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Steely Dan — Midnight Cruiser
Album: Can't Buy A Thrill
Avg rating:
7.3

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1015









Released: 1972
Length: 3:53
Plays (last 30 days): 0
Felonius my old friend
Step on in and let me shake your hand
So glad that you're here again
For one more time
Let your madness run with mine
Streets still unseen we'll find somehow
No time is better than now

CHORUS:
Tell me where are you driving
Midnight cruiser
Where is your bounty
Of fortune and fame
I am another
Gentlemen loser
Drive me to Harlem
Or somewhere the same

The world that we used to know
People tell me it don't turn no more
The places we used to go
Familiar faces that ain't smilin' like before
The time of our time has come and gone
I fear we been waiting too long

CHORUS
Comments (130)add comment
 Dinges,_the_Dude wrote:
This makes me wanting to play the entire album!
 
Agreed!  That entire album is great.
Another lost classic from one of the greatest rock bands 
..........Outstanding ..............
 pcc wrote:
Brilliant band
 

Well said!!!  And a great segue from Miles Davis.
Brilliant band
1972-73  ... 10 years old, "Midnight Cruiser" on my transistor radio .... SD fan ever since, nearly 50 years!

RIP, Walter Becker
 ChrisTreece wrote:
Surely 'Thelonious, my old friend'?
 

Ahhh, you are not familiar with Felonius? It is to weep...
Surely 'Thelonious, my old friend'?
Are there any better opening lyrics in any song? Ever? 

Of course excluding AC DC's: "Shook  Me All night Long".
One of my few 8s when it comes to SD tunes. Reelin in the Years, Boddhisatva and a couple others. Period. Great tune, hook and lyrics. 
 kimschoice wrote:
Instant volume increase.  Takes me back right away 

 
yes and yes   {#Music}
Instant volume increase.  Takes me back right away 
 bindi wrote:

I guess that he must have been better at acting.   Damn, he must have been a really bad drummer!
Kidding aside, I think CC fell into a rut.  I always though that Bill Murray had way more potential, but always hope for a bit better run for Chevy.

 
Apparently he was a better keyboard player than a drummer.
 jbuhl wrote:
Live at Red Rocks tonight and it's pissing down the rain.....{#Frustrated}



The_jake wrote:
 
"What a coincidence.  This just happened again this week.  Same band and venue."

The 2015 concert was still kick ass.  It looked like the entire venue was suspended inside the clouds.  Trippy. 
 ElCamoteLoco wrote:
Fun Fact: The bar The Gentleman Loser in William Gibson's Sprawl stories (e.g. Neuromancer) takes its name from a lyric in this song.
 
Thanks, I did not know that. Wikipedia: Sprawl trilogy - William Gibson - Story elements.
Fun Fact: The bar The Gentleman Loser in William Gibson's Sprawl stories (e.g. Neuromancer) takes its name from a lyric in this song.
I had this album in high school...still sounds great!
 jbuhl wrote:
Live at Red Rocks tonight and it's pissing down the rain.....{#Frustrated}

 
What a coincidence.  This just happened again this week.  Same band and venue.

I'm not a big SD fan, but I'm digging this.
 
Geez, just listen to the opening lyrics:

"Thelonious my old friend"...

So freakin cryptic. So freakin cool. 
 Skydog wrote:

i think they stopped touring after their 2nd album

 
From Wikipedia: A rift began growing between Becker-Fagen and Steely Dan's other members, who wanted to tour. Becker and Fagen disliked constant touring and wanted to concentrate solely on writing and recording. The other members gradually left the band, discouraged by this and by their diminishing roles in the studio. Steely Dan's last tour performance was on July 4, 1974, a concert at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in California."

This was after Pretzel Logic, which was their 3rd album.  Obviously they started touring once again - guess the money was running a bit short.


 moodfood wrote:
Is it true they never toured back in the 70s? That's what I heard they were just a studio band. 

 
i think they stopped touring after their 2nd album
This makes me wanting to play the entire album!
Jim Hodder - Steely Dan: Band Steeli, Helluva Band, Hodder December, Heavens A Helluva, Jim Hodder, Rolls, American Drummers, Musik 1900, Heavena Helluva
Remember hearing this on my AM transistor.
Live at Red Rocks tonight and it's pissing down the rain.....{#Frustrated}
Is it true they never toured back in the 70s? That's what I heard they were just a studio band. 
One of the best bands of the 1970s. No other band could blend top notch jazz-funk-RnR players with the strange and cryptic songwriting of of Becker and Fagan.
I mean, who start's a song with the lyrics:

"Thelonious my old friend, step on in and let me shake your hand.
So glad that you're here again, For one more time
Let your madness run with mine"

And watch out for guitar playing bodhisattvas!

