Writers: Walter Becker and 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
David Palmer, Sherlie Matthes
Myrna Matthews, Patricia Hall, Royce Jones–backing vocals
Lanny Morgan, Bill Perkins, Ernie Watts, John Rotella–saxophones
|Album:||Countdown To Ecstasy (ABC, 1973)|
The second single from Steely Dan‘s sophomore album, “My Old School” peaked at Number 63 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Nevertheless, the song became a favorite track for Steely Dan fans thanks to the signature saxophone charts and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter‘s stinging guitar solos.
Baxter played those solos on a guitar he had built himself just three hours before recording the song. “I built it that afternoon…I cut it out of a beautiful piece of board maple, cut the neck and fretted it, wound the pick-ups and stuck it all together and brought it into the studio.”
The “My Old School” in question was Bard College, the liberal arts school in upstate New York where Steely Dan principles Walter Becker and Donald Fagen met and became a songwriting team.
The line “California tumbles into the sea” was inspired by a mural on one wall of the Village Recorder studios that depicted an earthquake in progress with a portion of the Los Angeles freeway falling into the Pacific Ocean.
There are also references in the song to the Wolverine, a train line that ran from New York to Boston.
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.