Steely Dan – Hey Nineteen

I want to make an announcement (clears throat) Saturday I will have something different…I will be interviewing a Disc Jockey…he will answer some of my and other blogger’s questions that I requested.  He has been kind of enough to do this through email.

This song will always be linked to John Lennon to me. The reason for this is right after John was murdered this was huge and on the charts. I listened to the radio religiously back then and got to know this one well.

Steely Dan were essentially the duo Donald Fagen (vocals & keyboards) and Walter Becker (guitar & bass) who formed the partnership in 1972 and used an ever-changing cycle of musicians. They took their moniker from the name of a female sex toy featured in Naked Lunch by William Burroughs.

Becker and Fagen parted ways in 1980, leaving “Hey Nineteen” un-played until their  1993 reunion.

The song peaked at #10 in the Billboard 100 and #5 in Canada in 1981. The song was on the album Gaucho which peaked at #9 in the Billboard Album Charts, #18 in Canada, and #27 in the UK in 1980.

From Songfacts

In this song, an older man is seducing a 19-year-old girl. He’s a bit conflicted, as her inexperience frustrates him when she doesn’t even remember Aretha Franklin. However, on this particular night and with the help of some Cuervo Gold tequila, everything is wonderful.

Steely Dan used a variety of musicians on their albums. On this track, Hugh McCracken played guitar, Rick Marotta was on drums, and Victor Feldman and Steve Gadd added percussion. Walter Becker also added guitar, and Donald Fagen played the Fender Rhodes electric piano and the synthesizer.

Roger Nichols, who was one of the engineers on the Gaucho sessions, fashioned a drum machine they used on this track. Dubbed “Wendel,” it was one of the first of its kind, and it allowed them to record Rick Marotta’s drum parts and play them back with perfect precision.

The LM-1, which was the first programable drum machine sold to the public that sampled real instruments, was introduced in 1980, the year Gaucho was released, so many assumed that’s what Steely Dan used. They didn’t, but there was a connection. Roger Linn, who created the LM-1, told Songfacts: “By coincidence, Roger and I had both bought our first computers in around 1975 at a place called Computer Power and Light in Studio City, an area of Los Angeles. Wendel used that same computer and a early but high-quality digital audio interface, running a program he had written to enter simple looping beats on the screen. A very creative and talented guy.”

Hey Nineteen

Way back when in sixty seven
I was the dandy of Gamma Chi
Sweet things from Boston
So young and willing
Moved down to Scarsdale
And where the hell am I

Hey nineteen
No we can’t dance together
No we can’t talk at all
Please take me along
When you slide on down

Hey nineteen
That’s ‘Retha Franklin
She don’t remember the Queen of Soul
It’s hard times befallen
The sole survivors
She thinks I’m crazy
But I’m just growing old

Hey nineteen
No we got nothing in common
No we can’t talk at all
Please take me along
When you slide on down

Nice
Sure looks good
Mmm mmm mmm
Skate a little roller now

The Cuervo Gold
The fine Colombian
Make tonight a wonderful thing
Say it again

The Cuervo Gold
The fine Colombian
Make tonight a wonderful thing

The Cuervo Gold
The fine Colombian
Make tonight a wonderful thing

No we can’t dance together
No we can’t talk at all

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

24 thoughts on “Steely Dan – Hey Nineteen”

  1. Love it, as I do most SD singles. Perfectly played. By time I hit about 40 I could relate to it too…those 19 year olds sure can look nice but not much to talk about with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It took me a while to like them but I really do. The music is so smooth…I then started to appreciate that and became a fan.

      Like

      1. They started out with more of an edge, but as Fagen and Becker reimagined Steely Dan as a studio band, I think they smoothed out, added more jazz elements, and got a little more cryptic with their lyrics. “Aja” was a minor masterpiece, as I think “Gaucho” could have been. I think Fagen and Becker were tired of the whole Steely Dan thing, though Fagen put out several solo albums that sounded like a continuation of the band…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool dude…Oh I didnt’ tell you….I enjoyed last Friday…I missed about 15 minutes that I will catch up on. He is a really cool guy…basically a fan like us that can write.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You should check out his site Max. He’s an awesome writer of like 95 books and 7900 reviews! Man is a machine. Thanks for watching.
        On the 29th me and Tbone are back on together with Mike and Kev. We will be debuting a new Current River Video. Basically a World premier video. lol

        Liked by 1 person

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