Having sold more than 40 million albums worldwide, the American jazz rock band Steely Dan discography consists of nine studio albums, 21 singles, two live albums, one live set on DVD, seven compilations in the United States, one box set, and numerous other appearances.
With their jazz-schooled chops and studio-crafted elegance, Steely Dan symbolised the softening of rock throughout the 1970s. But though their music projected an air of affluence, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were mostly interested in lyrically interrogating the era’s decadence, staging each song as a swanky high-society party infiltrated by prostitutes, gamblers and other wayward souls desperate to make a dollar. Upon forming in New York in 1972, Steely Dan projected more of a streetwise edge on early standards like the Santana-esque “Do It Again” and “Reeling in the Years”, whose arpeggiated guitar hook anticipated the twinned-lead solos of Thin Lizzy. But like The Beatles before them, Fagen and Becker stopped touring to reinvent Steely Dan as a studio-based, session-player-powered entity, pursuing a more finessed fusion of jazz, rock and soul that achieved its apotheosis on 1977’s immaculate Aja. And yet, as their music became more sophisticated, Fagen’s lyrics turned more seedy and cynical, lacing the proto-disco groove of “Peg” with suggestive casting-couch intimations, while using the smooth strut of “Hey Nineteen” to catalogue the dysfunctional relationship between an older man and his teenage lover. After splitting in 1981, Steely Dan enjoyed a surprise second act beginning with 2000’s Two Against Nature, proving they’re still the only band that can write a breezy song about incestual desire (“Cousin Dupree”) and get Grammys in return. The 21st century saw Steely Dan become a more active touring act than ever before, and Fagen kept the show on the road even after Becker’s death from cancer in 2017. All the while, Steely Dan continue to cast a long shadow over the contemporary musical landscape, through the forward-thinking rappers (Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa) who’ve sampled their supple arrangements, and the indie iconoclasts (Mac DeMarco, Father John Misty) who embed illicit ideas in soothing songs. So, if you are a die heart fan of Steely Dan Albums then check out here we have list of Steely Dan albums in order of release so far.
Steely Dan Albums Available on: Apple Music
All Steely Dan Studio Albums in Order of Release Date
1. Can’t Buy a Thrill (1972)
Steely Dan’s debut album, “Can’t Buy a Thrill,” released in 1972, showcases the unique blend of rock, jazz, and pop that would become their trademark sound. This album introduces listeners to the duo’s meticulous attention to detail and sophisticated songwriting. With catchy hooks and intricate arrangements, Steely Dan delivers a collection of songs that effortlessly blend different genres.
From the infectious and timeless hit “Do It Again” to the smooth grooves of “Reelin’ in the Years,” “Can’t Buy a Thrill” exhibits a musical maturity rarely seen in debut albums. The lyrics, often cryptic and introspective, add an intriguing layer to the music. With their distinctive harmonies and polished musicianship, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker create a cohesive album that stands the test of time.
“Can’t Buy a Thrill” remains a classic in Steely Dan’s discography, setting the stage for their future releases and establishing them as masters of musical craftsmanship. It serves as a testament to their innovative approach to songwriting and their ability to blend diverse musical influences into a cohesive and captivating whole.
2. Countdown to Ecstasy (1973)
Steely Dan’s “Countdown to Ecstasy,” released in 1973, is a musical masterpiece that showcases the band’s distinctive fusion of jazz, rock, and sophisticated songwriting. With this album, Steely Dan delves deeper into their signature sound, presenting a collection of intricate compositions and thought-provoking lyrics.
From the opening track “Bodhisattva” to the closing notes of “King of the World,” the album takes listeners on a sonic journey filled with complex harmonies, impeccable musicianship, and intricate arrangements. Songs like “My Old School” and “Show Biz Kids” blend catchy melodies with biting social commentary, while tracks like
“The Boston Rag” and “Your Gold Teeth” showcase the band’s remarkable instrumental prowess. “Countdown to Ecstasy” solidifies Steely Dan’s reputation as innovative songwriters and skilled musicians, paving the way for their future success. It remains an essential album in the band’s discography and a testament to their enduring musical legacy.
3. Pretzel Logic (1974)
“Pretzel Logic” is the third studio album by the American rock band Steely Dan, released in 1974. The album showcases the band’s unique fusion of rock, jazz, and pop influences, presenting a sophisticated and polished sound. With its intricate arrangements, catchy melodies, and thought-provoking lyrics, “Pretzel Logic” solidified Steely Dan’s reputation as masterful songwriters and musicians.
