Any Major Dude Will Tell You

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"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
Recorded 1973
Genre Soft rock, soul jazz, folk rock
Length 3:05
Label ABC
Songwriter(s) Walter Becker, Donald Fagen
Producer(s) Gary Katz

"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 also released on several Steely Dan compilation albums.

Lyrics and music[edit]

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."[1] The lyrics attempt to comfort the singer's friend who is going through a difficult time.[2][3] Steely Dan biographer Brian Sweet describes the theme as one of "madness and insecurity."[4] John Totten explains that the friend the singer is addressing has gone mad and is in distress for some undisclosed reason.[5] 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."[3]

One of the lines in the song refers to a "squonk's tears."[4][5] 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.[4] It turned out that a squonk is a mythical creature that when hunted could cry itself into a pool of tears when cornered.[4][5][6] 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.".[5]

The melody is in a minor key and the instrumentation includes Fagen's keyboards as well as multiple acoustic guitar parts.[3] Fagen sings the lead vocal.[5] Denny Dias has a guitar solo that was written by Becker and Jeff Baxter.[4] Part of Dias' repeating guitar line required vibrato and since Dias does not use vibrato in his playing he would hand the guitar to Baxter to play those last five notes where vibrato was needed.[1][4] Mason describes the music as "simple and utterly lovely."[3]

Reception[edit]

Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine described "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" as "gorgeous."[7] Mason described it as one of the group's "most underrated and appealing songs."[3] Brownsville Herald contributor Bobby Alvarez described it as "a good number" and particularly praised the vocals.[8] Rolling Stone Magazine critic Bid Scoppa described it as being at worst a "fine oddball pop [song]...which would make a terrific single."[9] 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."[2] "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.[10][11][12]

Wilco covered "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" for the 2000 movie Me, Myself & Irene.[4][13] Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter Dave Ferman describes their cover as being loving and faithful.[13] 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.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Robustelli, Anthony (2017). Steely Dan FAQ: All That's Left to Know About This Elusive Band. Backbeat Books. pp. 99–100. ISBN 978-1495025129. 
  2. ^ a b Aaron, S. Victor (August 7, 2011). "Steely Dan Sunday, "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" (1974)". Somthing Else!. Retrieved 2017-05-18. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Mason, Stewart. "Any Major Dude Will Tell You". Allmusic. Retrieved 2017-05-18. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Sweet, Brian (2016). Steely Dan: Reelin' in the Years. Omnibus. pp. 99–103, 298. ISBN 978-1468313147. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Totten, John (October 24, 2011). "The Comfort Food of Pretzel Logic: Regulating Emotion With Steely Dan". The Other Journal. Retrieved 2017-05-18. 
  6. ^ Mann, Brent (2005). Blinded by the Lyrics: Behind the Lines of Rock and Roll's Most Baffling Songs. Citadel. pp. 66=67. ISBN 9780806526959. 
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Pretzel Logic". Allmusic. Retrieved 2017-05-18. 
  8. ^ Alvarez, Bobby (April 2, 1974). "Today's Youth Must Replace Routine with Initiative". The Brownsville Herald. p. 9 – via newspapers.com. 
  9. ^ Scoppa, Bud (May 23, 1974). "Pretzel Logic". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 2017-05-14. 
  10. ^ Elias, Jason. "Greatest Hits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2017-05-18. 
  11. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Citizen Steely Dan". Allmusic. Retrieved 2017-05-18. 
  12. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Showbiz Kids: The Steely Dan Story, 1972–1980". Allmusic. Retrieved 2017-05-18. 
  13. ^ a b Ferman, Dave (June 23, 2000). "Now Playing: Hot Summer Soundtracks". Santa Cruz Sentinel. p. 20. Retrieved 2017-05-18 – via newspapers.com. 
  14. ^ Rene, Sheila (November 23, 1984). "Rock Report". Santa Cruz Sentinel. p. 11. Retrieved 2017-05-18 – via newspapers.com. 

External links[edit]