Reelin' In the Years

"Reelin' In the Years" (sometimes titled "Reeling In the Years") is a song by American rock band Steely Dan, released as the second single from the band's debut album, Can't Buy a Thrill (1972). It reached No. 11 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[2]

"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[1]
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"
"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."[3]

Guitar soloEdit

The guitar solo on the original recorded version, by session player Elliott Randall, was recorded in one take.[4] It has reportedly been rated by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page as his favorite solo of all time,[5][6] and he scored it 12/10.[7] In 2016 the solo was ranked the 40th best guitar solo of all time by the readers of Guitar World magazine.[8]

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


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."[9] Cash Box called it a "winner highlighted by some expert guitar playing."[10]

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.



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[18] Silver 200,000 

  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


Steely DanEdit

Additional personnelEdit


  1. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  2. ^ Steely Dan USA chart history, Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  3. ^ "Steely Dan: 10 Essential Songs". 3 September 2017. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  4. ^ Damian Fanelli (April 23, 2021). "How Elliott Randall Nailed Steely Dan's "Reelin' in the Years" Recording in One Continuous Take". Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  5. ^ Steven Wheeler (1995-06-11). "The Led Zeppelin In-Frequently Murmured Trivia List v1.1". Archived from the original on 2012-02-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ "Classic Rock Magazine Interview – 1999". Elliott Randall. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  7. ^ "Jimmy Page Grades other Guitarists out of 10". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-19. Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  8. ^ "The 100 Best Guitar Solos of All Time - Page 4". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  9. ^ "Radio Action & Pick Singles" (PDF). Billboard. March 3, 1973. p. 102. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  10. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. March 10, 1973. p. 20. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  11. ^ "Item Display - RPM Top Singles - Volume 19, No. 18, June 16 1973 - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  12. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  13. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 5/26/73". Retrieved 2016-06-25.
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2015). The Comparison Book Billboard/Cash Box/Record World 1954-1982. Sheridan Books. ISBN 978-0-89820-213-7.
  15. ^ "Item Display - RPM Annual - Volume 20, No. 20, December 29 1973 - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2017-07-14.
  16. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1973/Top 100 Songs of 1973". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  17. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1973". Retrieved 2016-06-25.
  18. ^ "British single certifications – Steely Dan – Reelin' in the Years". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 7, 2022.

External linksEdit