[15] Steely Dan, ‘Do It Again’

Steely Dan

“I know Steely Dan, I met him at school.” Perhaps Fagen and Becker really did pop into Junior’s school to deliver a talk called – I don’t know – Get With It, Daddio: Sneaking Jazz into Lugubrious Contemporary Rock, but one thing I’m sure of: if I’d met the Dan at school I’d have stifled a yawn and sloped off to play tennis ball football.

You see, more than anything else, more than Phil Collins, Dire Straits or our pal Eric Clapton, in the early 80s Steely Dan epitomised Dad Rock for us. Those others troubled the charts quite seriously, but the Dan only appeared on old boys’ stereos, their liquid grooves and terribly precise harmonies finding a frequency that would instantly dispatch a schoolboy to the Land of Nod. Even in 1989, when De La Soul’s ‘Eye Know’ sent me off in search of ‘Peg’, I still detested ‘Deacon Blues’ and the rest of the queasily perfect aural furniture on Aja.

According to Last.fm, in the past five months I’ve played ‘Deacon Blues’ six times.

Says more than any amount of grey hair, right? So, in the rich tradition of hilarious, ageing voltes-faces, let’s recognise that ‘Do It Again’ is terrific, its easy funk played faultlessly, its smug delivery pitched the righteous side of incredibly annoying. And to undercut my generation gap theories, Junior says she hasn’t got enough thumbs to express how thumbs-up the song is.

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[16] Derek And The Dominos, ‘Layla’

Layla. Need those shoes.

Its critical standing has stumbled a bit in recent years, but when I was a kid ‘Layla’ was painted as pretty much the greatest record ever. Haughtily disregarding stiff competition from ‘Stairway To Heaven’ and ‘Hotel California’ (‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was still held in some suspicion), ‘Layla’ had a little bit of manliness about it, and rock critics love that musky whiff. Or whiffy musk. It’s a frightful indulgence, of course, but come on – that’s one deathless riff and a bucket of tasty drum fills. Its swashbuckling energy must’ve taken it out of Eric too, because he never really poked himself out of his slumber again.

I was excited to hear Junior’s thoughts on such a tiresome (yet great) macho rock standard, and she didn’t disappoint. “It sounds like a party,” which is fair on the clatter. I told her that Clapton was once regarded as the best guitarist around and wondered if she agreed. “I don’t know. I know who the best singer is.” Go on… “Lady Gaga.” She and her sister then sang ‘Bad Romance’ over ‘Layla”s endless coda.

[10] The Beatles, ‘Something’/’Come Together’

It’s 7.21 in the morning and Junior is wearing pink fairy wings and carrying a plastic wand that makes a “magical” sound when you bash it against the furniture. ‘Something’ has, well, something of the fairy dust about it, representing the blossoming of George Harrison’s songwriting shortly before it came to full fruition on cruelly overlooked triple solo album All Things Must Pass. It was written for his then-beloved Patti Boyd – who would shortly hand him in for Eric Clapton when he wrote the inferior ‘Layla’ for her.

‘Something’ is stately and meditative with a masterful middle eight and gorgeous strings. Junior drifts around in fitting manner.

Its partner ‘Come Together’ is a Plastic Ono Band record in all but name. A bluesy strut with the coolest throwaways – “walrus gumboot”, “mojo filter”, “toe-jam football” – it’s a nonsense but a convincing one all the same. Great organ, woozy guitar a sense that The Beatles could still be on their game. Junior is now roaring like a lion and showing her claws – showing the contrast between the songs too.

A No.4 hit. The game was up.