It's just weird hearing a Steely Dan song without Fagen on the vocals!!


This may be my highest rated Steely Dan song - 5.

Too bad it suffers from a really *thin* sound quality.  Compressed and distant ...
 unclehud wrote:
I am another Gentlemen loser, 
Drive me to Harlem or somewhere the same 
 

Becker and Fagan: composers as good as Lennon and McCartney (puts on Nomex suit ...) who surrounded themselves with first-rate musicians. 

Lennon & McCartney?  Not for me, sorry.  Another mediocre SD song.
I am another Gentlemen loser, 
Drive me to Harlem or somewhere the same 
 

Becker and Fagan: composers as good as Lennon and McCartney (puts on Nomex suit ...) who surrounded themselves with first-rate musicians.
I'm going to see them at the NAC in Ottawa tonight...Yippy
so much great stuff from these guys
 lemmoth wrote:
From Allmusic:

Can't Buy a Thrill is an anomaly in the Steely Dan catalog, the one album featuring the group's original lead singer, David Palmer. (Ironically, even here, Palmer sings only two of the album's ten songs solo, as well as a couple more duets with Donald Fagen.) However, the album is equally notable for including one song, "Midnight Cruiser," sung by the Dan's original drummer, Jim Hodder. Hodder (who as it happens also sang the lead on Steely Dan's debut single, "Dallas" — Donald Fagen was uncomfortable in the role of frontman at the beginning of the band's career) is an undistinguished vocalist, which makes him oddly perfect for "Midnight Cruiser," otherwise the most undistinguished song on the entire album. It's not a bad song, really, it's just musically faceless (the melody is highly reminiscent of Runt-era Todd Rundgren, and the production is oddly redolent of the smooth pop/rock of Carole King's Tapestry; good company, but still...) and the lyrics are not among Fagen and Walter Becker's most memorable. The slickly competent but lightweight "Midnight Cruiser" is probably what ABC Records thought they were getting with Steely Dan, which must have made the art-jazz explorations of Countdown to Ecstasy a rude surprise.



 
worth a "bump" {#Good-vibes}  I have been a lifelong Dan fan since buying this album in '72.  Wow, 42 years ago!!! {#Notworthy}

True definition of GODLIKE.{#Notworthy}


The first Dan album I bought in the 70s mainly because the drinking joint I frequented was always playing Do It Again, loved that track and brings back memories of good times. I became a great fan of The Dan and bought every album after that. They could do no wrong for me and  many years ago I knew a friend of mine who could play guitar. He used to have a rock band and could play a lot of different riffs and chords but he admitted that Steely Dans intricate style always eluded him. A solid ten from bexhill.
 
 QuestionMark wrote:
Saw them 09/03/13 in K.C.second row...still over the top ! Did not want them to stop !

 
Agreed that Steely Dan is a terrific live show which surprised me since they had the reputation of being studio wizards.
{#Music}      One of my fav SD songs  
MY DEAR FELLOW RADIO PARADICE LISTENRES. 

I CANNOT GO THERE WITH YOU 
{#Motor}

Diggin' the Dan!
Saw them 09/03/13 in K.C.second row...still over the top ! Did not want them to stop !
 coloradojohn wrote:
STEELY DAN at Red Rocks, August 8th...I can hardly wait!  These guys have made some of the most cerebral and tuneful music ever!

 
I saw them a couple of weeks ago at Ravinia (Chicago area). They are surely the tightest outfit touring today. Unbelievable musicianship and I really never realized how good Becker's guitar chops really are. That was a treat to hear him live.

However, that being said, some parts of the show really did feel like they were parodying themselves. Parts of the show were extraordinarily corny and hokey, and they had some pretty bad interpretations of some really good songs. Oh well, greatness can't continue unabated I suppose. Just ask my liver.
STEELY DAN at Red Rocks, August 8th...I can hardly wait!  These guys have made some of the most cerebral and tuneful music ever!

Does anyone else hear (Lee Michaels) â€ª"Do You Know What I Mean?" on the first 4-5 notes of this song?


 lemmoth wrote:

I don't think its Becker singing, is it?

 
No. It's Jim Hodder. {#Drummer}
Oh my gosh - pure sonic bliss!!!  Incredible guitar.... {#Daisy}
Somehow this doesn´t sound very ´Dan-ish´ to me.
 favrood wrote:
Funny to think of Chevy Chase hanging with these guys as their drummer at Bard College...
 
I guess that he must have been better at acting.   Damn, he must have been a really bad drummer!
Kidding aside, I think CC fell into a rut.  I always though that Bill Murray had way more potential, but always hope for a bit better run for Chevy.
 rtrudeau wrote:

Oh the memories. I'm sure I still have this LP somewhere, even though I don't have a turntable anymore.
 
Ditto. I bought this in (about) 1974...it will always be part of the tapestry of my life.
 DaveInVA wrote:

This was released on Steely Dan's first LP - Can't Buy a Thrill in 1972
 
Oh the memories. I'm sure I still have this LP somewhere, even though I don't have a turntable anymore.
This is one of my favorite songs in the entire RP library.{#Yes}
 lemmoth wrote:
From Allmusic:

Can't Buy a Thrill is an anomaly in the Steely Dan catalog, the one album featuring the group's original lead singer, David Palmer. (Ironically, even here, Palmer sings only two of the album's ten songs solo, as well as a couple more duets with Donald Fagen.) However, the album is equally notable for including one song, "Midnight Cruiser," sung by the Dan's original drummer, Jim Hodder. Hodder (who as it happens also sang the lead on Steely Dan's debut single, "Dallas" — Donald Fagen was uncomfortable in the role of frontman at the beginning of the band's career) is an undistinguished vocalist, which makes him oddly perfect for "Midnight Cruiser," otherwise the most undistinguished song on the entire album. It's not a bad song, really, it's just musically faceless (the melody is highly reminiscent of Runt-era Todd Rundgren, and the production is oddly redolent of the smooth pop/rock of Carole King's Tapestry; good company, but still...) and the lyrics are not among Fagen and Walter Becker's most memorable. The slickly competent but lightweight "Midnight Cruiser" is probably what ABC Records thought they were getting with Steely Dan, which must have made the art-jazz explorations of Countdown to Ecstasy a rude surprise.

 
That's all well and good, but I still feel that this pre-golden-era-Dan beats the pants off of most of the post-Gaucho albums, and possibly even Gaucho itself.
Later Dan tends to be more and more staccato, with less melody, and this song just flows and lives.

{#Notworthy}
From Allmusic:

Can't Buy a Thrill is an anomaly in the Steely Dan catalog, the one album featuring the group's original lead singer, David Palmer. (Ironically, even here, Palmer sings only two of the album's ten songs solo, as well as a couple more duets with Donald Fagen.) However, the album is equally notable for including one song, "Midnight Cruiser," sung by the Dan's original drummer, Jim Hodder. Hodder (who as it happens also sang the lead on Steely Dan's debut single, "Dallas" — Donald Fagen was uncomfortable in the role of frontman at the beginning of the band's career) is an undistinguished vocalist, which makes him oddly perfect for "Midnight Cruiser," otherwise the most undistinguished song on the entire album. It's not a bad song, really, it's just musically faceless (the melody is highly reminiscent of Runt-era Todd Rundgren, and the production is oddly redolent of the smooth pop/rock of Carole King's Tapestry; good company, but still...) and the lyrics are not among Fagen and Walter Becker's most memorable. The slickly competent but lightweight "Midnight Cruiser" is probably what ABC Records thought they were getting with Steely Dan, which must have made the art-jazz explorations of Countdown to Ecstasy a rude surprise.


 Rooney wrote:
This isn't Donald Fagen singing the lead, and I've never given Dan anything less than an 8, but
this one deserves a 7 because it's too tedious, as described below. 

 
I don't think its Becker singing, is it?

This isn't Donald Fagen singing the lead, and I've never given Dan anything less than an 8, but
this one deserves a 7 because it's too tedious, as described below. 

jazzface78 wrote:
"Felonious my old friend, step on in and let me shake your hand.
So glad that your here again for one more time let your madness run with mine"

Steely Life {#Cheers}



Thelonious, my old friend, as in Thelonious Monk!

