A History of the Moody Blues

The Lost Steely Dan Song: ‘Gaucho’ Outtake “The Second Arrangement”

After the 1977 release of Steely Dan’s massive commercial and artistic triumph Aja, band masterminds Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, having taken most of 1978 off, reconvened in 1979 for a follow-up, which would be Gaucho.

One of the first things they got on tape was a song called “The Second Arrangement”, and all involved in its creation were extremely proud of the song. In fact, Backer and Fagen are said to have considered it to be among their best.

But in cueing the song up for playback, a junior studio engineer accidentally erased most of the recording.

The band attempted to re-record the song, but they couldn’t come up with a take that satisfied notorious perfectionists Becker and Fagen. The song, which might have given Gaucho a third hit single, never appeared on record. It was replaced on Gaucho with the more somber and shadowy “Third World Man”.

Over the years demos and bootlegs of the song have turned up, giving fans a glimpse of how glorious the Gaucho album could have been with the inclusion of this gem.

Below are two representations of “The Second Arrangement”. The first is a muddy working demo from the Gaucho sessions. The second, a live performance by Steely Dan tribute act Twelve Against Nature, is fleshed out with a horn section in an attempt to show what the lost final version may have sounded like.

 

 

Pour out the wine, little girl
I’ve got just two friends in this whole wide world
Here’s to reckless lovers
We all need somebody
Stashed in the yellow Jag
I’ve got my life and laundry in a Gladstone bag
You should know the program
Just one red rose and a tender goodbye
[One last goodbye]

And I run to the second arrangement
It’s only the natural thing
Who steps out with no regrets
A sparkling conscience
A new address
When I run to the second arrangement
The home of a mutual friend
Now’s the time to redefine the first arrangement again

It’s a sticky situation
A serious affair
I must explain it to you somehow
Right now I’ll just move back one square

Here comes that noise again
Another scrambled message from my last best friend
Something I can dance to
A song with tears in it
Old friends abandon me
It’s just the routine politics of jealousy
Someday we’ll remember
That one red rose and one last goodbye
[One last goodbye]

Then I run to the second arrangement
It’s only the natural thing
Who steps out with no regrets
A sparkling conscience
A new address
When I run to the second arrangement
The home of a mutual friend
Now’s the time to redefine the first arrangement again

Steely Dan’s Quiet Hero: Inside Walter Becker’s Troubled Life, Wry Genius

(via Rolling Stone) by Henry Diltz

For years, anyone who wanted to use the bathroom while visiting Walter Becker’s studio in the countryside of Maui was directed outside. There, mounted on one of the walls of a white outhouse, they’d find a gold-record plaque for Steely Dan‘s Aja – which, over time, began oxidizing and tarnishing in the ocean air.

It was a prime example of the irreverence, unflashiness and dark humor that Becker, who died at 67 on September 3rd, displayed his whole life. There were few, if any, rock stars like him. He looked and acted like a droll college professor, and in conversation he could expound on Samuel Beckett’s plays, delve into the details of the Manhattan Project or rattle off the names of sidemen on obscure jazz records.

Becker was as much an architect of Steely Dan’s airtight sound and skewed sensibility as his friend, singer-keyboardist Donald Fagen. The two co-wrote the Dan’s songs, oversaw their legendary persnickety recording sessions, and shared a love of Beat writing, sci-fi and other topics that resulted in the parade of freaks and geeks that inhabited their songs. (With his long hair, wispy beard, and diffident air, Becker even resembled one of those weirdos, especially in his youth.) A behind-the-scenes maestro, Becker often let others play his parts on record, and few fans knew the dramatic arc of his life – his painful childhood, and the addiction, seclusion and rebirth he endured as an adult. “His relationships were difficult, and his relationship with life was difficult,” says a friend, American-born Hindu devotional singer Krishna Das. “But music was always there for him. It was the most dependable source of beauty he had in his life.”

