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YMMV: Steely Dan
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: 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 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).
  • Critical Dissonance: The Royal Scam is especially loved by fans, but its often rated by professional music critics as among their lesser albums.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Development Hell: Two Against Nature. From the DVD:
    Interviewer: It took you 19 years to release this album. What is up with that?
    Donald: We didn't do much for the first 17 and a half years.
    • Although some would say they just needed time to create. A lot of time.
  • Epic Riff: "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 "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.
  • Face of the Band: 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 a list of backing vocalists) and gone completely by Pretzel Logic.
  • Foe Yay: hinted at, at the end of "My Rival"
  • Genius Bonus: 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 Lyrical Shoehorn. 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 Lyrical Shoehorn, 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.
  • Growing the Beard: Many fans agree, The Royal Scam was when they grew the beard. Pretzel Logic is also popular.
  • I Am Not Shazam: No, there is no guy named Steely Dan.
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Josie"
  • Misattributed Song: 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, while they sing "Tequila Sunrise".
    • Also mocked by the guys in this chat:
    Which song is the quintessential Steely Dan song?
    "Ride Captain Ride"note  or "Year of The Cat"note 
  • Sampled Up: 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 VH-1 special detailing the making of Aja.
    • "Peg"'s guitar riff and a part of the lyrics is sampled in De La Soul's "Eye Know".
    • The song "Champion" by Kanye West extensively samples Kid Charlemagne. Interesting, they initially denied his request to use the sample, but after he wrote them an emotional letter explaining how important the song was to him, they obliged.
  • Tear Jerker: A number of songs, including "Charlie Freak", "Doctor Wu", "Any World That I'm Welcome To", and "Third World Man".

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