounty hunter team who have been hired to KILL GOD HIMSELF! It's implied in the lyrics that they're called the "Godwhackers" because they've killed lesser gods before.
* DivorceInReno: The main theme of "Haitian Divorce", which tells us about a similar practice involving Haiti.
* DownerEnding: The title character of "Charlie Freak" pawns off his last possession, a gold ring, only to die from a drug overdose not long afterwards.
* DrunkDriver: "Deacon Blues" implies after drinking whiskey on dying behind the wheel.
* DrunkenSong: Several of their songs mention some kind of alcoholic beverage, and even those that don't often sound like they were written by a very morose drunk, or are about the results of a bender.
** "Haitian Divorce"'s plot involves the protagonist, Babs, getting drunk on a Zombie (a highly alcoholic cocktail) at a bar at a good hotel, then heads to a dive bar so she can get even more drunk on cheap alcohol. At this dive bar, she meets a man who is also drunk and they later have sex, resulting in her becoming pregnant, and forgetting about who the father was until the kid was actually born.
* EpicInstrumentalOpener: "Bodhisattva".
** "Babylon Sisters" as well.
** "Your Gold Teeth II" opens with a fairly lengthy and definitely distinctive synth solo, on top of a chord progression which has little to do with the rest of the song.
** "Reelin' in the Years" and "The Boston Rag" have these as well.
* EpicRocking: "Aja", "Deacon Blues", "Your Gold Teeth", and "West of Hollywood".
** They have never been ones to cut their songs short - roughly a quarter of their songs run 5 minutes or higher, surprisingly including some of their biggest radio hits ("Do It Again", "FM (No Static at All)", "Hey Nineteen") .
** Other 6-minute or longer songs include "The Royal Scam", "Glamour Profession", and "Jack of Speed".
* ForgottenTrope: [[DivorceInReno The Haitian divorce]] of, well, "Haitian Divorce". Until the liberalization of US divorce law, East Coast Americans trying to divorce their spouses without that spouse's consent would travel to Haiti to get divorced, since Haitian law had long permitted unilateral divorce. This was the most common alternative to Nevada divorce for people on the East Coast, since Haiti was closer than Nevada; one reason you see it less in fiction is that unlike Nevada divorce--whose laws and decisions on marriage and divorce, being those of an American state, must [[UsefulNotes/AmericanPoliticalSystem be given "full faith and credit"]] by other states--Haitian divorce in the US is governed by the less-expansive law of "comity". Thus many state courts--e.g. UsefulNotes/NewJersey--refused to recognize Haitian divorces until the state legislature adopted no-fault divorce as well. However, New York did recognize Haitian divorces (bizarrely, because it long had the most restrictive divorce laws in the nation--they didn't adopt no-fault until ''2010'').
* GetTheeToANunnery: "The Fez": Although it can be guessed from context, nobody calls a condom a "fez" anymore. This song, incidentally, has a good bit of ValuesDissonance, mostly due to the HIV/AIDS crisis.
* HeterosexualLifePartners
* IncrediblyLamePun: The covers to their albums ''Pretzel Logic'' (a pretzel cart) and ''Katy Lied'' (a katydid).
* KissingCousins: Played with in "Cousin Dupree", where the title character hits on his sexy cousin Janine and promptly receives a thorough dressing-down for being creepy and incestuous... ''which doesn't bother him at all.''
* LimitedLyricsSong: "The Fez" repeats these four lines three times, with only minor syntax variations in the first two lines each time:
--> No I'm never gonna do it without the fez on, oh no
--> Ain't never gonna do it without the fez on, oh no
--> That's what I am, please understand
--> I wanna be your holy man
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: The band is supposedly named after a dildo in Creator/WilliamSBurroughs' ''Literature/NakedLunch''.
* LyricalDissonance: Many of their songs sound very smooth and mellow, but the lyrics? Wow, are they dark.
** "{{Gaslighting}} Abbie" is about a man and his mistress plotting to do ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin to his wife.
