Steely Dan's Unearthed Schlitz Jingle Will Have You Reelin' In the Beers

"Come along and take the best that life's giving"

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jul 24, 2023

At summer's outset, we established that the music of Steely Dan would be an excellent soundtrack to crack cold ones to, and it appears some minds of the band's early era felt the same with the arrival of a previously unreleased beer jingle written by the band.

Weeks after Danimals the world over had their cups filled by the arrival of long sought-after grail "The Second Arrangement," a short jingle created for the beer company Schlitz has now surfaced thanks to the family of late Steely Dan engineer Roger Nichols and journalist Jake Malooley's Expanding Dan newsletter.

As Malooley's newsletter tells it, "The Schlitz Jingle" was recorded by Steely Dan in Los Angeles during an eight-month gap period between the release of 1972 debut Can't Buy a Thrill and its 1973 follow-up Countdown to Ecstasy. The band's Donald Fagen agreed to take the assignment so long as the brewing company suits didn't interfere with the songwriting.

Longtime producer Gary Katz recalled of the session, "As we were doing it, somebody came by from Schlitz's ad agency — you know, a guy with a powder-blue sweater tied around his neck and quite literally a stopwatch in his hand. He walked into the control room and thought he was going to take over, and that just wasn't gonna happen. He started asking questions about the song. Donald said aloud to me, 'Do you have your hand near the red button?' Then he addressed the ad guy: 'If you say another word about this song, we're just gonna erase it.' So the guy left."

Ultimately, the jingle wasn't approved by Schlitz, but not due to that early taste of Steely Dan's exacting in-studio nature the ad exec received. It turns out that a spoken word interlude in Spanish featuring the word "grab" sounded close to the word "fuck" in the language.

Hear Steely Dan's Schlitz jingle below, where those rich, layered harmonies will surely ease the pain felt upon pulling that final beer from the case.

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