Sunday 1 April 2012

Steely Dan: Hey Nineteen

Way back when in 67
I was the dandy
Of Gamma Chi
Sweet things from Boston
So young and willing
Moved down to Scarsdale
And where the hell am I

Hey Nineteen
No we can't dance together
No we can't talk at all
Please take me along
When you slide on down

Hey Nineteen
That's 'Retha Franklin
She don't remember the Queen of Soul
It's hard times befallen
The sole survivors
She thinks I'm crazy
But I'm just growing old

Hey Nineteen
No we got nothing in common
No we can't talk at all
Please take me along
When you slide on down

The Cuervo Gold
The fine Colombian
Make tonight a wonderful thing
We can't dance together
No we can't talk at all


Uploaded on Aug 2, 2010 by Circumpunk

Wikipedia: Hey Nineteen
"Hey Nineteen" is a song by American jazz rock band Steely Dan, written by members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, and released on their 1980 album Gaucho.

According to one reviewer's interpretation, the song "was about a middle-aged man's disappointment with a young lover ("Hey Nineteen, that's 'Retha Franklin / She don't remember the Queen of Soul / It's hard times befallen the sole survivors / She thinks I'm crazy but I'm just growing old")." Other reviews felt that the song struck a nerve with the aging baby boomer generation transition from the freewheeling 1960s and 1970s to the conservative 1980s. In a story related to Australian journalist Josh Robertson in 2010 by Berklee College of Music professor Stephen Webber, Webber's friend (and Gaucho mix engineer) Elliot Scheiner had complained during the making of the album of his date with a much younger woman who did not know who the singer Aretha Franklin was.

All music: Hey Nineteen by Steely Dan
Song Review by Stewart Mason
In a career filled with casually cruel songs, "Hey Nineteen" is probably Steely Dan's most overtly mean lyric, since it takes careful aim at the biggest neurosis of the duo's primary audience and pulls the trigger: "Hey Nineteen" was the song that finally came right out and told the baby boomers that not only were they not kids anymore, but that the kids of 1980 thought they were a bunch of boring old farts. The song's narrator is with a nubile young lass of the titular age, putting on the same moves that had worked on the sorority girls "way back when in '67" and getting nowhere at all. (The final insult is that the girl in question doesn't even recognize an Aretha Franklin song!) The song's ending is a typically ambiguous lyrical effort for the Dan: we're (quite deliberately) left unclear as to whether the singer's been left alone with "the Cuervo Gold/the fine Colombian" to which the ironically smooth L.A.-style backing vocalists led by King of Mellow Michael McDonald chant praise, or whether he's just resorted to getting the girl drunk and stoned enough to stop resisting. It's a wonder Randy Newman didn't write this song, but Newman probably wouldn't have thought of the possibly unconscious self-satire of the song's arrangement -- which is so hermetically airtight and studiedly slick that it verges upon the mechanical -- or the lackadaisical ultra-mellow drift of the lazy melody. We can hope that they were kidding, anyway.

Wikipedia: Gaucho (album)
Gaucho is the seventh studio album by the American Jazz rock band Steely Dan, released in 1980. The sessions for Gaucho represented the peak of Steely Dan's recording studio perfectionism and obsessive recording technique. To record the album, the band used at least 42 different musicians, spent over a year in the studio, and far exceeded the original monetary advance given to the band by their record label.

Hal Leonard's Best of Steely Dan alleges that Gaucho is "a concept album of seven interrelated tales about would-be hipsters." The lyrics of "Hey Nineteen" are about an aging hipster attempting to pick up a girl who is so young that she does not recognize "'Retha Franklin" playing on the stereo. The song closes with the ambiguous line, "The Cuervo Gold, the fine Colombian, make tonight a wonderful thing." The end of "Hey Nineteen" leaves it up to the listener whether the narrator is consuming tequila and drugs with the love interest, or if he is in fact alone.

Wikipedia: Steely Dan
Steely Dan is an American rock band; its core members are Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. The band's popularity peaked in the late 1970s, with the release of seven albums blending elements of jazz, rock, funk, R&B, and pop. Rolling Stone has called them "the perfect musical antiheroes for the Seventies."

The band's music is characterized by complex jazz-influenced structures and harmonies played by Becker and Fagen along with a revolving cast of rock and pop studio musicians. Steely Dan's "cerebral, wry and eccentric" lyrics, often filled with sharp sarcasm, touch upon such themes as drugs, love affairs, and crime. The pair is well-known for their near-obsessive perfectionism in the recording studio, with one notable example being that Becker and Fagen used at least 42 different studio musicians, 11 engineers, and took over a year to record the tracks that resulted in 1980's Gaucho — an album that contains only seven songs.

Steely Dan toured from 1972 to 1974, but in 1975 became a purely studio-based act. The late 1970s saw the group release a series of moderately successful singles and albums. They disbanded in 1981, and throughout most of the next decade, Fagen and Becker remained largely inactive in the music world. During this time, the group steadily built and maintained "a cult following." In 1993, the group resumed playing live concerts; later Steely Dan released two albums of new material, the first of which earned a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. They have sold more than 30 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001.

official web site: Steely Dan
[latest news, concert dates, lyrics to all songs]

official web site: FAQ: origin of the name
Since both of [Fagen and Becker] were avid readers of 1950's "Beat" literature, they decided to name the band "Steely Dan" after a dildo in William Burroughs' "Naked Lunch."

Some personal notes
Why do I write a blog and post these music entries? Simple, I like music. Even though the length of the cord on my earphones is limited, I do occasionally dance beside my computer desk. FYI: The earphones give a far better sound quality than the small laptop speakers and I dance much better with good sound.

Why do I put in these references? As I've said elsewhere in this blog, yes, I'm stating "my opinion" but I like to think I can prove it and I have the references to back me up. (see my blog: What the @#$%^* do I know?) But for these musical entries, I'm offering you, the reader, an opportunity to discover some interesting points about this great music. There are some fabulously talented people in the world and they deserve credit for their extraodinary abilities.

By the way, since I am using Wikipedia in my references, I started this past year to make a monetary donation to the non profit organisation. Unfortunately I can't get a tax credit for this but no matter, I think founder Jimmy Wales is doing a good thing in the world and supporting this is more important than my tax credit. I'm not rich but I can afford to support worthwhile projects. I also give blood regularly. Yes, I'm just that type of guy. :-) Let's all pay it forward. "It will come back to you." (This line is in the Steely Dan song "Peg".)


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