How would you categorize Steely Dan?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Algo_Rhythm, Aug 2, 2020 at 2:51 PM.

  1. Algo_Rhythm

    Algo_Rhythm Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Steven Colbert had a little joke on his show about two weeks ago where Steely Dan was the punch line. I won't go into details since there's politics involved but he implied that Steely Dan were a 70's prog rock band. Anyway, as a big fan of prog rock I won't say their name never comes up and to be honest many prog fans do like them(they have grown on me although I'm not a super huge fan)but they aren't someone you here referred to as prog rock(or progressive rock)very often. Many people also take issue with them being lumped in with fusion(sometimes called jazz rock fusion). I would say they are maybe jazz rock(if that is indeed different than regular fusion)but people have a hard time with that too. Calling them a straight up pop band doesn't seem right either(I wouldn't do that with Chicago or even Toto either who both seem similar to SD in some ways). So what exactly are they and how would you categorize them?
  2. manxman

    manxman Forum Resident

    Isle of Man
    Soft rock with jazzy edges.

    I definitely wouldn't call them prog.
  3. Johnny Action

    Johnny Action Forum President

    Kailua, Hawai’i
    They are so unique that I don’t think they can really be categorized, at least not in a useful manner. Let’s just agree to call them “Steely Dan.”
  4. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

  5. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic

    Britain, Europe
    They’re hard to categorise. Easier to categorise by what they’re not.

    They’re not prog.

    They’re (definitely) not soft rock

    They’re not (really) jazz-rock.

    They’re hardly fusion (no-one’s ever going to confuse them with Weather Report or Return To Forever, are they?)

    I could make an argument for classifying them as ‘Americana’, in that they’re music evinces only American influences. But a ‘board decision’ seems to have been taken that ‘Americana’ can only refer to American folk/country.
  6. ScaryMercedes

    ScaryMercedes Forum Residents

    Virginia, USA
    They're the same genre as They Might Be Giants.
  7. boboquisp

    boboquisp Magic Prism Eye

    NE Ohio
    Steely Dan is it's own catagory.
    Keith V, BrentB, ODShowtime and 18 others like this.
  8. MikeManaic61

    MikeManaic61 Forum Resident

    They're a rock band with some jazzy elements.
  9. SG47

    SG47 Forum Resident

    Los Angeles
    I don't really feel the need to put music into all these different sub genres to be honest. I know many people do, and that's fine. I just really enjoy their music.
  10. If I Can Dream_23

    If I Can Dream_23 Forum Resident

    United States
  11. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    At the start I'd say Steely Dan was a rock band, as much as the Doobies or Chicago. By the time you get to later albums like Aja I feel you have a jazz band that happens to be marketed through rock channels. If a jazz band had come out with Aja as their first album on Blue Note or such, nobody would have quibbled with them being called a jazz band. Really, like various other interesting bands, the Dan exist at the intersection of various things.

    P.S. Saw them in Syracuse last fall (2019). Best of the 3 times I've seen them, it was really excellent. Took my kid up from Cornell for the show, and occasionally will hear "Peg" or something coming out of the bedroom :righton:
    hiterss, Bart, Hall Cat and 1 other person like this.
  12. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo

    California, USA
  13. dockofthebay

    dockofthebay Forum Resident

    I believe the genre is called Perfection.
  14. Jamsterdammer

    Jamsterdammer Forum Resident

    1) jazzy soulful pop rock
    2) One of the best bands ever
  15. pdenny

    pdenny 18-Year SHTV Participation Trophy Recipient

    Hawthorne CA
    Too cool for Steven Colbert, obviously.
  16. Jackson

    Jackson Forum Resident

    MA, USA
    I would categorized them as being LIKE NOBODY ELSE.
  17. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    "Jazz rock" works, but a more accurate description would be "singer-songwriter yacht rock/AOR with significant jazz influences and some prog tendencies."

    "Jazz rock" is not at all the same thing as fusion. Jazz rock is rock at its core, but it has significant jazz influences while not having enough other characteristics of prog to count as prog. For example, along structures tend to be pretty traditional/ "conservative."

    Fusion on the other hand is the jazz-based--so jazz at its core--side of the progressive rock coin. In other words, it has all of the characteristics of progressive rock, it's just the jazz-rooted side of those ideas rather than the rock -rooted side.
  18. Jackson

    Jackson Forum Resident

    MA, USA
    I think the've always been above most people's heads, apparently that includes Colbert.
    Dog Ear and hi_watt like this.
  19. Desolation Row

    Desolation Row Forum Resident

    I characterize them the way they characterized themselves: faux faux-jazz.
  20. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    near Tampa, FL
    I thought they are perfect example of Yacht Rock.
  21. Say It Right

    Say It Right Not for the Hearing Impaired

    Niagara Falls
    hi_watt likes this.
  22. bamaaudio

    bamaaudio Forum Resident

    It depends who you ask. Some might consider them "Dad rock," "Yacht rock," "Soft rock," etc. Solid band with a smooth sound.
    Jarleboy, moj and Algo_Rhythm like this.
  23. Jackson

    Jackson Forum Resident

    MA, USA
    If i thought they were "ever" yacht rock, i wouldn't have anything to do with them.
  24. Freedom Rider

    Freedom Rider Forum Resident

    Sophisticated elevator music for people who hate elevator music

    This is not a dig btw -I think SD are brilliant in many ways.
  25. zither

    zither Forum Lodger

    An 'under the counter' toy strictly for adults.
    slovell, Dog Ear, ODShowtime and 2 others like this.

Share This Page