Steely Dan

My Old School

Song Review by

Like humorist and children's book author Daniel Pinkwater, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker attended the ritzy liberal arts school Bard College in upstate New York in the '60s, and also like Pinkwater, the pair have been publicly mocking the school ever since. "My Old School" is the pair's most overt song about their alma mater, a sarcastically chipper-sounding remembrance of the time Becker and Fagen, along with several dozen other students, found themselves caught up in a trumped-up drug raid during an election cycle. (The local Assistant District Attorney who orchestrated the publicity stunt was a gent named G. Gordon Liddy, who of course got some first-hand experience with the U.S. prison system himself after the Watergate break-in.) Delivered in a giddy schoolboy tone, the chorus is by far the most effective on the entire Countdown to Ecstasy album, but the real meat of the song comes in the extended instrumental passages, where a pair of spiky Jeff Baxter guitar solos (the second of which is downright eccentric in its rhythm and strangled tone) are counterpointed by Fagen's piano and a swinging horn section. The single was a comparative flop, but "My Old School" has since become a fan favorite and a centerpiece of the Steely Dan live show.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Countdown to Ecstasy 1973 MCA 5:46
Greatest Hits 1979 MCA 5:45
No Image 1984 MCA
A Decade of Steely Dan 1985 MCA / Universal 4:46
Citizen Steely Dan 1993 MCA 5:45
Remastered: The Best of Steely Dan - Then and Now 1993 MCA 5:46
No Image 1994 Home Entertainment
Showbiz Kids: The Steely Dan Story 1972-1980 2000 MCA 5:46
Gaucho/Aja/Countdown to Ecstacy 2003 Universal International 5:46
The Definitive Collection 2006 MCA / Geffen 5:45
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection - The Best of Steely Dan 2007 Geffen 5:44
The Very Best of Steely Dan 2009 Universal Distribution / Universal Music TV 5:46