Daily Archives: March 4, 2018

Throwback: Steely Dan-Black Cow

Steely Dan’s combination of jazz and rock was singular among the ’70s pop scene. “Black Cow” is from Aja, their sixth studio album and most popular in their discography. The smooth but complex arrangements, prickly lyrics and a personnel that included the best studio musicians including Wayne Shorter and Bernard Purdie made Aja a laidback but depressing excursion. “Black Cow” was about a drug-addicted woman who has many lovers she uses as an escape. The influences of jazz and R&B created a new lane of their own in the rock world.  Aja’s catchiness helped it become one of the first albums to reach platinum status and it earned Steely Dan recognition as songwriters. Aja is also recognized for its superior production values. “Black Cow” is another song to have a whole other life as a constantly used sample in hip-hop. Walter Becker passed in 2017 and Donald Fagan continues to tour as Steely Dan. 

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