Writer: Donald Fagen
Producer: Gary Katz
Recorded: Late winter/spring 1973, Village Recorder, Los Angeles
Released: July 1973
|Players:||Donald Fagen–vocals, piano
Walter Becker–guitar, bass, vocals
Jeff “Skunk” Baxter–guitar
Jim Hodder–drums, vocals
|Album:||Countdown To Ecstasy (ABC)|
“Bodhisattva” is the rare Steely Dan track written only by Donald Fagen, without the involvement of group co-founder and composing partner Walter Becker.
Though never a single, the rocking “Bodhisattva,” loaded with guitar solos by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, became a favorite track with fans and radio programmers, and it’s one of the few from Steely Dan’s early days that has remained a staple in the group’s concerts.
Though the song is filled with Eastern imagery, Fagen actually intended it as a kind of social commentary: “That’s sort of a parody on how Western people look at Eastern religion–sort of over-simplify it. We thought it was rather amusing. Most people don’t get it.”
Fagen has frequently used Oriental images in his song lyrics.
A live version of “Bodhisattva” recorded at a 1974 show in Santa Monica was used as the B-side for the single “Hey Nineteen,” which was released in 1980.
Countdown To Ecstasy, Steely Dan’s second album, peaked at Number 35 on the Billboard 200. It was certified gold but didn’t do as well as Can’t Buy A Thrill, the group’s 1973 debut album.
The Countdown To Ecstasy album title was the result of a concept the group had for the album at one time. Guitarist Baxter explained that “Steely Dan had been planning to write a whole mini-opera about a marine, and the last thing was how he goes on leave and we were gonna write a song called ‘Countdown To Ecstasy’ because he finally got laid. We figured we’d be in big trouble with the State Department, so we didn’t do it.”