Build Your Own Best Of – Steely Dan

This post originally appeared on my now defunct My Thermos blog on March 26, 2008 and is being reprinted here with my own permission.

Steely Dan - PianoWhen preparing my BYOBOs, I start with the list of songs first (the fun part) and then I write this cursory introductory part. I usually think that I should add a bit of history or a biography of the artist or something to make things more interesting. Ultimately though, I figure that if people are familiar enough with the band to be interested in the list, they don’t need my background factoids – and there is so much information available elsewhere that I feel I’m just reinventing the wheel.

But this week I was determined to write something interesting so I went to the official Steely Dan web site to do some fact gathering. Lo and behold, it’s chock full of history, a timeline, lyrics, and even an open letter to Luke Wilson. I also snagged the very cool photo from there since I couldn’t find anything on wikimedia.

I then decided that it’s actually way more informative than anything I could write here, and it’s straight from the source. So go there, read it, laugh a lot, and then come back here for the list.

Oh yeah – the list. Once again inspired by Nat at Mini-Obs, the idea is the same as always:

Pick one of your favorite bands / artists and list 10-15 songs by that band / artist to compile your own best of compilation.

So here goes – The Best of Steely Dan as compiled by me:

  • “Aja” – Aja
  • “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” – Pretzel Logic
  • “Any World (That I’m Welcome To)” – Katy Lied
  • “Bad Sneakers” – Katy Lied
  • “Bodhisattva” – Countdown To Ecstasy
  • “The Caves of Altimara” – The Royal Scam
  • “Deacon Blues” – Aja
  • “Haitian Divorce” – The Royal Scam
  • “Home At Last” – Aja
  • “My Old School” – Countdown To Ecstasy
  • “Pretzel Logic” – Pretzel Logic
  • “The Royal Scam” – The Royal Scam
  • “Sign In Stranger” – The Royal Scam
  • “Time Out Of Mind” – Gaucho

I really love Steely Dan so this was one of the more enjoyable lists to compile. Great songs, and the musicianship is always top notch – especially the tasty guitar work of Larry Carlton.

You may notice I am one song short of the 15 allowed and that is because I couldn’t choose among the 10 or so possibles I had left over – stuff like “Black Cow”, “Dirty Work”, “FM”, “Barrytown”, “Green Earrings”, “Kid Charlemagne”- any of which are certainly worthy. Ultimately, I figured I would just leave the open slot to represent the rest of the great songs that didn’t quite make the cut.

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