Any Major Dude Will Tell You
|"Any Major Dude Will Tell You"|
|Single by Steely Dan|
|from the album Pretzel Logic|
|A-side||"Rikki Don't Lose That Number"|
|Released||April 25, 1974|
|Genre||Soft rock, soul jazz, folk rock|
|Songwriter(s)||Walter Becker, Donald Fagen|
"Any Major Dude Will Tell You" is a song written by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker that was first released by Steely Dan on their 1974 album Pretzel Logic. It was also released as the B-side of the first single from that album "Rikki Don't Lose That Number." It was later released on several Steely Dan compilation albums.
Lyrics and music
Steely Dan FAQ author Anthony Robustelli describes "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" as one of Steely Dan's smoothest songs and an exemplar of the 1970s California sound." The lyrics attempt to comfort the singer's friend who is going through a difficult time. The editors of Goldmine describe the refrain as beginning "with encouraging lyrics from one friend to another in a time of need, 'Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend, any minor world that breaks apart falls together again.'" Steely Dan biographer Brian Sweet describes the theme as one of "madness and insecurity." John Totten explains that the friend the singer is addressing has gone mad and is in distress for some undisclosed reason. AllMusic critic Stewart Mason feels that the song works particularly well because the "wise-ass" attitude taken by the singer "put sorrow in perspective without minimizing it."
One of the lines in the song refers to a "squonk's tears." The musicians did not know what a squonk is, and during the recording would ask each other in order to try to find out without revealing their ignorance to Fagen and Becker. It turned out that a squonk is a mythical creature that when hunted could cry itself into a pool of tears when cornered. Totten believes that the singer is comparing himself to the squonk, and by doing so he humbles himself, giving the comforting message credibility and allowing him to express optimism that things will improve in the future with lines like "Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again".
The melody is in a minor key and the instrumentation includes Fagen's keyboards as well as multiple acoustic guitar parts. Fagen sings the lead vocal. Denny Dias has a guitar solo that was written by Becker and Jeff Baxter. Part of Dias' repeating guitar line required vibrato, but since Dias does not use vibrato in his playing he handed the guitar to Baxter to play the last five notes where vibrato was needed. Mason describes the music as "simple and utterly lovely."
- Donald Fagen – lead vocals, electric piano, background vocals
- Walter Becker – Background vocals
- Jeff Baxter – electric guitar
- Denny Dias – electric guitar
- Dean Parks – acoustic guitar
- David Paich – electric piano
- Chuck Rainey - Bass
- Jim Gordon – drums
AllMusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine described "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" as "gorgeous." Stewart Mason described it as one of the group's "most underrated and appealing songs." The Brownsville Herald contributor Bobby Alvarez described it as "a good number" and particularly praised the vocals. Rolling Stone magazine critic Bid Scoppa described it as being at worst a "fine oddball pop [song]...which would make a terrific single." Something Else! critic Victor Aaron also felt that the song would have made a hit single, and noted that it did receive some radio airplay when it was released as the b-side of "Rikki Don't Lose That Number." "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" was included on several Steely Dan compilation albums, including Greatest Hits in 1978, Citizen Steely Dan in 1993 and Showbiz Kids: The Steely Dan Story, 1972–1980 in 2000.
Wilco covered "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" for the 2000 movie Me, Myself & Irene. Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter Dave Ferman describes their cover as being loving and faithful. Tom Robinson inserted a verse from "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" into his cover of "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" on his 1984 album Hope and Glory.
- Robustelli, Anthony (2017). Steely Dan FAQ: All That's Left to Know About This Elusive Band. Backbeat Books. pp. 99–100. ISBN 978-1495025129.
- Aaron, S. Victor (August 7, 2011). "Steely Dan Sunday, "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" (1974)". Something Else!. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
- Mason, Stewart. "Any Major Dude Will Tell You". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
- "Fabulous Flip Sides In Memoriam – Steely Dan's Walter Becker". Goldmine. September 4, 2017. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
- Sweet, Brian (2016). Steely Dan: Reelin' in the Years. Omnibus. pp. 99–103, 298. ISBN 978-1468313147.
- Totten, John (October 24, 2011). "The Comfort Food of Pretzel Logic: Regulating Emotion With Steely Dan". The Other Journal. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
- Mann, Brent (2005). Blinded by the Lyrics: Behind the Lines of Rock and Roll's Most Baffling Songs. Citadel. pp. 66=67. ISBN 9780806526959.
- Robustelli, Anthony (2017). Steely Dan FAQ : all that's left to know about this elusive band. WI. p. 99. ISBN 9781495025129. OCLC 1018394177.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Pretzel Logic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
- Alvarez, Bobby (April 2, 1974). "Today's Youth Must Replace Routine with Initiative". The Brownsville Herald. p. 9 – via newspapers.com.
- Scoppa, Bud (May 23, 1974). "Pretzel Logic". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
- Elias, Jason. "Greatest Hits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Citizen Steely Dan". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Showbiz Kids: The Steely Dan Story, 1972–1980". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
- Ferman, Dave (June 23, 2000). "Now Playing: Hot Summer Soundtracks". Santa Cruz Sentinel. p. 20. Retrieved 2017-05-18 – via newspapers.com.
- Rene, Sheila (November 23, 1984). "Rock Report". Santa Cruz Sentinel. p. 11. Retrieved 2017-05-18 – via newspapers.com.