Steely Dan: “Pretzel Logic” (1974)

Steely Dan speculates on time travel, or something like that, on their second single from Pretzel Logic.

Kronomyth 3.2: Through the past, darky.

The title track from Pretzel Logic is purportedly about time travel. Oh yeah. You see, the platform is really a time travel platform, and when Fagen sings “I have never met Napoleon / But I plan to find the time,” he’s talking about finding the time span when Napoleon was alive. I don’t know why anyone expected a straight answer from Fagen about a song called Pretzel Logic. The single version presented here is about thirty seconds shorter than the original, although I can’t remember whatever happened to the time.

“Pretzel Logic” has never been one of my favorite Steely Dan songs. It moves too slow for me. Through With Buzz, by contrast, moves too fast. Jimmie Haskell’s orchestration puts on a bedazzling display of sound for ninety seconds. ELO look like rank amateurs compared to what Haskell and Steely Dan pull off here. The song also features the tantalizing tidbits of innuendo that made Steely Dan songs so much fun to speculate upon. Who exactly is through with Buzz and what’s the nature of their relationship? No answer is given, while the whirlwind strings spin out of control.

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Original 7-inch single version

A1. Pretzel Logic (Walter Becker/Donald Fagen) (3:59)
B1. Through With Buzz (Walter Becker/Donald Fagen) (1:30)

Back-to-back hits 7-inch single version
A1. Rikki Don’t Lose That Number (Walter Becker/Donald Fagen) (3:58)
B1. Pretzel Logic (Walter Becker/Donald Fagen) (3:59)

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch single in September 1974* in the US (ABC, ABC-12033), Canada (ABC/Dunhill, ABC-12033), France (Probe, 2C 008-95.942) and New Zealand (Probe, PROBE 94) with regional picture sleeve; reached #57 on the US charts (charted on October 12, 1974 for 5 weeks). Also released as promotional 7-inch single in 197 in the US (ABC, ABC-12033) feat. A stereo and mono versions. (*First appeared in 9/14/74 issue of Billboard.)

  1. Re-packaged with “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” on back-to-back hits 7-inch single in 1975 in the US (ABC/Dunhill Goldies 45, D-2731) and Canada (ABC Golden Oldies, 1022-2731).
  2. Re-issued on back-to-back hits 7-inch single in 1980 in the US (MCA, MCA D-2731).

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