The Eagles and Steely Dan: 10 connections between the two groups

eagles steely dan

The Eagles and Steely Dan will perform at the Prudential Center in Newark, Sept. 16.

As announced today, The Eagles and Steely Dan are teaming up for a tour that comes to the Prudential Center in Newark, Sept. 16. This isn’t the only connection, though, between the two groups — both based in Los Angeles in the ’70s, and at their commercial peak during that decade.

Here are 10 examples.

1. Both groups shared a powerhouse manager, Irving Azoff, for many years.

2. Both have a member who hails from New Jersey: Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen grew up in Passaic, Fair Lawn and the Kendall Park section of South Brunswick, while The Eagles’ Joe Walsh spent some of his teen years in Montclair, and attended Montclair High School.

The cover of Steely Dan’s “Pretzel Logic” album.

3. Eagles member Timothy B. Schmit contributed backing vocals to the Steely Dan albums Pretzel Logic (1974), The Royal Scam (1976) and Aja (1977). “Those sessions were great because they were challenging,” Schmit has said. “I was up to the task but you had to be spot-on. You stayed until you were spot-on — not unlike an Eagles recording.”

4. Schmit and fellow Eagles Don Henley and Glenn Frey sang on Steely Dan’s 1978 hit “FM (No Static at All).”

5. Henley was hired to sing backing vocals on the Steely Dan song “Peg” (from Aja), but Fagen didn’t like the way he sounded, and had producer Gary Katz fire him.

6. Steely Dan’s 1976 song “Everything You Did” included the sardonic line, “Turn up The Eagles, the neighbors are listening.”

7. The Eagles answered — on “Hotel California,” released later that year — with “They stab it with their steely knives but they just can’t kill the beast.”

8. Steely Dan also had an influence on The Eagles’ lyric writing, in general, around the time of the Hotel California album. “We were listening to a lot of Steely Dan records at the time and we were impressed with the way that they could make ‘junk sculpture’ lyrics about nothing and make them work into a song,” Frey once said.

9. The Classic West and Classic East two-day festivals — held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Citi Field in Queens, New York in 2017 — featured The Eagles and Steely Dan plus the Doobie Brothers on one day; and Fleetwood Mac, Journey and Earth, Wind & Fire on the other.

10. A short-lived supergroup, The Best, included Walsh and original Steely Dan member Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, as well as bassist John Entwistle (of The Who), keyboardist Keith Emerson (of Emerson, Lake & Palmer), drummer Simon Phillips and singer Rick Livingstone. The group stayed together for just one short tour of Japan and Hawaii in 1990. Among the songs they performed were Eagles and Steely Dan classics. Here are videos of them doing Steely Dan’s “Bodhisattva” and “Reelin’ in the Years”:


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