Who's The Deacon In Steely Dan's Deacon Blues?

​If Alabama gets a cool-sounding name like Crimson Tide, why can't a loser get a cool name too? That's the premise behind Donald and Walter's classic "Deacon Blues."

They wrote this one in Malibu when they were at the height of their powers making Aja. But this track has an unmistakable New York jazz sound and makes us wonder whether Donald and Walter were homesick for the Big Apple at the time.

Turns out the name Deacon was taken from Deacon Jones, the NFL lineman during that era in the '70s. Donald and Walter weren't football fans, they just liked the sound of the name and the way "deacon blues" contrasted with "crimson tide."

One of our favorite stories from this article comes from Pete Christlieb, who played the iconic sax solo in the song. He was the tenor player in the Johnny Carson-era Tonight Show band. One evening after taping that show, he went down to the studio and cut this solo for the Dan.

He said it took all of 30 minutes. The next thing he knew he was hearing himself "in every airport bathroom in the world." Read more about it by clicking the image below.



Leave A Comment

Now it's your turn. What's your favorite Steely Dan album? Favorite Dan song? Leave a comment and let us know!

And if you like this post, you might also like:
Steely Dan's Aja Is Pure Genius
Steely Dan's Long-Lost Song "Second Arrangement"


 

48 comments

  • Warren Tanner

    Warren Tanner Williamston SC

    I thank you 4 the info. and would like any more tidbits like you want to send . I really like your Music Thanks again Warren Tanner

    I thank you 4 the info. and would like any more tidbits like you want to send .
    I really like your Music

    Thanks again Warren Tanner

  • Shawn Bracey

    Shawn Bracey Muscle Shoals Ala

    Every airport bathroom, are you kidding me? I thought that was David Sanborn. I love these little bits SD trivia... Thank You

    Every airport bathroom, are you kidding me? I thought that was David Sanborn. I love these little bits SD trivia... Thank You

  • Dawn

    Dawn Monson,MA

    My favorite album varies all the time! These days it's Count Down to Extacy ... but I love them all!!

    My favorite album varies all the time! These days it's Count Down to Extacy ... but I love them all!!

  • Joe Mattei

    Joe Mattei Orlando Fl

    Take a big black cow (drink).

    Take a big black cow (drink).

  • Janice Ratcliffe Hall

    Janice Ratcliffe Hall Ruskin, Florida

    i love all Steely Dan music 🎶 but my favorite is "Can't Buy a Thrill".

    i love all Steely Dan music 🎶 but my favorite is "Can't Buy a Thrill".

  • Vicki

    Vicki Houston

    I love "My Old School" from the album Countdown to Ecstasy album. The guitar solo that frames the verses and then morphs into an extended solo, yeah that song is life!

    I love "My Old School" from the album Countdown to Ecstasy album. The guitar solo that frames the verses and then morphs into an extended solo, yeah that song is life!

  • AZMissy

    AZMissy Phoenix

    All are favs...Royal Scam if I had to pick one album...

    All are favs...Royal Scam if I had to pick one album...

  • Mike D

    Mike D Jersey

    I usually lean towards Royal Scam (Kid Charlemagne) but there is no bad answer.

    I usually lean towards Royal Scam (Kid Charlemagne) but there is no bad answer.

  • Martha

    Martha Colorado

    Aja has to be my favorite But anything you guys do is amazing!

    Aja has to be my favorite
    But anything you guys do is amazing!

  • John Rivera

    John Rivera Kearny

    My favorite album is Katy lied but they are all good albums

    My favorite album is Katy lied but they are all good albums

  • David Galloway

    David Galloway NashVegas, TN

    Love all the Steely Dan- However I liked 'Hey. Nineteen' off of 'Gaucho' album!

    Love all the Steely Dan- However I liked 'Hey. Nineteen' off of 'Gaucho' album!

  • Jorge

    Jorge La Jolla

    Definitely, Ricky don't loose that number.

    Definitely, Ricky don't loose that number.

  • Debbie

    Debbie Colorado

    Love Steely Dan, Love Deacon Blues! Love all of the albums! Just love Steely Dan!!!!!!!!!!

    Love Steely Dan, Love Deacon Blues! Love all of the albums! Just love Steely Dan!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lois

    Lois Door county wi

    Love can't buy a thrill favorite song midnight cruiser and deacon blues

    Love can't buy a thrill favorite song midnight cruiser and deacon blues

  • Vern

    Vern Denver

    Cant Buy a Thrill is my fav with Pretzel Logic second. I Love the older stuff, the newer is good, but I love my old school. Haha.

    Cant Buy a Thrill is my fav with Pretzel Logic second. I Love the older stuff, the newer is good, but I love my old school. Haha.

  • David McDonald

    David McDonald Birmingham, Alabama

    It just doesn't get any better than Steely Dan!!!

    It just doesn't get any better than Steely Dan!!!

  • Psychdelicrelic

    Psychdelicrelic The cosmos

    Till I don't lost that number....

    Till I don't lost that number....

  • Joe

    Joe Chgo

    Fav song is GAUCHO. Great structure, vocals, harmonies, melody, and a chorus that's a huge "hook". Very under rated, in my opinion.

    Fav song is GAUCHO. Great structure, vocals, harmonies, melody, and a chorus that's a huge "hook". Very under rated, in my opinion.

  • John

    John Scottsdale AZ

    from that album ----Black Cow ,,,,,love the drums in I got the news ,,,,

    from that album ----Black Cow ,,,,,love the drums in I got the news ,,,,

  • the krewzer

    the krewzer

    Can't Buy a Thrill! Reelin' in the Years was my class song!

    Can't Buy a Thrill! Reelin' in the Years was my class song!

  • Michael Couteter

    Michael Couteter Alexandria La.

    If SD does it, I love it.....I have personal like of Pretzel Logic...

    If SD does it, I love it.....I have personal like of Pretzel Logic...

  • Mike Nieradka

    Mike Nieradka Long Island

    Favorite Steely Dan album.....Pretzel Logic Favorite song...Brooklyn Holds the Charmer Over Me

    Favorite Steely Dan album.....Pretzel Logic

    Favorite song...Brooklyn Holds the Charmer Over Me

  • Todd Marans

    Todd Marans San Francisco

    Deacon Blue is my favorite Steely Dan song. I am also quite partial to Don't Take Me Alive.

    Deacon Blue is my favorite Steely Dan song. I am also quite partial to Don't Take Me Alive.

  • Waymond

    Waymond Detroit

    Aja....and Deacon Blues is one of my all time favorite songs PERIOD.

    Aja....and Deacon Blues is one of my all time favorite songs PERIOD.

  • Lance

    Lance Paris, France

    Fav. "Since you've been gone".

    Fav. "Since you've been gone".

  • Tony DeGregorio

    Tony DeGregorio Niagara Falls New York

    The Royal Scam and the tune Kid Charlemange

    The Royal Scam and the tune Kid Charlemange

  • Marty Saint

    Marty Saint Tampa, Florida

    EVERYTHING STEELY DAN DID, PAST, PRESENT

    EVERYTHING STEELY DAN DID, PAST, PRESENT

  • Zen

    Zen SLC, UT

    Gaucho was my favorite album for years, then The Royal Scam struck me. My favorite Dan song is Third World Man.

    Gaucho was my favorite album for years, then The Royal Scam struck me. My favorite Dan song is Third World Man.

  • Will

    Will Spfld MA

    Deacon Blues. Reminds me of summer fun music collage girls and fun. Weird I know. :)

    Deacon Blues. Reminds me of summer fun music collage girls and fun. Weird I know. smile

  • Glenn

    Glenn Indiana

    Kid Charlemagne!! So classy....yet it now reminds me of the drug epidemic here in the Midwest

    Kid Charlemagne!! So classy....yet it now reminds me of the drug epidemic here in the Midwest

  • Bill

    Bill Philly

    Reelin' in the years!!

    Reelin' in the years!!

  • Alleta Burton

    Alleta Burton Texas

    I believe I have all of their albums & loved them all. My favorire sobg was Hey 19 though! The beat ob that always helped me get a "groove on".

    I believe I have all of their albums & loved them all. My favorire sobg was Hey 19 though! The beat ob that always helped me get a "groove on".

  • Terri

    Terri Denver, CO

    Are you kidding?! I own every Steely Dan CD there is. I don't have an all time fave because they are ALL my faves. But one song I tend to really really love is Hatian Divorce. Next I love Cousin Dupree! ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

    Are you kidding?!
    I own every Steely Dan CD there is.
    I don't have an all time fave because they are ALL my faves. But one song I tend to really really love is Hatian Divorce.
    Next I love Cousin Dupree! ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

  • Sal ruiz

    Sal ruiz Chicago il usa

    Hey nineteen .i love all their stuff.my fav band of all time.my you i was born during their hey day.mom must of been listening while preggo.lol

    Hey nineteen .i love all their stuff.my fav band of all time.my you i was born during their hey day.mom must of been listening while preggo.lol

  • P.Rannick

    P.Rannick Pittsburg Pa.

    Aja my favorite album....but just love Tommorows Girls❤️

    Aja my favorite album....but just love Tommorows Girls❤️

  • Ray

    Ray NV

    Saw Steely Dan in concert this year for the first time. They didn't play Deacon Blues, which is my fav. Great show anyway, but now I have to see them again.

    Saw Steely Dan in concert this year for the first time. They didn't play Deacon Blues, which is my fav. Great show anyway, but now I have to see them again.

  • Denny

    Denny WA

    My Rival (from the Gaucho album)

    My Rival (from the Gaucho album)

  • Curtis

    Curtis 34480

    Aja!

    Aja!

  • JamieSoulshine

    JamieSoulshine Norfolk, VA

    Time out of Mind, Bad Sneakers, Aja, Deacon Blues, I can't pick one song. I can't even pick 1 album.

    Time out of Mind, Bad Sneakers, Aja, Deacon Blues, I can't pick one song. I can't even pick 1 album.

  • MikeyD

    MikeyD Columbus, Ohio

    Aja is my fave album simply because it was the first time I ever heard them. I was amazed! Tnx for sharing!

    Aja is my fave album simply because it was the first time I ever heard them. I was amazed! Tnx for sharing!

  • Mark MacPhail

    Mark MacPhail Leesburg, FL

    Every time the name Steely Dan hits my ears my head is instantly filled with classic after classic. You can't even think about picking 1 song because the moment you do another comes up that you love just as much. They truly are a one of a kind sound and feel. Their rock jazz fusion style is epic and will stay as one of my favorites until I depart this world. Why even this morning making my tea i was singing Babylon Sister and Kid Charlemagne. Probably spelled it wrong but who cares its the bomb!

    Every time the name Steely Dan hits my ears my head is instantly filled with classic after classic. You can't even think about picking 1 song because the moment you do another comes up that you love just as much. They truly are a one of a kind sound and feel. Their rock jazz fusion style is epic and will stay as one of my favorites until I depart this world. Why even this morning making my tea i was singing Babylon Sister and Kid Charlemagne. Probably spelled it wrong but who cares its the bomb!

  • Karen

    Karen Panama City, Florida

    Pretzel Logic is my fav!!

    Pretzel Logic is my fav!!

  • Linda

    Linda Bloomington Indiana

    Don't Take Me Alive it's one of my favorite songs I love them all though

    Don't Take Me Alive it's one of my favorite songs I love them all though

  • Karen

    Karen Panama City, Florida

    Pretzel Logic!!!!

    Pretzel Logic!!!!

  • Rob Harrison

    Rob Harrison Honolulu, HI

    AJA album and song

    AJA album and song

  • Vern

    Vern Phoenix

    Can't Buy a Thrill. Pearl of the Quarter or is it Only a Fool Would Say That?

    Can't Buy a Thrill. Pearl of the Quarter or is it Only a Fool Would Say That?

  • Frank The Tank

    Frank The Tank Marin Co, CA

    Many SD song has been my favorite one time or another the past 45 years. Presently it is “Midnight Cruiser”.

    Many SD song has been my favorite one time or another the past 45 years. Presently it is “Midnight Cruiser”.

  • Orkke

    Orkke Alexandria, LA

    SD got me through Disco 🤣 Countdown to Ecstasy, but like everyone else, love ‘em all!!!!

    SD got me through Disco 🤣 Countdown to Ecstasy, but like everyone else, love ‘em all!!!!

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