** "Two Against Nature" is filled with seemingly {{Word Salad Lyrics}}, virtually all of them bearing some sort of reference to UsefulNotes/{{Voudoun}} religion. Erzulie is mentioned explicitly; Baron Samedi is alluded to:
--> ''Madame Erzulie she come last night\\
Bang you silly but leave a nasty bite\\
There on your nightstand much worse than that\\
Panatela and old black derby hat''
** "Turn That Heartbeat Over Again" is about a heist {{gone horribly wrong}}.
** "Throw Back the Little Ones" is about bending everything to one's own whim.
** "Everyone's Gone to the Movies", which is even more upbeat sounding, is about a creepy neighborhood guy inviting teenagers to his house to watch porno movies. It's hinted that Mr. [=LaPage=] is planning on filming the teens as well.
--> "I know you're used to 16 or more\\
Sorry, we only have 8"
** Not nearly as squicky but also notable is "Daddy Don't Live in That New York City No More", a very cheery and bouncy song about [[MoralityBallad all of the various amoral activities]] that Daddy will no longer be involved in, now that he's died. The nonchalant delivery suggests that the singer thinks the world might be better off without Daddy in it. It's been posited that "Daddy" is a mob boss that the narrator didn't want around anymore.
** Many of the songs from ''Gaucho'' allude to hard narcotics and the dark side of drug addiction, and the seedy characters who deal them or take them.
* MayDecemberRomance: "Hey Nineteen", although the relationship isn't particularly intimate.
* {{Malaproper}}: Averted. The album (and song) title ''Aja'' looks like a misspelling (and presumably slight mispronunciation) of "Asia", but is actually the name of the wife of one of their friends. She was Korean, but her name is not related to the continent at all.
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: "Josie".
* MinimalisticCoverArt: ''[[http://www.berklee.edu/sites/default/files/steely-dan_aja.jpg Aja]]''
* MoralityBallad: "Kid Charlemagne"
* NewSoundAlbum:
** ''Pretzel Logic'' sort of half qualifies, as they were in the process of ending the early "real band" phase of their career in favor of their later approach of putting together whatever studio musicians could best accompany them on each track. As a result you get material like "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "Barrytown", which seem like the same group that did the first two albums next to more experimental, esoteric stuff like the title track, "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" (both their only instrumental and only cover) and "With a Gun" (their only song based around an acoustic guitar part, which actually sounds downright ''folky'')
** ''Aja'' is much jazzier as a whole than their earlier albums, and abandons most of the pop-rock influences they had up to that point, to the point of having two tracks longer than seven minutes.
* NonAppearingTitle: "Pretzel Logic", "The Caves of Altamira"
* ObsessionSong: "Rikki Don't Lose That Number"
* OdeToIntoxication: "Black Cow"
** "Time Out of Mind" is a song entirely about heroin and various methods of consuming it.
** "Jack of Speed" is most certainly ''not'' discussing a guy moving at high velocity.
* OneWomanSong:"Aja", "Peg", "Josie" and "Rikki Don't Lose That Number"
* PrecisionFStrike: From the lyrics of "Show Biz Kids"
-->''Show biz kids, making movies of themselves\\
You know they don't give a fuck about anybody else''
* ProtestSong: "My Old School"
* RealSongThemeTune: There was a syndicated classic rock radio show in the 80s and 90s called ''Reelin' in the Years''. Guess what the theme song was.
* RefrainFromAssuming: The song is called "Peg", not "Your Favorite Foreign Movie".
* SanitySlippage: "Bad Sneakers":
-->"And I'm going insane\\
And I'm laughing at the frozen rain\\
And I'm so alone\\
Mama when they gonna send me home?"
* SexTourism: "Haitian Divorce", probably (it isn't the whole story, though).
* SheIsAllGrownUp: "Cousin Dupree"
* ShoutOut: "Turn up the Music/{{Eagles}}, the neighbors are listening" from "Everything You Did". They returned the favor by including the line "They stab it with their steely knives" in "Hotel California".
