Steely Dan’s Lost 1979 Song Released

Steely Dan’s Lost 1979 Song Released | Society Of Rock Videos

via The Midnight Special / Youtube

An online discovery reveals that Steely Dan’s elusive track “The Second Arrangement” has resurfaced. Back in December 1979, while working on material for their 1980 album Gaucho, the band had recorded most of the song, needing only a few minor additions to finish it.

However, when they returned to the studio the following morning, they were dismayed to find that the tapes containing “The Second Arrangement” had been unintentionally erased.

Despite attempting to recreate the lost recording, Donald Fagen, reportedly dissatisfied with the new version, ultimately chose to discard the entire song. Over the years, this incident has held legendary status among Steely Dan enthusiasts.

Long-Awaited Studio Version Released

Since its creation, a studio version of “The Second Arrangement” had never been officially released. However, bootleg versions circulated among fans, and Steely Dan performed the song live once in 2011. Recently, Expanding Dan, a Substack newsletter dedicated to Steely Dan, shared the complete recording of “The Second Arrangement” in its original form before the original tape was erased.

Roger Nichols, the band’s longtime engineer, often made rough mixes of tracks on cassette tapes as part of his studio work with Steely Dan. Nichols, who also served as the band’s unofficial historian, kept the tape along with a substantial collection of Steely Dan-related material. After Nichols passed away in 2011, his adult daughters, Cimcie and Ashlee, inherited his belongings.

Aware of the history behind “The Second Arrangement,” Cimcie and Ashlee came across their father’s cassette tape of the song. In 2020, Cimcie shared a picture of the tape on Facebook and was surprised by the immense response it received from Steely Dan fans.

The tape garnered significant attention, and Cimcie became overwhelmed by Steely Dan fans reaching out to her. Realizing the significance of the tape, she wanted to ensure its proper treatment and not simply play it on a basic cassette player.

Together with Ashlee, she took the tape to a professional recording facility that successfully extracted the contents, including “The Second Arrangement” and a mix of “Were You Blind That Day,” which later became “Third World Man.”

For those interested, “The Second Arrangement” can be exclusively listened to on the Expanding Dan website.

To commemorate the tape’s significance, it has been framed alongside the sheet music of “The Second Arrangement” and will soon be up for auction. Cimcie and Ashlee are also working on a documentary about their father, and the proceeds from the auction will contribute to production costs and the expenses already incurred for restoring and transferring the audio from the tape.

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