Steely Dan: “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” (1974)

The band refashions a tune from Horace Silver into pure gold with the first single from Pretzel Logic.

Kronomyth 3.1: Rikki sticky clave

In the olden days, luxuriating in the bounty of free time that befalls a bachelor, I might have spinned you a yarn about the difference between this four-minute version of Rikki and the original elpee version. As a married man, however, I can’t begin to explain to my more practical half how listening to Rikki Don’t Lose That Number four times could possibly be more important than sealing around the tub or building yet another bookcase for the basement, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

Of course the vibe intro is gone. You knew that already if you remember this one from the radio way back when. It also sounds faster, but that could be because the intro set the expectation for a slower tempo. Anyway, there’s only about a half minute missing, so it’s no great mystery worth idling over. And surely there’s a bathtub or a bookcase or a concealed tunnel to the local pub that needs tending to.

The B side is my favorite track from Pretzel Logic, Any Major Dude Will Tell You. This got radio play too, though not as much as Rikki. It even showed up Steely Dan’s Greatest Hits. So did “East St. Louis Toodle-oo,” which always baffled me.

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Original 7-inch single version

A1. Rikki Don’t Lose That Number (Walter Becker/Donald Fagen) (3:58)
B1. Any Major Dude Will Tell You (Walter Becker/Donald Fagen) (3:05)

Back-to-back hits 7-inch single reissue
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 April 1974* in the US (ABC, ABC-11439) and Canada (ABC/Dunhill, ABC-11439), on May 17, 1974 in the UK (Probe, PRO-622) and in 1974 in Australia (Probe, PRO-10486), France (Probe, 2C 008-95.438), Italy (Probe, 3C 006 95438), Japan (Probe, IPR-10543), the Netherlands (Probe, 5C 006-95438) and New Zealand (Probe, PROBE 82) with regional picture sleeve; reached #4 on the US charts (charted on May 11, 197 for 19 weeks). (*First appeared on 4/27/74 issue of Billboard.)

  1. Re-issued on 7-inch single in August 1974 in the US (ABC, ABC-12014).
  2. Re-released on back-to-back hits 7-inch single in 1975 in the US (Goldies 45, D-2731) with “Pretzel Logic.”
  3. Re-issued on B2B 7-inch single in Canada (ABC Golden Oldies, 1022-2731) with “Pretzel Logic.”
  4. Re-issued on yellow vinyl and back vinyl 7-inch single in February 1979 in the UK (ABC, ABC 4241) with picture sleeve; re-charted to #58 on the UK charts.
  5. Re-issued on B2B 7-inch single in the US (MCA, D-2731) with “Pretzel Logic.”

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