Steely Dan Timeline
1967-1968: Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, erstwhile students atBardCollege, discover common interests in jazz, blues, popular music and contemporary literature, particularly so-called Black Humor. They begin collaborating on songs which they perform in various pickup bands.
1969: Fagen and Becker attempt to peddle their songs door to door in the famousBrillBuilding, home to many if not most of the schlock music publishers of the day. They are eventually signed to a publishing deal by a small company owned by 60's group Jay and the Americans, who are enjoying a brief revival of their popularity due to their hit remake of the Drifters' "This Magic Moment."
1970: Fagen and Becker join the Jay and the Americans' touring band
1971: On the recommendation of staff producer Gary Katz, the partners are signed as staff songwriters by Jay Lasker, president of ABC/Dunhill Records inLos Angeles. They move toLos Angeleswhere they are given a small office-with-piano in which to grind out the hits. A desk drawer in the office still contains the brown bag lunches of the previous song-writing team to use the office. The team interprets this touching detail as a symbol of the impermanence of success in the pop music scene. They proceed to write a series of classic but unrecordable cheesy pop songs, while secretly planning to assemble their own band and record their own album.
1972: After rehearsing after hours in the unfinished new wing of ABC Records office, the intrepid little band hits the studio and records their first album. The album, entitled Can't Buy A Thrill, is released under the name "Steely Dan," which has been unceremoniously lifted from William Burroughs' novel, "Naked Lunch." The charter members are: Denny Dias (Guitar), Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (guitar), Jim Hodder (drums) and David Palmer (vocals).
1973: The band in various configurations tours theU.S.andBritain. Two more albums are released: Countdown To Ecstasy and Pretzel Logic. Donald is now singing all the lead vocals and Walter has begun playing guitar leads. The final touring configuration includes Mike McDonald (vocals and piano), Jeff Porcaro (drums) and Royce Jones (percussion and vocals).
1975: Becker and Fagen disband the original group and begin to record entirely with various session players. The results include a series of acclaimed albums including: Katy Lied, The Royal Scam, Aja, and Gaucho.
1980: Becker and Fagen go their separate ways. Fagen records his first solo album, The Nightfly, which is a huge critical and commercial success. Becker moves toHawaii and becomes a gentleman avocado rancher and self-styled critic of the contemporary scene.
The 1980s: Fagen pens tunes for artists including Diana Ross, Manhattan Transfer, Jennifer Warnes and Yellowjackets. He co-produces the soundtrack album for Bob Telson's musical "The Gospel At Colonus," and composes the score for the film, "Bright Lights,BigCity." He also writes a column for Premiere magazine. Becker produces albums for China Crisis, Rickie Lee Jones, and various jazz artists, including Bob Sheppard, John Beasley, Jeff Beale, Andy Laverne, Marty Krystall, The Lost Tribe, Dave Kikoski, and LeeAnn Ledgerwood.
1991-1992: Fagen and producer Libby Titus ("The Mistress of Rock'n'Soul") develop the New York Rock and Soul Revue, which culminates in the recording, NYR&S Live at the Beacon Theatre. Sessions begin for Fagen's second solo album, Kamakiriad, with Becker producing. Becker also joins the revue for their summer '92 tour.
1993: As Kamakiriad sales climb towards platinum and beyond, Fagen and Becker hit the road with The All New Steely Dan Orchestra '93. Becker begins work on his first solo CD, 11 Tracks of Whack with Fagen producing. A Boxed set entitled Citizen Steely Dan is due out for Christmas.
1994: In May the group tours Japan. Becker's solo 11 Tracks of Whack is released following the successful summer tour by the Citizen Steely Dan Orchestra '94.
1995: Alive in America, an album of live performances from 93-94 is released. Fagen and Becker begin writing for a new album.
1996: The OfficialSteelyDanWebsitegoes online in March. The Art Crimes Orchestra tours theU.S., Europe, andJapan.
1997-1999: Work on Steely Dan's first studio album in 20 years proceeds apace through 1999.
2000: Two Against Nature is released on Feb. 29 and debuts at #6 on Billboard's Top 200. Donald and Walter receive ASCAP's Founder's Award in May. Summer sees the Steely Dan 2K World Tour ofJapan, North America, andEurope.
2001: In February, Two Against Nature wins four Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year. Becker and Fagen are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March. In May, Becker and Fagen receive honorary Doctor of Music degrees from The Berklee College of Music. Recording for a new album begins in in the fall.
2003: Everything Must Go is released in June, and the “EMG Tour” ofNorth America runs from July 23 to October 11.
2006: In support of solo projects, both Walter and Donald launch their own websites. Donald releases Morph The Cat, his third solo CD in March, and Walter continues recording his second solo CD. The "Steelyard 'Sugartooth' McDan (and the Fab-Originees.com)" summer tour of the U.S. runs from July to September.
2007: The “Heavy Rollers World Tour” plays the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Fagen releases the Nightfly Trilogy Boxed Set.
2008: Becker releases Circus Money, his second solo CD, on June 10. Live "Think Fast, Steely Dan" dates for summer 2008 are announced.
2009: Becker and Fagen go on the road again in Europe and the U.S.
2011: In 2011, Donald and Walter conduct some “Shuffle Diplomacy” with The Miles High Big Band and featuring The Embassy Brats. For the Australia and New Zealand leg, the legendary Steve Winwood makes it a double-bill in made in muso heaven.
2013: Donald, Walter, and Company find themselves "8 Miles To Pancake Day" as the “Mood Swings” 2013 Tour begins in mid-July. The popular Album Nights are reprised in several cities.