The album features several standout tracks, including the infectious hit single “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” which became one of the band’s signature songs. Other notable tracks include the jazz-infused “Parker’s Band,” the introspective “Any Major Dude Will Tell You,” and the groovy “Barrytown.”
“Pretzel Logic” highlights Steely Dan’s meticulous attention to detail, with tight harmonies, intricate guitar work, and clever wordplay. The album’s sophisticated sound and lyrical depth captivated listeners, further establishing Steely Dan as one of the most innovative and influential bands of the era. With its timeless appeal, “Pretzel Logic” continues to be celebrated as a classic album in the band’s illustrious discography.
4. Katy Lied (1975)
Steely Dan’s “Katy Lied,” released in 1975, is a masterpiece that showcases the band’s exceptional musicianship and intricate songwriting. The album presents a seamless blend of rock, jazz, and pop elements, with a touch of subversive and cryptic lyrics that became the band’s signature style. “Katy Lied” features a collection of meticulously crafted songs that explore themes of deception, lost love, and disillusionment.
The album opens with the infectious and upbeat “Black Friday,” setting the tone for the rest of the record. Tracks like “Bad Sneakers” and “Doctor Wu” reveal the band’s penchant for crafting catchy hooks and sophisticated arrangements, while tracks like “Rose Darling” and “Any World (That I’m Welcome To)” showcase their lyrical prowess.
“Katy Lied” maintains a cohesive sonic aesthetic throughout, with Donald Fagen’s smooth and distinct vocals paired with Walter Becker’s impeccable guitar work. The album’s production is rich and polished, further enhancing the band’s meticulous attention to detail.
In summary, “Katy Lied” stands as a testament to Steely Dan’s innovative approach to music, delivering a captivating blend of genres and thought-provoking lyrics that have secured its status as a timeless classic.
5. The Royal Scam (1976)
“The Royal Scam” is the fifth studio album by the American rock band Steely Dan, released in 1976. This album showcases the band’s signature blend of jazz, rock, and pop, combined with cryptic and often cynical lyrics. With its meticulously crafted arrangements and intricate musical structures, “The Royal Scam” presents a darker and more complex sound compared to their previous work. The album features a wide range of musical influences, including Latin rhythms, jazz improvisations, and bluesy guitar solos. Songs like “Kid Charlemagne” and “Haitian Divorce” stand out with their catchy melodies and intriguing storytelling. “The Royal Scam” demonstrates Steely Dan’s mastery in creating intricate sonic landscapes while maintaining their distinct songwriting style. It remains a classic and influential album in the band’s discography.
6. Aja (1977)
Steely Dan’s “Aja,” released in 1977, stands as a pinnacle of sophisticated and meticulously crafted jazz-rock fusion. This critically acclaimed album showcases the duo’s meticulous attention to detail and studio craftsmanship. With its seamless blend of jazz, rock, and pop elements, “Aja” takes listeners on a musical journey that is both intricate and accessible. The album features lush harmonies, tight arrangements, and impeccable musicianship, with each track showcasing the band’s virtuosity and musical precision. From the smooth grooves of the title track to the infectious hooks of “Peg” and “Deacon Blues,” “Aja” exudes a unique sense of coolness and sophistication. With its polished production and intricate songwriting, Steely Dan created a timeless masterpiece that continues to captivate audiences decades after its release.
7. Gaucho (1980)
Steely Dan’s album “Gaucho,” released in 1980, is a captivating musical journey that showcases the band’s signature blend of jazz, rock, and pop. Known for their meticulous attention to detail and studio perfectionism, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen crafted an album that exudes sophistication and complexity.
“Gaucho” presents a seamless fusion of intricate instrumental arrangements, rich harmonies, and thought-provoking lyrics. Tracks like “Hey Nineteen” and “Babylon Sisters” effortlessly transport listeners with their infectious grooves and smooth melodies. The album also features remarkable contributions from exceptional session musicians, including jazz luminaries like Steve Gadd and Joe Sample.
However, “Gaucho” also faced numerous challenges during its production, leading to a prolonged release process and creative tensions. Despite these obstacles, the album stands as a testament to Steely Dan’s mastery of their craft and their unwavering pursuit of sonic excellence. With its timeless sound and sophisticated songwriting, “Gaucho” remains a beloved record in the Steely Dan discography.
