Songs You May Have Missed #651

Steely Dan: “Your Gold Teeth II” (1975)

Donald Fagen is not an easy guy to impress. But when he hears Denny Dias’ guitar solo in a studio outtake run-through of “Your Gold Teeth II”, the song’s co-writer exclaims, “Holy fuck! That’s great!”

It is.

Casual rock fans and critics alike love Aja, Steely Dan’s 1977 jazz-rock fusion masterpiece. But two years and two albums earlier they produced another glossy, sophisticated jazzy rock classic brimming with the sort of great melodic hooks, cryptic lyrics and jaw-dropping performances the Dan are known for, that being the Katy Lied LP.

And no performance tops Dias’ adventurous solo here. “Your Gold Teeth II”–so-named because the band had already released a song called “Your Gold Teeth” two years earlier–neatly straddles the fence between accessible pop rock and real jazz.

1970’s Steely Dan were the open-minded pop rock fan’s gateway drug into jazz exploration.

Just as Gentle Giant knocked holes in the wall separating English progressive rock and jazz, Steely Dan at their best blurred the lines between the worlds of bop, pop, and what is now called Yacht Rock–except that term seems to do a disservice to the excellence of the Steely Dan catalog.

If this is Yacht Rock, I’m on board with it.

%d bloggers like this: