Steely Dan: “FM (No Static at All)” (1978)

A seven-inch proposition from the Aja sessions to which the radio offered up no resistance.

Kronomyth 6.3: Charlie frequency modulation.

At the time, you couldn’t spin a radio dial without landing on something by Steely Dan or Eagles. FM (No Static at All) had the rare distinction of featuring both bands on one song — according to Wikipedia, anyway. Me, I don’t hear Glenn Frey or Don Henley in the final mix and find it unlikely that Henley would appear on the song after being “fired” from “Peg,” but what do I know? At any rate, “FM (No Static at All)” is a great song that feels like “Deacon Blues” (Pete Christlieb delivers another perfect solo), “Josie” and “Hey Nineteen” rolled into one.

The B side is an instrumental reprise with a slightly different solo and more piano flourishes. It appeared as the last track on FM: The Original Movie Soundtrack, as did the full-length version of “FM (No Static at All).” The single features an edited version that fades out early. Of interest, engineer Roger Nichols earned a Grammy for Best Engineering for this song. This single was also re-issued in 1982 to advertise the new compilation, Gold.

Original 7-inch single version

A1. FM (No Static at All) (Walter Becker/Donald Fagen) (3:40)
B1. FM (No Static at All) – Reprise (Walter Becker/Donald Fagen) (2:53)

12-inch single reissue
A1. FM (No Static at All) (Walter Becker/Donald Fagen) (4:50)
B1. FM (No Static at All) – Reprise (Walter Becker/Donald Fagen) (2:53)
B2. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

The Players

Walter Becker (guitars, bass), Donald Fagen (vocals, piano) with Pete Christlieb (tenor saxophone), Victor Feldman (percussion), Glenn Frey (backing vocals), Don Henley (backing vocals), Johnny Mandel (string arrangements), Jeff Porcaro (drums, percussion), Tim Schmit (backing vocals).

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch single in May 1978 in the US (MCA, MCA-40894) and the UK (MCA, MCA 374). Reached #22 on the US charts (charted on June 3, 1978 for 10 weeks) and #49 on the UK charts.

  1. Re-issued on 7-inch and 12-inch single in 1982 in the UK (MCA, MCA/MCAT-786) with picture sleeve.
FM (No Static at All) 45 rpm sleeve
UK 1982 7-inch single reissue (MCA 786)

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