Pretzel Logic – Steely Dan

The MARK’S VINTAGE VINYL page features something from Mark’s collection of recordings from over the years. Most of it is on vinyl – hence the name – though there will be a few entries from his CDs (remember those?).

Pretzel Logic, Steely Dan

  • Third studio album by Steely Dan, released in 1974.
  • Steely Dan is my favorite artist of all time, and Pretzel Logic is one of their best – my opinion, as well as many music critics. It received five-star ratings from Rolling Stone, AllMusic, Music Story and The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, and Rolling Stone ranked it at #386 in their 2012 edition of the Greatest Albums of All Time (it dropped out of the 2020 edition, as many albums from the 21st century made the new list). The website Acclaimed Music takes ranking lists from hundreds of sources and statistically aggregates them – Pretzel Logic ranks as the 377th most acclaimed album of all time.
  • This is the last album by Steely Dan where they were a group of musicians, rather than the duo of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. It was a clear evolution from their earlier work, moving toward the jazz-rock sound that became prevalent with later albums. It included their highest charting single, Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, which peaked at #6 on the Hot 100. “Rikki” is writer Rikki Ducomet – in college, Fagen had a crush on her, and gave her his phone number when they met at a party.
  • My favorite is the title track, a bluesy song about time travel. As are many Steely Dan songs, the lyrics are somewhat mysterious – what exactly is pretzel logic anyway? Here’s something on YouTube – actually the studio version, but with concert footage used to appear like they are performing it live. Things don’t line up very well, but I like it because it includes Becker – the other live versions on YouTube show Fagen performing the song with his touring group after Becker’s death in 2017. Enjoy this classic!

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