Reelin' In the Years

"Reelin' In the Years" (sometimes "Reeling In the Years") is a song by jazz rock band Steely Dan, released as the second single from their 1972 album, Can't Buy a Thrill. It reached No. 11 in the Billboard charts.[1]

"Reelin' In the Years"
Reeling In The Years 45.jpg
Single by Steely Dan
from the album Can't Buy a Thrill
B-side"Only a Fool Would Say That"
ReleasedMarch 1973
RecordedAugust 1972
StudioThe Village Recorder, Santa Monica, California
GenreJazz rock
Songwriter(s)Walter Becker, Donald Fagen
Producer(s)Gary Katz
Steely Dan singles chronology
"Do It Again"
"Reelin' In the Years"
"Show Biz Kids"
Music video
"Reelin' In the Years" on YouTube

Writing and performanceEdit

The song was written by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker and features Fagen on vocals. In 2009 Rolling Stone described the track as "a prime early example of what would become the Dan’s trademark vibe, marrying a sardonic kiss-off to an ex to a bouncy shuffle groove, and adding on some white-hot guitar dazzlement courtesy of Elliott Randall to bring the whole thing home." In the same interview, Fagen said "It’s dumb but effective," and Becker said "It’s no fun."[2]

Guitar soloEdit

The guitar solo on the original recorded version, by session player Elliott Randall, was recorded in one take.[3] It has reportedly been rated by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page as his favorite solo of all time,[4][5] and he scored it 12/10.[6] The solo was ranked the 40th best guitar solo of all time by the readers of Guitar World magazine.[7][citation needed]

The four-channel quadraphonic mix of the recording has extra lead guitar fills not heard in the more common two-channel stereo version.


On its release in 1973, Billboard said: "Easy sounding guitar solos lead into an easy sounding piano break which supports the voices extolling about culling life's experiences from tears to time."[8]

The song was a No. 11 hit on the Billboard Singles Chart in May 1973. In March 2005, Q magazine placed the recording at No. 95 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.

Chart performanceEdit


The live version on Alive in America includes a saxophone section and backing vocals.

Popular cultureEdit


  1. ^ Steely Dan USA chart history, Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  2. ^ "Steely Dan: 10 Essential Songs". Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Steven Wheeler (1995-06-11). "The Led Zeppelin In-Frequently Murmured Trivia List v1.1". Archived from the original on 2012-02-16.
  5. ^ "Classic Rock Magazine Interview – 1999". Elliott Randall. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "The 100 Best Guitar Solos of All Time - Page 4". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  8. ^ "Radio Action & Pick Singles" (PDF). Billboard. March 3, 1973. p. 102. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  9. ^ "Item Display - RPM Top Singles - Volume 19, No. 18, June 16 1973 - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  10. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 5/26/73". Retrieved 2016-06-25.
  11. ^ "Item Display - RPM Annual - Volume 20, No. 20, December 29 1973 - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  12. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1973/Top 100 Songs of 1973". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  13. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1973". Retrieved 2016-06-25.
  14. ^ Donny & Marie Osmond Opening - "Reelin' In The Years".
  15. ^ "S6E14: Unpacking - The Wonder Years Soundtrack". Tunefind. Retrieved 16 February 2020.

External linksEdit