Reelin' In The Years

Album: Can't Buy A Thrill (1972)
Charted: 11
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song is about recalling times with a girlfriend and a romantic breakup. It's one of the most popular Steely Dan songs, but also one of their least favorite. In Rolling Stone, September 17, 2009, Donald Fagan said, "It's dumb but effective." Walter Becker added, "It's no fun."
  • Steely Dan are known for their meticulous sound - every note must be perfect. This song is sometimes criticized for bringing on overly polished mainstream '70s music. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Johnny - Los Angeles, CA, for above 2
  • Elliot Randall, who was not a member of Steely Dan, stopped by on an invite from Skunk Baxter while they were recording this and ended up playing the guitar solo. This was one of the first of many times Walter Becker and Donald Fagen would use studio musicians, and by their fourth album, nearly every player was a studio musician. Randall also played on their albums Katy Lied and The Royal Scam. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joshua - Seattle, WA
  • The quadraphonic mix of this song has extra Elliot Randall guitar fills not heard on the familiar stereo version. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Barry Kesten - Bellmore, United States
  • Randall's guitar solo earned high praise from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. According to Classic Rock magazine (January 1999), Page has said it is his favorite guitar solo of all time.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 29

  • Bryan from MichiganJeff from Boston is right. Ranks in top solos ever.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 4th 1973, "Reelin' in the Years" by Steely Dan entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #82; and nine weeks later on May 6th, 1973 it peaked at #11 {for 3 weeks} and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    Between 1972 and 1981 the group had fifteen Top 100 records; with three making the Top 10, "Do It Again" {#6 in 1973}, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" {#4 in 1974}, and "Hey Nineteen" {#10 in 1981}...
    They just missed having five Top 10 records when "Peg" {1978} and "Reelin' in the Years" both peaked at #11.
  • Jeff B from Boston, MaElliot Randall's solo on this is arguably one of the best guitar solos in rock history. Rather than standing out like a narcissistic thumb, like most solos, it works perfectly within the composition, with not a single waste note.
  • Joe from Fairbanks , AkJimmy Paige once said that the guitar solo was one of his favorites.
  • Lee from Huntsville, Aldonald fagen went on to have a successful solo career...probably most notably with the release of the album "the nightfly",which included the hit single "i.g.y.". if you haven't heard it you should give it a spin...really good music like this classic! 12-09.
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaMike,It was "Naked Lunch" a book by William Burroughs....
  • Mike from Stevenson Ranch, Casteely dan was the name of a dildo but i cant remember what movie it was in can anybody remember it
  • Stu from Philly, PaOne of their best. Robin in Springfield - did you also notice they changed the bassline in the chorus? On the studio version, i'm pretty sure the song is in A, and it goes G-A, while on the live version it goes G-F#. Not a bad change, and it lets us have two versions!
  • Andy from Rockaway , NyDoes anyone know exactly how many musicians have contributed to the Dan's tunes over the years?
  • Liam from Windsor, CaLOL tom! i HAVE thought the verse melodies sound a lot like 'boys are back in town'. i definately like this song better tho...
  • Robin from Springfield, OrTruly a classic song, and one of my favorite guitar solos. Very interesting chord progressions; if you've got a piano, try to figure them out some time! Check out the version on their Alive In America album - it adds some little twists, although I was a little disappointed that the horns simplified some riffs, and they didn't bother trying to replicate the original guitar solo. But still very worth listening to, as is the rest of the album.
  • Michael from San Diego, CaClassic rock tune that is included on several movie soundtracks, often used at nostalgic points in movies when characters are recalling the good ol' days!
  • Thaddeus from Seven Hills (originally), OhWhat drives me nuts is that I heard that song on the "AM Gold" stations in the early seventies home recuperating from frequent colds and flus (actually have a classical music upbringing) and it seems to me one version was sung by a WOMAN! your thoughts??

    Ahh... The Dan Stevie Wonder Ozark Mountain boys, Carol King, I tell ya they don't make music like THAT anymore!
  • Michael from San Diego, Ca"After all the things we've done & seen you find another man, the things you think are useless I can't understand!"......I think most men with any kind of age or life experiences can truly relate to these lyrics!
  • Lou from Scranton, PaElliot Randall dropped by because Steely Dan conceptually was about studio musicians. Becker and Fagan could mix and match players to get the sonic texture they wanted without being limited to the talent within a band. It was the brainchild of Gary Katz who was a producer for ABC records. Becker and fagan were staff writers in the "Brill Building" backing up Jay and the Americans. Barbra Striesand recorded one of their songs and they got noticed. David Palmer was brought in to do most of the vocals on the first album, because Fagan thought his voice not coemrcial sounding enough. Eventually they'd let Palmer go becuase he didn't croon with the feeling Becker and Fagan intended for the songs when they wrote them. During Countdown to Ecstacy they began to function like a band, becuase of constent touring. They got off that jag by Katy Lied, and stopped touring for alomst 20 years.
  • Doug from Edmonton, CanadaOne of the most unique US bands.........
  • Ryan from Marion, IaTom, now that you mention it, they do... Anyway, awesome song, one of my favorites by Steely Dan.
  • Tom from East Lyme, CtDoes anyone else think that the verses sound a LOT like the verses from "The Boys are Back in Town"?
  • Joni from New York, NyI agree with you, Dave. Superb. A complex work.
  • Jim from Toledo, Ohyea, baxter was with the doobies, too. good song
  • Brian from Sydney, CanadaJust superb is right!! Great song-perfect! The music, the production, the lyrics, the musicanship- a lesson in pop music sophistication.
  • Joshua from Eaton, OhI absolutely love Steely Dan. They have a great sound and are amazing songwriters....correct me if i'm wrong but didn't skunk baxter play with the doobie's too?
  • Jacob from St. Louis, MoTerrific song...although you'd be hard-pressed to find a real dud among these two geniuses' collection.
  • John from Fort Worth, TxI am 45 years old. I have always liked the sound of this song. Over the many years I understood only some of the lyrics. Thanks to this site I have been able to learn the lyrics of the verses. They are very deep.
    John, TX
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaSlick....great, jazzy feel....a real musicians song.
  • Charles from Monterey, CaElliot Randall is sensational here; I've never heard another hot lick from him, have you?
    Charles, Monterey CA
  • Dave from Sydney, AustraliaJust supurb.
  • Mike from Denver, CoAwesome solo work on this tune. I actually always thought this one of the least-polished, more rocking tunes that Steely Dan ever did. One of the best bands ever, IMHO.
  • Meg from Br, LaGreat song... I love their sound. I wish they were more well known because i definatley think they are better than alot of other bands out there that everyone knows about... It's sad really.
see more comments