Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Try Again Tomorrow: The Steely Dan - ECM Connection

I'm wrapping up ECM :rarum month over at The CD Project and, as often happens, listening to one album leads to another album leads to another, etc. You know how it is. CD eventually gave way to vinyl and I pulled out my LP of Keith Jarrett's 1974 album, Belonging, and gave it a spin. The third track on the album is titled "'Long as You Know You're Living Yours" - give it a listen and see if it reminds you of a Steely Dan track.

Maybe this one, perhaps:

One person who noticed a similarity was writer David Breskin. In a 1981 interview for Musician magazine, Breskin asked Donald Fagen and Walter Becker about the similarities in a piece published a few months after Gaucho was released:

Musician, No. 31, March 1981, p. 70
Unsubstantiated web rumors (is there any other kind?) have it that Jarrett read the above interview and sued Becker and Fagen for a 7-figure sum and songwriting credit. The case was settled out of court so the money can't be confirmed but when the Steely Dan box set, Citizen Steely Dan 1972-1980, was issued in 1993, Jarrett had been given a songwriting credit. And rightfully so, IMO.

Credits from the 1984 CD release of Gaucho (left) and credits from the 1993 box set
(click to enlarge)

I also have a 1998 dts digital surround disc of Gaucho that doesn't give Jarrett credit, taking the credits directly from the 1984 CD release. In other words, I have no idea when all this went down, but I'm guessing sometime between 1984 and 1993.

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