"Deacon Blues" (1977)
In one of their more tender odes to middle-class pretension, Fagen and Becker pay tribute here to a dude from the suburbs who's dreaming of the freer, edgier life he might enjoy if he could only learn to play the saxophone. "The protagonist is not a musician," Becker explained in the Classic Albums doc on Aja. "He just sort of imagines that that would be one of the mythic forms of loserdom to which he might aspire. And who's to say that he's not right in a thing like that?" In the same doc, Fagen called the song "about as close to autobiography as our tunes get," maybe alluding to the way he and Becker had idolized jazz musicians when they were still suburban kids dreaming of escape. The Dan imagined the title as a sort of mascot for the would-be down and out: "If a college football team like the University of Alabama could have a grandiose name like the 'Crimson Tide' the nerds and losers should be entitled to a grandiose name as well," Fagen once explained.