So perfect!
God, I love this tune and I haven't heard it in ages (yes, shame on me!)
Oh yes, Bill. Kudos for whipping out a Steely Dan deep cut.
 lee_sf wrote:
Just back from one of their three San Francisco shows. Surprisingly good — I hadn't realized how many hit songs they had. The audience was completely into the show. One of the most enthusiastic audience responses I've been part of for awhile. 

This song, though... not one of their more notable ones.  
 
Not one of their bigger hits, and it's a bit slow-paced by today's standards, but still a great sound with great lyrics. I used to hate Steely Dan for some reason, but they've really grown on me over the years. 
Tedious.
...less bone-grating to hear than their later music...
Nice to hear this wonderful tune from a band I sorta got a 'stale' vibe from in the 80s. This album beams and I remember it well. So glad to hear this fresh tune again after so many years. Steely Dan lives on...yep.
Funny to think of Chevy Chase hanging with these guys as their drummer at Bard College...
"Felonious my old friend, step on in and let me shake your hand.
So glad that your here again for one more time let your madness run with mine" 

Steely Life {#Cheers}

A friend of mine has been in the lighting, stage and sound business his entire adult life and he tells me that every self respecting sound stage crew uses Steely Dan for their sound checks.{#Music}



This was released on Steely Dan's first LP - Can't Buy a Thrill in 1972
Steely Dan rules.
This song just played on Fredro radio too!{#Cheers} This one's got no words, just a number......10!!{#Notworthy}
Midnight Cruiser
"Can't Buy A Thrill" is one of the most played vinyl albums in my collection. And now, it's gonna be the most played CD. Steely Dan - I don't care if they're named after a dildo (although it tempts me to read the book.) They're sorta awesome.
 Stefen wrote:
As per Answers.com, "Steely Dan named themselves after a sex toy mentioned in the novel 'Naked Lunch' by William Burroughs."

 
Thanks for sharing Stefen.......{#Eek}
As per Answers.com, "Steely Dan named themselves after a sex toy mentioned in the novel 'Naked Lunch' by William Burroughs."

One of my favorite SD songs, and it sounds nothing like them.
 ArbiterOfGoodTaste wrote:

Night time, high out of our gourds, welding goggles on, in a Ming-era ancient Chinese walled city, pedaling recliner bikes through the cobblestone streets with an mp3 player and speakers in the basket of one of the bikes along with a half dozen cold beers. Rolling out of our domicile and through an arched stone gate into the main drag just as the solo hit. All the locals turning and smiling, stepping aside, accustomed to our antics in their town. I know everyone has their memory to tie to this song, and this is mine!

 

Great memorance....thanks so much for sharing.
Made me feel like I was there.....
Just back from one of their three San Francisco shows. Surprisingly good — I hadn't realized how many hit songs they had. The audience was completely into the show. One of the most enthusiastic audience responses I've been part of for awhile. 

This song, though... not one of their more notable ones.  
 von_Hayek wrote:
'70s Steely Dan: Always, always, always a 10!
 
I'm with you friend! Classic song, classic album!


Nice!
 cc_rider wrote:
I don't think I've ever heard this song before. I like it.
 
{#Shifty}

its amazing this band did not tour for so many years......they are awesome live
Everything with SD is.. mmmmmm

sorry I was lost there a sec, a tune some time back that sounded like Captain Beefheart?
I don't think I've ever heard this song before. I like it.
 ptooey wrote:
Now, I normally can't stand Steely Dan - fantastic musicians who seem to be soulless robots.  That being said, this song ain't half bad.  I'm in for a 7.
 

Watch it, ptooey. You're talking about the men I love...
 steeler wrote:
The imagery, man, the imagery. Speaks to me, in mysterious yet poignant ways.
 
Yup, I know what you mean. Strange but moving. Where are you going midnight cruiser?
Now, I normally can't stand Steely Dan - fantastic musicians who seem to be soulless robots.  That being said, this song ain't half bad.  I'm in for a 7.
 Stingray wrote:
Great band - not-so-great song!
 
Correcto-MUN-do!

 Andy_Bufton wrote:
Check out the Capability Brown version of this if you can - superior IMHO.
 
I found a streaming version here: https://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=3920
The vocals and solos in the original dominate, IMO.

'70s Steely Dan: Always, always, always a 10!
 acawtho wrote:
love the dan! beautiful music, great memories... love the dan!!
 
