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Rikki Don't Lose That Number

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Rikki Don't Lose That Number"
Rikki Don't Lose That Number - Steely Dan.jpg
Single by Steely Dan
from the album Pretzel Logic
B-side"Any Major Dude Will Tell You"
ReleasedApril 25, 1974
GenreSoft rock, yacht rock, soul jazz
Length3:58 (Single version)
4:30 (Album version)
Songwriter(s)Walter Becker, Donald Fagen
Producer(s)Gary Katz
Steely Dan singles chronology
"My Old School"
"Rikki Don't Lose That Number"
"Pretzel Logic"

"Rikki Don't Lose That Number" is a single released in 1974 by rock/jazz rock group Steely Dan and the opening track of their third album Pretzel Logic. It was the most successful single of the group's career, peaking at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1974.[1]

The song features Jim Gordon on drums, as does the bulk of the Pretzel Logic album. The guitar solo is by Jeff "Skunk" Baxter who would soon go on to join The Doobie Brothers.

Victor Feldman's flapamba[2] (a variant of the marimba) introduction to the song, which opens the album, is cut from the original ABC single version. The MCA single reissue (backed with "Pretzel Logic") includes the flapamba intro but fades out just before the actual end of the track. The introductory riff is an almost direct copy[citation needed] of the intro of Horace Silver's jazz classic "Song for My Father".[3]


Reviewing the single for AllMusic, Stewart Mason said:

Just to clear up a generation's worth of rumors about the lyrics of "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," Walter Becker stated for the record in a 1985 interview in the pages of Musician that the "number" in question was not slang for a marijuana cigarette ("send it off in a letter to yourself," supposedly a way to safely transport one's dope back before the post office abolished general delivery mail, was held up as the key line), and an uncharacteristically forthcoming Donald Fagen has similarly revealed that the "Rikki" in question was simply a woman he'd had a crush on in college. It says something about Steely Dan's reputation as obscurantists that even a straightforward lost-love song like "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" could be so widely over-interpreted. ... It's unsurprising that "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" ended up becoming Steely Dan's biggest commercial hit ... as it's one of the group's most gentle and accessible songs.[4]

Billboard described it as a "catchy, almost tango-like tune."[5]




Chart performance

Cover versions

  • 1983 – Kenji Omura recorded his version of this song on his fourth album Gaijin Heaven.[13]
  • 1984 – Tom Robinson recorded his version for the album Hope and Glory.
  • 1992 – Hank Marvin did an instrumental of the song on his album Into the Light.
  • 1994 – Far Corporation made a cover of the song for their album Solitude.
  • 2007 – Chuck Loeb did an instrumental cover of the song on his album Presence.
  • May 2012 – indie pop trio Hospitality performed a version of the song for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.[14]

Usage in media


  1. ^ Steely Dan US chart history, Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  2. ^ "Pretzel Logic Album". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  3. ^ "Song for My Father | 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  4. ^ "Rikki Don't Lose That Number - Steely Dan - Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard. April 27, 1974. p. 55. Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  6. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5072a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  7. ^ "Steely Dan Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  8. ^ "Steely Dan Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Top 100 1974-08-03". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  10. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1974/Top 100 Songs of 1974". Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  12. ^ "Top 100 Year End Charts: 1974". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  13. ^ Kenji Omura – Gaijin Heaven at Discogs
  14. ^ "Hospitality covers Steely Dan". Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  15. ^ "Totally Random Tune At Noon - Steely Dan - Rikki Don't Lose That Number". Sunny 95. Retrieved 2021-03-09.

External links

This page was last edited on 21 April 2021, at 14:35
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