8. Two Against Nature (2000)
Steely Dan’s album “Two Against Nature,” released in 2000, marks a significant return for the legendary jazz-rock band after a lengthy hiatus. The album encompasses their signature fusion of intricate jazz harmonies, sardonic lyrics, and polished production, making it a worthy addition to their esteemed discography. “Two Against Nature” showcases Donald Fagen and Walter Becker’s unmatched songwriting prowess, delivering a collection of meticulously crafted compositions.
The album’s tracks boast a sophisticated blend of jazz, rock, and pop elements, accentuated by Steely Dan’s trademark lyrical storytelling. Songs like “Cousin Dupree” and “Gaslighting Abbie” showcase their satirical approach to social commentary, while “What a Shame About Me” and “Almost Gothic” delve into introspective themes with a tinge of irony.
“Two Against Nature” earned Steely Dan well-deserved recognition, receiving critical acclaim and winning four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. With its masterful musicianship and thought-provoking lyrics, the album encapsulates the essence of Steely Dan’s unique sound and serves as a testament to their enduring musical legacy.
9. Everything Must Go (2003)
Steely Dan’s album “Everything Must Go,” released in 2003, showcases the timeless musicality and sophisticated songwriting that have defined the band’s legacy. As their first studio album in two decades, it marks a triumphant return for Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, the creative masterminds behind Steely Dan.
“Everything Must Go” effortlessly blends jazz, rock, and pop elements, resulting in a polished and melodic collection of tracks. The album’s lyrical content delves into societal issues and personal introspection, often laced with the band’s trademark wit and irony. Standout songs such as “Everything Must Go,” “The Last Mall,” and “Godwhacker” demonstrate Steely Dan’s ability to craft intricate arrangements and showcase their instrumental prowess.
With its meticulously crafted production and intricate musical layers, “Everything Must Go” stands as a testament to Steely Dan’s enduring artistry and their ability to create compelling music that transcends genre boundaries.
How many albums does Steely Dan have?
The discography for the American jazz rock band Steely Dan consists of NINE studio albums, TWENTY-ONE singles, TWO live albums, ONE live set on DVD, SEVEN compilations in the United States, ONE box set, and numerous other appearances.
List of Steely Dan Albums in Order of Release Date
Here is the list of Steely Dan Album in Order of Release Date:
1. Can’t Buy a Thrill — November 1972
2. Countdown to Ecstasy — July 1973
3. Pretzel Logic — February 20, 1974
4. Katy Lied — March 1975
5. The Royal Scam — May 31, 1976
6. Aja — September 23, 1977
7. Gaucho — November 21, 1980
8. Two Against Nature — February 29, 2000
9. Everything Must Go — June 10, 2003
Live albums and video:
1. Alive in America — October 17, 1995
2. Aja — 1999
3. Plush TV Jazz-Rock Party — June 13, 2000
4. Everything Must Go — 2003
5. Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live! — September 24, 2021
1. Greatest Hits — November 30, 1978
2. Steely Dan — 1978
3. Gold — 1982
4. A Decade of Steely Dan — 1985
5. The Very Best of Steely Dan: Reelin’ In the Years — October 1985
6. Remastered: The Best of Steely Dan – Then and Now — November 1993
7. Citizen Steely Dan — December 14, 1993
8. Showbiz Kids: The Steely Dan Story, 1972–1980 — November 14, 2000
9. Steely Dan: The Definitive Collection — August 1, 2006
10. 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Steely Dan — June 12, 2007
Bootlegs and other appearances albums:
1. The Very Best of Steely Dan: Do It Again — October 1987
2. Members Edition — June 6, 1998
3. Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz with Steely Dan — March 15, 2005
4. Found Studio Tracks — July 17, 2007
5. The Very Best of Steely Dan — June 30, 2009
6. Collected — August 11, 2009
7. Aja vs the Scam — 12 June, 2020
Steely Dan’s discography is a masterful journey of musical craftsmanship and lyrical wit. From their debut album “Can’t Buy a Thrill” to their final studio release “Everything Must Go,” the band consistently delivered a unique blend of jazz, rock, and pop. With their meticulous attention to detail and complex arrangements, Steely Dan’s albums serve as a testament to their enduring legacy and artistic conclusion.
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