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Katy Lied
Steely Dan-Katy Lied.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1975
RecordedNovember 1974–January 1975
StudioABC, Los Angeles
ProducerGary Katz
Steely Dan chronology
Pretzel Logic
Katy Lied
The Royal Scam
Singles from Katy Lied
  1. "Black Friday"
    Released: 1975
  2. "Bad Sneakers"
    Released: September 1975

Katy Lied is the fourth studio album by American rock band Steely Dan, released in 1975 by ABC Records. It was certified gold and peaked at No. 13 on the US charts.[1] The single "Black Friday" charted at No. 37.[2]

The album was the first after the disbandment of the original Steely Dan quintet; most of the original members had departed during a rift over touring and recording schedules. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, who had been increasingly using session musicians in the studio on prior albums, continued on with numerous prominent Los Angeles–area studio musicians. This album marks the first appearance of singer Michael McDonald on a Steely Dan album. Jeff Porcaro, then only 20 years old, played drums on all the songs except "Any World (That I'm Welcome To)", which features session drummer Hal Blaine. It also marked the first appearance of Larry Carlton, who played guitar on "Daddy Don't Live in That New York City No More".

Band leaders Becker and Fagen were dissatisfied with the album's sound quality because of an equipment malfunction with the then-new dbx noise reduction system. The group has claimed that the damage was mostly repaired after consulting with the engineers at dbx, but Fagen and Becker still refused to listen to the completed album.[citation needed]

The album was reissued by MCA Records after ABC Records was acquired by MCA in 1979.


The album cover features a picture of a katydid, a "singing" (stridulating) insect related to crickets and grasshoppers. This is a pun on the album's title, which is paraphrased from a line of "Doctor Wu": "Katy lies, you can see it in her eyes".

The track "Black Friday", which was released as the first single from the album, relates the story of a crooked speculator who makes his fortune and absconds to Australia. Muswellbrook, a town in New South Wales, was chosen to fit in with the lyric, as Fagen later explained: "It was the place most far away from LA we could think of ... and, of course it fitted the metre of the song and rhymed with book". The track features Michael Omartian on piano and David Paich on Hohner electric piano.[3]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[4]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[5]
Christgau's Record GuideA–[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[7]
The Great Rock Discography8/10[8]
MusicHound Rock4/5[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[11]
Tom Hull – on the WebA[12]

Reviewing for The Village Voice in 1975, Robert Christgau said Katy Lied may be Steely Dan's "biggest" album, but he found it "slightly disappointing" on a musical level, citing the loss of lead guitarist Skunk Baxter and what he perceived as "cool, cerebral, one-dimensional" jazz guitar influences. He nonetheless admitted to playing the record frequently[13] and named it the third best album of the year for the 1975 Pazz & Jop critics poll,[14] where it finished sixth best.[15] John Mendelsohn was more critical in Rolling Stone, believing that "however immaculately tasteful and intelligent" Steely Dan's music may be in theory, it did not register with him emotionally and remained "exemplarily well-crafted and uncommonly intelligent schlock". Mendelsohn found the lyrics interesting but inscrutable, the musicianship tasteful and well-performed but not stimulating, and Fagen's singing unique-sounding but seemingly passionless.[16]

Katy Lied was later called "anonymous, absolutely impeccable swing-pop" by Rolling Stone's Cameron Crowe, who observed "no cheap displays of human emotion",[17] while Travis Elborough felt it was not on par with 1974's Pretzel Logic or 1977's Aja "but up there as jazz rock staples go".[18] Stephen Thomas Erlewine deemed it a more refined version of Pretzel Logic and "another excellent record" from Steely Dan in his retrospective review for AllMusic.[4] In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Rob Sheffield said the album completed a 1970s trilogy of albums, starting with Countdown to Ecstasy (1973), that was "a rock version of Chinatown, a film noir tour of L.A.'s decadent losers, showbiz kids, and razor boys".[11] Jazz historian Ted Gioia cites it as an example of Steely Dan "proving that pop-rock could equally benefit from a healthy dose of jazz" during their original tenure, which coincided with a period when rock musicians frequently experimented with jazz idioms and techniques.[19]

Track listing

All tracks are written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen.

Side one
1."Black Friday"3:40
2."Bad Sneakers"3:16
3."Rose Darling"2:59
4."Daddy Don't Live in that New York City No More"3:12
5."Doctor Wu"3:59
Side two
6."Everyone's Gone to the Movies"3:41
7."Your Gold Teeth II"4:12
8."Chain Lightning"2:57
9."Any World (That I'm Welcome To)"3:56
10."Throw Back the Little Ones"3:11
Total length:35:25


Steely Dan

Additional musicians




Year Chart Position
1975 Pop Albums 13
1975 UK Albums 13

Pop Singles

Year Single Label & number Position
1975 "Black Friday" (B-side: "Throw Back the Little Ones") ABC 12101 37[2]
1975 "Bad Sneakers" (B-side: "Chain Lightning") ABC 12128 103[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Katy Lied - Steely Dan > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums at AllMusic. Retrieved 27 October 2004.
  2. ^ a b Katy Lied - Steely Dan > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved 27 October 2004.
  3. ^ Sweet, Brian (2000). Steely Dan: Reelin' in the Years. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780711982796.
  4. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Katy Lied at AllMusic. Retrieved 27 October 2004.
  5. ^ Kot, Greg (August 16, 1992). "Thrills, Scams and Nightflys". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: S". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 9, 2019 – via
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Steely Dan". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  8. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (2002). "Steely Dan". The Great Rock Discography. The National Academies. ISBN 1-84195-312-1.
  9. ^ Graff, Gary (1996). "Steely Dan". In Graff, Gary (ed.). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0787610372.
  10. ^ Richardson, Mark (November 20, 2019). "Steely Dan: Katy Lied". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Steely Dan". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon and Schuster. pp. 778–9. ISBN 0743201698.
  12. ^ Hull, Tom (n.d.). "Grade List: Steely Dan". Tom Hull – on the Web. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert (April 21, 1975). "What Kind of a Best Rock and Roll Band in the World Is This?". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert (December 29, 1975). "It's Been a Soft Year for Hard Rock". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  15. ^ Anon. (December 29, 1975). "The 1975 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  16. ^ Mendelsohn, John (May 8, 1975). "Steely Dan Katy Lied > Review". Rolling Stone (186). Archived from the original on December 17, 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
  17. ^ Crowe, Cameron (December 15, 1977). "[no title]". Rolling Stone.
  18. ^ Elborough, Travis (2009). The Vinyl Countdown: The Album from LP to iPod and Back Again. Soft Skull Press. p. 322. ISBN 1593763484.
  19. ^ Gioia, Ted (2011). The History of Jazz. Oxford University Press. p. 332. ISBN 9780199831876.

External links

This page was last edited on 14 April 2021, at 18:48
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