Reelin’ In The Years is the acclaimed biography of Steely Dan, now updated to include details of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s work up to the very untimely passing of Walter Becker in 2017.
The first biography to have been published on Steely Dan, it tells the strange tale of how Becker and Fagen, a couple of cynical New York jazz fans, wormed their way into a record contract and astonished critics with their superb debut, Can’t Buy A Thrill, in 1973. Seven albums later, after Aja had topped charts everywhere, they were among the biggest selling acts in the world. Then they quit, only to reform in 1993 more popular than ever.
But Steely Dan were different from the rest of rock’s super-sellers. They rarely gave interviews. After some early bad experiences on the road, they refused to tour. They didn’t have their photographs taken. Few people even knew what they looked like. Steely Dan weren’t even a proper group; it was two musicians and their producer, yet every top-notch player in the world lined up to appear on their albums. They were perfectionists. They were enigmatic. They were very rich. Their music was the coolest around.
In Reelin’ In The Years, Brian Sweet, founder of Metal Leg – the now defunct UK based Steely Dan fanzine – draws back the veil of secrecy that has surrounded Becker and Fagen. Here at last is the true story of how they made their music and lived their lives. Includes many photographs and a complete discography.