Best Place For Old Fashioned Music In New York The Geography In The Steely Dan Discography

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The Geography In The Steely Dan Discography

For a band that avoided touring during its commercial peak in the seventies, Steely Dan sure traveled a lot in their songs. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker not only mention many cities in their native USA, but they also refer to various places around the world.

Naturally, the group mentions New York and California, two of the most popular states when it comes to song titles. “Daddy Don’t Live In New York” is a track from Katy Lied album, and California is referenced in the classic “My Old School” from Countdown to ecstasy.

A more specific reference is also made in that song as the band identifies Annandale, a town in the Golden State. Then in the last verse they cross the southern border with a mention of the Mexican city of Guadalajara.

Elsewhere in that part of the world it can also be found in Steely Dan songs, including “Haitian Divorce” from The royal scam. Both Bogota and Barbados are mentioned in “Glamour Profession” from Gaucho album, while Colombia is mentioned in “Pixeleen” from the last album Everything must go.

Across the Atlantic, other countries are included in the Steely Dan discography, mostly in Europe. Holland and its most famous city Amsterdam appear in Gauchos “Slang of Ages” and Spain are referenced in “Night By Night”. A city in the same country, famous for its prehistoric art, is the subject of “The Caves of Altamira” from The royal scam.

Geographical references extend beyond the Western Hemisphere, with Fagen and Becker writing songs about places in Asia. Both China and Japan form the chorus of “Bodhisattva” from Countdown to ecstasyand Peking is identified in “Dr. Wu” from Katy Lied.

Most of the places featured in the lyrics can be found right here in the US, even beyond the aforementioned New York and California. The latter’s northern neighbor Oregon is home to the desperate refugee in “Don’t Take Me Alive” from The royal scamand Alabama is identified as the Crimson Tide in the chorus of Ajas “Deacon Blues.”

Midwestern metropolises are also included, such as Kansas City i Pretzel logic and Chicago in “Your Gold Teeth”. Medicine Park, Oklahoma appears in “Blues Beach,” and New Orleans is the subject of “Pearl of the Quarter.”

Most of the geography relates to California or New York, where Steely Dan first formed and later developed its successful recording career. “Brooklyn” is the title of a song from Can’t buy a thrilland “Parker’s Band” mentions 52nd Street. Pretzel logic contains a song focusing on “Barrytown”.

California locations found in the Steely Dan lyrics include Hollywood from “Reelin’ in the Years”, while “Babylon Sisters” names both Santa Ana and San Francisco. The West Coast is one of the “Things I miss the most”, says Fagen in the opening song Two against nature.

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