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From The YouTube Music Video Archives: My Old School

This 1973 performance comes from American Bandstand, I think, although it sounds exactly like the version first released on Countdown to Ecstasy. There aren’t all that many live recordings from Steely Dan’s early years, so this is something of a treasure. According to Wikipedia, the lyrics are based on an actual incident:

The song My Old School was reportedly inspired by an incident during some of the band members high school attendance. In its March 24, 2006 edition, Entertainment Weekly details a return trip to Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York by Donald Fagen, in which he describes a raid by sheriff’s deputies in May 1969. Fagen, his girlfriend Dorothy White, Steely Dan bandmate Walter Becker, and some 50 other students were arrested. Charges were dropped, but the harassment was the origin of the grudge alluded to in “My Old School”. Fagen was reportedly so upset with the school being complicit with the arrests that he refused to attend graduation. The same article speculates that a Bard professor’s wife, Rikki Ducornet, was the inspiration for “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”.

The song has a great opening verse, which must have been meant for Dorothy:

I remember the thirty-five sweet goodbyes / When you put me on the Wolverine / Up to Annandale / It was still September / When your daddy was quite surprised / To find you with the working girls / In the county jail / I was smoking with the boys upstairs / When I heard about the whole affair / I said oh no / William and Mary won’t do . . .

And the guitar solo by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter that leads the song out is just amazing. So watch it through to the end.

Comments

  1. Rufus McCain says

    Bummer, “video no longer available.” Your post must’ve alerted the authorities.

  2. Quin Finnegan says

    Hmm… I’m still able to watch it. Most of it anyway – that amazing guitar solo has been chopped off.

    Damn you, Dick Clarke!!

  3. Rufus McCain says

    Weird. I can watch it now. I swear I got that message earlier, though. Maybe the authorities had a change of heart.

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