Steely Dan fans you may not want to read on – the meaning behind the band’s name may change the way you look at your album collection forever.
Steely Dan‘s formative members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen first met in 1967 at Bard College in New York. While walking down the street, Becker heard someone practicing an electric guitar from a nearby cafe and was so impressed he had to introduce himself – it was Fagen.
A musical partnership was formed – and after graduating, moving to Brooklyn and trying to shop their songs to other artists the duo got a break from friend Gary Katz. A producer for ABC Records in LA, Gary brought the duo to California and suggested they join up with guitarists Denny Dias and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, drummer Jim Hodder and singer David Palmer to create their own band.
Steely Dan was born – but they still needed a name. As big fans of Beat Generation literature Becker and Fagen looked to the controversial novel Naked Lunch from William S. Burroughs for inspiration. They decided on the name Steely Dan as it was a name used in the book – given to a strap-on. A giant, steam-powered strap-on to be exact – nick named “Steely Dan III from Yokohama.”