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The Best Of Steely Dan - The Millenium CollectionUpdate August 2007:
Here's the latest hits compilation featuring Steely Dan and titled The Best Of Steely Dan. It's part of the Millenium Collection series, released in June 2007 and features 10 tracks from the classic period 1972 - 1980: Do It Again, Reelin' in the Years, Only a Fool Would Say That, My Old School, Rikki Don't Lose That Number, Any World (That I'm Welcome To), Deacon Blues, Josie, Time Out Of Mind and Third World Man.

Nothing new here. A budget compilation prized for and aimed at the casual buyer who might feel like picking up some Steely Dan after hearing a song on the radio.

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The Ultimate CollectionThis is what the new 2006 one looks like. The brand new collection of Steely Dan music. Another Greatest Hits. This one's titled The Ultimate Collection. But is it?

It depends on who you are. A casual fan, a curious newbie or a veteran fan from yesterday.

The serious fan will of course go for the 4 CD collection Citizen Steely Dan. It includes the first seven albums up to Gaucho plus a rarity unavailable elsewhere; a demo version of Everyone's Gone To The Movies.
Citizen Steely Dan The other two "extras" can be found on the 1978 2-LP Greatest Hits or Showbiz Kids: The Steely Dan Story 1972-1980 from 2000 (Here At The Western World) and the Gold (Expanded Edition) from 1994 or flipside to the vinyl single of Hey Nineteen (Bodhisattva live).

All in all 12 Greatest Hits compilations have been released. Seven of those worldwide and the remaining five in just one country/region.

* * * For the newbie who's curious about Steely Dan I recommend the brand new The Definitive Collection (2006).
It's remastered and the only one covering the last two albums; you get one song each from 2000's Two Against Nature and 2003's Everything Must Go, namely Cousin Dupree and Things I Miss The Most.

The listing of musicians track-by-track is not 100% correct, but on the plus side you get a few rare/never before seen pics of Donald and Walter from in 70's.

Showbiz Kids: The STeely Dan Story 1972 - 1980* * * For the person who wants a bit more than the above 16 track-compilation I suggest the 2-CD 33 track Showbiz Kids: The Steely Dan Story 1972-1980 (2000).
With twice as many tracks you get a better and bigger collection of the groups output. They've also included Here At The Western World - a song that you have to get the 4-CD box or the very first Greatest Hits from 1978 to hear.

This 2-CD collection is also the one I'd pick as a gift to introcduce someone to Steely Dan.

 

 

Then And NowOne more step back among the Hits collections and we find The Best Of Steely Dan: Then And Now (1993).
13 out of the 16 tracks is the same as on the new Ultimate Collection. Haitian Divorce and Josie can be found on Showbiz Kids. That leaves Midnite Cruiser as the only song not available on any other compilation save the 4-CD Citizen Steely Dan.

 

 

 

A Decade Of Steely DanA Decade Of Steely Dan (1985) is the one that The Ultimate Collection supposedly will make obsolete. 14 tracks with East St. Louis Toodle-Oo the only track not on the new one. So let's skip this one.

 

 

 

 

Gold (Expanded Edition)Gold (Expaned Edition) (1985) is a bit of an odd one as far as Steely Dan collections go. First of all it's the expanded version of the vinyl-only Gold released in 1982. Eight tracks on that one becomes 12 on the expanded version. And seven out of those are not on The Ultimate Collection. Four of those aren't on the Showbiz Kids double either, so this could be a complement to any of those.

On Gold (Expanded Edition) but not on Showbiz Kids: Black Cow, Green Earrings, King Of The World and True Companion *.

On Gold (Expanded Edition) but not on The Ultimate Collection: The above four + Century's End *, Chain Lightning and Here At The Western World.

* = Donald Fagen tracks that aren't on any of his solo albums. Recorded for the soundtracks to the movies Heavy Metal and Bright Lights, Big City.

 

Greatest HitsGreatest Hits (1978). The very first compilation. 18 tracks that these days are easily available on one of the newer Hits compilations.

 

 

 

 

The rest:

Steely Dan - JapanTwo Japanese vinyl collections with strange track choices. The first one is titled simply Steely Dan, was released in 1978 and has seven tracks; Aja, Black Friday, Dallas *, Do It Again, Kid Charlemagne, Rikki Don't Lose That Number and Sail The Waterway *. Collector's item as it has the two vinyl single-only tracks ( * ) as well as a nice Aja-inspired cover.

 

 

 

Greatest Hits - JapanThe other is titled Greatest Hits (1978) has 19 tracks on a double LP and should not be confused with the Greatest Hits from the same year released in the rest of the world.

 

 

 

 

Gold (1982). Vinyl only and mentioned earlier in this article. (The cover is identical to the Gold - Expanded Edition cover sans the "Expanded Edition"-blurb.)

 

Two Europe-only releases round up the listing:

Reelin' In The YearsThe Very Best Of Steely Dan: Reelin' In The Years (1985). 18 tracks.

 

 

 

 

The Very Best Of Steely Dan: Do It Again (1987). 15 tracks. 11 identical with the above. (The only one I couldn't find a cover pic of. I searched the Internet in vain. Anyone got a scan?)

/Neb - August 2006