Early in ’72, the original Steely Dan group - guitarist Denny Dias, guitarist Jeff Baxter, drummer Jim Hodder, and with Donald and Walter on keyboards and bass respectively - began rehearsing in an unfinished wing of the ABC building. Several weeks later, the group began recording their first album at Village Recorders in West Hollywood with engineer Roger Nichols. After being informed that ABC expected the group to tour extensively, Donald, who wasn’t prepared to front a band at that time, insisted on finding another singer/frontman, and David Palmer was added to the group.Can’t Buy A Thrill, released that November, yielded two hit singles, "Do It Again" and "Reelin' In The Years", which featured a notable solo by guest guitarist Elliot Randall. A third single, "Dirty Work", with a vocal by David Palmer, also got a lot of airplay.The band toured behind Can’t Buy A Thrilland the following two albums,Countdown to Ecstasy and Pretzel Logic,both in the States and Britain. The band, now with Donald as the lead vocalist, expanded to include drummer Jeff Porcaro, keyboard/vocalist Michael McDonald and percussionist/vocalist Royce Jones.
Now one of the top international touring bands, Steely Dan’s first new album in twenty years was highly anticipated. 2001 saw Two Against Nature win four Grammys including the award for Album of the Year. In March, Steely Dan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Finally, in May, Donald and Walter received honorary doctorates from the Berklee College of music. The album Everything Must Go was released in 2003, followed by a triumphant American tour. The band now boasted an all-star lineup: Keith Carlock on drums; "Ready" Freddie Washington on bass; Jim Beard, keyboards; Jon Herington, guitar; Walt Weiskopf and Roger Rosenberg, saxes; and vocalists Carolyn Leonhart, Catherine Russell, LaTanya Hall and Cindy Mizelle.