Some bands and artists prefer the roar of the crowd for their energy to power forward making music that they would then end up in the studio recording, and then taking back out on the road to play that very music, and the cycle would continue. Not Steely Dan.
Donald Fagen and Walter Becker generally loved the studio. When they paired in 1972 to form Steely Dan, they spent most of the years between 72 and 1980 crafting seven albums filled with instrumental experimentation and wry, observational lyrics about life. The base of most of their music seemed to be rooted in the greatest sounds of jazz with licks of guitar and sax reminiscent of Duke Ellington’s music.
In 1981, the band called it quits. But it only took them a little over 10 years to regroup and reunite in 1993 to release two new albums, and nix their studio-only rule to become a touring band again.
In the early 2000s, the duo released the Grammy winning Album of the Year “Two Against Nature.” And the band ended up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
In 2017, the reunion came to an end as Walter Becker died on September 3rd. Though the band lives on as Donald Fagen continues to bring the work of Steely Dan alive.