Monday, September 24, 2012

Donald Fagen - "I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)"

I.G.Y. - The Nightfly

(Debuted November 27, 1982, Peaked #26, 13 Weeks on the Chart)

The I.G.Y. referred to in this song is the International Geophysical Year, and depite the futuristic and utopian lyrics the event actually took place in 1957-'58, but was propagated by a group of scientists who saw visions that were expressed in the song's words. The entire content of Donald Fagen's LP The Nightfly was based on his recollections of growing up during that time, surrounded by optimism and great hopes for the future. In a way, it was a much brighter collection than the albums of Fagen's former group Steely Dan.

Speaking of Steely Dan, while The Nightfly was a solo effort, its recording was similar to the "old days" for Fagen. With 31 session musicians supplementing the music and Steely Dan producer Gary Katz onboard, it seemed all that was missing from the project was co-member Walter Becker. It was also one of the first albums that was recorded digitally, with several audio engineers using it to check their own setups due to the way it was laid down. And this was even before the advent of the CD and the digital age that followed.

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