** "Cathy Berbarian knows there's one roulade she can't sing" from Your Gold Teeth. Cathy Berbarian is an avant-garde singer who was thrilled to be mentioned in song.
** From "FM":
-->"Nothing but {{Blues}} and [[Music/ElvisPresley Elvis]]"
** From "Hey Nineteen":
-->"Hey Nineteen! That's Music/ArethaFranklin / She don't remember / Queen of Soul..."
** ''Can't Buy a Thrill'' is named after a line from Music/BobDylan's "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry", from ''Music/Highway61Revisited''.
* SingerNamedrop: From "Show Biz Kids":
-->"They got the Steely Dan T-shirt"
* SingleStanzaSong: "The Fez".
* SomethingBlues: Again, "Deacon Blues".
* SpecsOfAwesome: Walter Becker was never seen without his huge glasses.
* StepUpToTheMicrophone: "Slang of Ages" from ''Everything Must Go'' and "Book of Liars" from the band's one live album, ''Alive in America'', are Walter Becker's only lead vocal credits in the band's history. He also sings half of the lead vocal for "Turn That Heartbeat Over Again" on ''Can't Buy a Thrill''.
** "Midnite Cruiser" is sung by Jim Hodder, the band's drummer during the ''Can't Buy a Thrill'' "actual band" era. So is "Dallas", the A-side of the band's first single.
** Subverted by "Dirty Work", "Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me)" and "Turn That Heartbeat Over Again", the three songs sung by David Palmer on ''Can't Buy a Thrill''. As mentioned before, he was intended to be the singer for the band. Technically, the ''rest'' of ''Can't Buy a Thrill'' would have been a StepUpToTheMicrophone example for Donald Fagen if he and Becker didn't become unsatisfied with Palmer's live performances during the ensuing tour.
*** Several demo songs like "Undecided", "Soul Ram", "The Mock Turtle Song", "A Horse in Town", one version of "Sun Mountain" and "Brooklyn" are all sung by either David Palmer or Jim Hodder. With the sound quality it is sometime hard to tell.
* StopAndGo: "Bodhisattva"
* SuicideByCop: The narrator in "Don't Take Me Alive" seems to be attempting this.
* TakeThat: The song "Show Biz Kids" is one against L.A. and the Hollywood social scene in general.
-->''While the poor people sleeping\\
With the shade on the light\\
While the poor people sleeping\\
All the stars come out at night''
** Also includes a bit of BitingTheHandHumor and SelfDeprecation, since among the show biz kids' fashionable accessories are Steely Dan t-shirts.
** Also, "Only a Fool Would Say That" seems to be a deconstructive critique of Music/JohnLennon's "Music/{{Imagine}}".
*** Or, [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation alternatively]], mocking others' cynical reaction to the idea of peace and love.
** "Deacon Blues" is one long, subtle middle finger to everyone that doesn't like their music.
--> ''This brother is free\\
I'll be what I want to be\\
I'll learn to work the saxophone\\
I'll play just what I feel''
* ThoseTwoGuys
* ThoseWackyNazis: "Chain Lightning" is about two former Nazis returning to the site of Hitler's Nuremberg speech.
* TimeTravel: [[WordOfGod Apparently]] what "Pretzel Logic" is about
* TitleTrack: "Pretzel Logic", "The Royal Scam", "Gaucho", "Aja", "Two Against Nature", "Everything Must Go"
* UncommonTime: "Aja". Wiki/ThatOtherWiki sums up the shenanigans in the song's instrumental break:
--> The first part goes on for 17 bars, one in 2/4, as the other musicians vamp on staccato chords beneath. The interlude chords briefly return, and Gadd resumes keep the beat, with a few more flourishes, while Shorter's solo continues. Then the vamp and drum solo resume for another 17-bar section, this one including one bar in 3/4, that ends with a descending chord progression that takes us back into the intro.
** The last word of the chorus ("you") also inserts 3/4 into an otherwise 4/4 section.
* VisualPun: ''Pretzel Logic'' and ''Katy Lied'''s album art with a pretzel stand and katydid respectively.
* {{Yandere}}: "My Rival"