Night time, high out of our gourds, welding goggles on, in a Ming-era ancient Chinese walled city, pedaling recliner bikes through the cobblestone streets with an mp3 player and speakers in the basket of one of the bikes along with a half dozen cold beers. Rolling out of our domicile and through an arched stone gate into the main drag just as the solo hit. All the locals turning and smiling, stepping aside, accustomed to our antics in their town. I know everyone has their memory to tie to this song, and this is mine!

love the dan! beautiful music, great memories... love the dan!!
this midnight cruiser makes me sleepy ;-( 
Check out the Capability Brown version of this if you can - superior IMHO.
I love this song and the memories it evokes from my college days. 
rtrudeau wrote:





well in all fairness he did choose the username "UltraNurd" ....

 jcioban wrote:
SD was a staple when I was in college and we spent many a night imbibing to these sounds. Me thinks some of the comments come from younger folk who don't know who these guys are and what they represent in the music pantheon....
 
What he said. I was in a poor musical state when I got to college and was introduced to SD and nothing was the same after that.

 Stingray wrote:
Great band - not-so-great song!

I must admit: it took me 20 years to understand that Steely Dan is indeed a wonderful band.
...and another 10 years to know what a (!) "STEELY DAN" is.
But that´s not an appropiate subject for the American market!
These Americans....hahaaaa!
 
vibrator, vibrator, vibrator...there you go Stingray. You Germans, hahahaha

Great band - not-so-great song!

I must admit: it took me 20 years to understand that Steely Dan is indeed a wonderful band.
...and another 10 years to know what a (!) "STEELY DAN" is.
But that´s not an appropiate subject for the American market!
These Americans....hahaaaa!


 squidish wrote:
Why does the vocal sound so different from their other songs? Who's singing? Is the bridge stolen from Pure Prarie League?


 
Original drummer Jim Hodder is the vocalist (see first post wa-a-a-a-ay down below...). Don't know about the bridge.

 UltraNurd wrote:


Well, depending on how canonical you consider the "Enterprise" episode "Acquisition", the Federation (and therefore Spock) had no formal contact with the Ferengi until the events of "The Last Outpost" from TNG's first season.

 


SD was a staple when I was in college and we spent many a night imbibing to these sounds. Me thinks some of the comments come from younger folk who don't know who these guys are and what they represent in the music pantheon....
Fond memories of this band indeed....First album is my favorite though....{#Sunny}
Why does the vocal sound so different from their other songs? Who's singing? Is the bridge stolen from Pure Prarie League?

buddy wrote:
Happy 16th birthday!
:high-five:
dwhayslett wrote:
Spock loves Steely Dan. :whistle:
Not sure about him, but I bet Seven-of-Nine loves a good Steely Dan.
Shaken_Bake wrote:
"Can't Buy A Thrill" is a classic, and should be listed as the source!
:kiss:
redeyespy wrote:
"Felonius, my old friend...."
Ah! Thought they were talking about this guy:
mefrombrazil wrote:
peter gabriel's voice stolen.
You must be.. :drunk:
The imagery, man, the imagery. Speaks to me, in mysterious yet poignant ways.
peter gabriel's voice stolen.
Shaken_Bake wrote:
Love this song to death! I can't stand, though, that it's credited with being from these stupid "best of" albums, instead of the original... "Can't Buy A Thrill" is a classic, and should be listed as the source!
I couldn't agree more! :frown:
It's my birthday. no playing crappy songs like this one.
omg - truly a blast from the past. One of those songs I know I love but forgot about simply due to lack of play....bygone times for sure. happy ones.
Love this song to death! I can't stand, though, that it's credited with being from these stupid "best of" albums, instead of the original... "Can't Buy A Thrill" is a classic, and should be listed as the source!
trekhead wrote:
No, no. That was Deely Stan, trader to the Ferengi. Common mistake. :lol:
Well, depending on how canonical you consider the "Enterprise" episode "Acquisition", the Federation (and therefore Spock) had no formal contact with the Ferengi until the events of "The Last Outpost" from TNG's first season.
federico wrote:
a good candidate to be the definition of bland
I couldn't agree more!!!! Some of their stuff is OK, but you have to be in the mood.
Fantastic! Click on that album. There are like 60 cool SD tunes.
This is one of my favorite albums..Outstanding songs
love it! and i'm with panama flloyd
Thanks, Bill. Now play "The Royal Scam" again!!!