Read more:

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/steely-dans-quiet-hero-inside-walter-beckers-troubled-life-wry-genius-199094/

Eagles’ Greatest Hits Surpasses Thriller As All-Time Best-Selling Album

(via Reverb) by Dan Orkin

The Eagles’ greatest hits compliation—Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975—has supplanted Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the top-selling record of all time. According to a report by the Associated Press, the RIAA or Recording Industry Association of America has confirmed the album’s certification as 38 times platinum meaning that it has been bought or downloaded the equilvelent of 38 millions times since its initial release…

Read more:

https://reverb.com/news/eagles-greatest-hits-surpasses-thriller-as-all-time-best-selling-album

Who Wrote That Beatles Song? This Algorithm Will Tell You

(via Science Friday)

If you had a number one hit song, you would probably remember writing it. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote over 200 songs together over 50 years ago. So it’s no surprise that memories have gotten a little fuzzy when it comes to who wrote which Beatles song.

Take for example, the song “In My Life.” John claimed to have written that track, but Paul remembers it differently.

The two Beatles agreed to disagree. But die-hard fans remained curious—was there a way to get closer to the truth? True Beatles fans will tell you they’re more partial to songs written by Paul or John.

Mark Glickman, senior lecturer in statistics at Harvard University, was one such curious fan. He developed an algorithm to determine the authorship of “In My Life” and several other contested Beatles songs, by identifying what makes a song a John song or a Paul song. He joins Ira to discuss solving the mysteries of musical authorship with statistics…

Listen here:

https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/who-wrote-that-beatles-song-this-algorithm-will-tell-you/

2 elderly men sneak out of nursing home to attend heavy metal festival

(via CBS News) By Christopher Brito

You’re never too old to rock on. Two elderly men managed to slip away from their nursing home in Germany to attend the Wacken Open Air, the largest heavy metal festival in the world, over the weekend, authorities said.

According to Itzehoe police, the pair was eventually found Friday at 3 a.m. local time at the festival after their retirement home in Dithmarscher reported them missing. Police told the Deutsche Welle the men were found “disorientated and dazed.”

Read more:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/elderly-men-nursing-home-wacken-open-air-festival-itzehoe-heavy-metal/

Five Myths About the Beatles

(via The Washington Post) (AP photo)

by Allan Kozinn

The Beatles produced some of the most enduring music of all time and rose to a level of near-universal adoration that few other musicians have achieved. But as the story of their brisk evolution from a scruffy, hardworking Liverpool dance hall combo to pop gods who reconfigured music and culture has been told, retold, debated and parsed, many myths have sprouted around it — some created by the Beatles themselves. Here are five.

Myth No. 1
The Beatles objected to trading leather outfits for suits and ties.

“In the beginning,” John Lennon told Melody Maker, the British music magazine, in 1970, Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager, “. . . put us in neat suits and shirts, and Paul was right behind him. I didn’t dig that, and I used to try to get George to rebel with me.” Lennon later complained to Rolling Stone that by giving up leather for suits, “we sold out.” Soon, the story of the Beatles chafing against Epstein’s directives was part of the lore.

The other Beatles — and sometimes, Lennon himself — remembered things differently. “It was later put around that I betrayed our leather image,” Paul McCartney said in “The Beatles Anthology,” “but, as I recall, I didn’t actually have to drag anyone to the tailors.” George Harrison said that “with black T-shirts, black leather gear and sweaty, we did look like hooligans. . . . We gladly switched into suits to get some more money and some more gigs.” Lennon put it this way to Hit Parader in 1975: “Outside of Liverpool, when we went down South in our leather outfits, the dance hall promoters didn’t really like us. . . . We liked the leather and the jeans but we wanted a good suit, even to wear offstage.” To which he added, “I’ll wear a . . . balloon if somebody’s going to pay me.”

Read more:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/five-myths/five-myths-about-the-beatles/2018/07/05/2a88109c-7f0a-11e8-b660-4d0f9f0351f1_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.de5f36da4ae9

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