Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan are very particular in their choice of musicians, and they picked some good ones for this: Michael McDonald sang backing vocals on this song, and Jay Graydon played the guitar solo. McDonald is famous for his work with The Doobie Brothers and as a solo artist, and Graydon is a very successful producer and songwriter in addition to his work as a guitarist. According to Graydon, Becker and Fagen brought in seven or eight guitarists to try the solo, and worked him for about six hours until he got it right.
Years later when Graydon produced artists like The Manhattan Transfer, Al Jarreau and George Benson, he was very particular and worked them hard to get the desired sound. Working with the egos and the business side of the music industry wore on Graydon, and he stopped working in the late '80s, something he could afford since he continued to receive songwriting royalties and kept his expenses in check. In 2008, he teamed up with ace songwriter Randy Goodrum to form the band JaR, whose first album, Scene 29
, has a Steely Dan feel. Says Graydon: "It's like Steely Dan, because of the following: the lyrics are very intelligent with really cool ideas. The chord changes are very melodic, hinging on jazz sometimes. Melodies are memorable. It's intelligent West Coast pop music. I think it's the best record I've ever been involved with. We spent two years on this, and I didn't mind any minute of it. I couldn't wait to get in the studio every night." (read more in our interview with Jay Graydon