Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!
Reelin’ in The Years By Steely Dan. Album: Can’t Buy A Thrill, Released November 1972
This song is about recalling times with a girlfriend and a romantic breakup. It’s one of the most popular Steely Dan songs, but also one of their least favorite. In Rolling Stone, September 17, 2009, Donald Fagan said, “It’s dumb but effective.” Walter Becker added, “It’s no fun.”
Steely Dan are known for their meticulous sound – every note must be perfect. This song is sometimes criticized for bringing on overly polished mainstream ’70s music.
Elliot Randall, who was not a member of Steely Dan, stopped by on an invite from Skunk Baxter while they were recording this and ended up playing the guitar solo. This was one of the first of many times Walter Becker and Donald Fagen would use studio musicians, and by their fourth album, nearly every player was a studio musician. Randall also played on their albums Katy Lied and The Royal Scam.
The quadraphonic mix of this song has extra Elliot Randall guitar fills not heard on the familiar stereo version.
Randall’s guitar solo earned high praise from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. According to Classic Rock magazine (January 1999), Page has said it is his favorite guitar solo of all time.