Top 10 Steely Dan Songs

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Let’s be honest—there’s never been another band quite like Steely Dan.

From their early days of being proprietors of electrifyingly intelligent pop-rock to their mid-’70s peak of delivering flawless, jazz-inspired compositions to mass markets worldwide, the footprint they’ve left on the landscape of popular music will endure forever. 

Spearheaded by one of the great songwriting duos of the 20th century, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, the band and their frequent collaborators—an all-star list of session musicians, including Michael McDonald, Skunk Baxter, Bernard Purdie and more—revolutionized what rock music can sound like… on a compositional level and a technical level. To this day, Aja still is considered a go-to album for checking the fidelity of audio equipment, thanks to the hi-fi aspirations and world-class talents of the minds who brought it into existence. 

With brilliantly complex harmony, inimitably groovy beats, wonderfully humorous lyrics and performances so good that they’ll melt minds for as long as minds are being melted, the work of Steely Dan is truly a treasure trove of musicianship. While they were certainly masters at “album-crafting,” American Songwriter has put together a list of the top 10 songs from Steely Dan’s rich and colorful discography.

Going through the different phases of their career, the progression of the songs mirrors the evolution of the group’s stirring sound. Official advice is that you should just go ahead and listen to their entire discography (trust us, you won’t regret it), but if you’re looking for the ultimate sampler, then look no further than the chronological list below: 

1. “Do It Again

2. “Reelin’ In The Years

3. “Brooklyn (Owes The Charmer Under Me)

4. “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number

5. “Any Major Dude Will Tell You

6. “Bad Sneakers

7. “Doctor Wu

8. “Aja

9. “Deacon Blues

10. “Peg

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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