Steely Dan at Tahoe will be Reelin’ in the years Saturday
August 1, 2008
As the wheel of music continue to turn on in this post-’60s,-’70s, -’80s, -’90s-universe, we are left to wonder lately about what may have happened to the young lady forever known as “Hey Nineteen” ” the object of desire for an older man in the song by the same name.
If one does the math, Hey Nineteen would turn 60 this year, some 28 years after the release of Steely Dan’s 1980 double-platinum “Goucho.” The Grammy award-winning, jazz-fusion funk rock group will play Saturday at Harveys Outdoor Concert Arena as part of its Think Fast tour, Steely Dan’s second Tahoe appearance in five years.
While there are a litany of memorable songs in the Steely Dan collection ” “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number,” “Peg,” “Josie,” “Aja” and “My Old School” among them ” “Hey Nineteen,” the ode to a young party girl, stands out for many as one of the band’s most memorable. It’s a song about an older man who recalls the time he spent with a young lady (some would say too young) in 1967.
By all measures, the “sweet thing from Boston” wasn’t very bright in 1967, a turbulent year where many young men and women had to grow up fast ” confronting an unpopular war, civil rights issues and an evolving women’s liberation movement.
Accordingly the older narrator says he couldn’t talk much with the young woman because they had nothing in common. He also didn’t think they could dance together because of their difference in age.
(For God’s sake, she was so out of it that she had no idea who Aretha Franklin ” “The Queen of Soul” ” was.)
Recommended Stories For You
And so the story goes that Hey Nineteen from Boston decided to make her home in Scarsdale, N.Y., but no one is really quite sure if she attended Sarah Lawrence or some other college or university in the New York City area.
We suspect that part of her college “education” was to seek out an older man. Someone who would take her to parties, buy her Cuervo tequila shots and supply her with Colombia’s finest marijuana and cocaine.
Or so it goes to according to the lyrics in the song.
In no way would we ever condone the older man’s alcohol-and drug consuming lifestyle, but he didn’t necessarily chase down “Hey Nineteen” like that stalker guy wearing the Fez from that other Steely Dan song, “The Fez.”
No, the young and willing sought him out and he merely obliged.
When it comes to the ethical question of the younger woman/older man, nothing’s changed much since 1967. The premise remains a true moral conundrum for the likes of most Americans, with the exception of professional athletes, Hollywood types and rock stars.
So happy 60th birthday to you, Hey Nineteen, where ever you are these days. We’re not sure where you’re living, but we hope you’ve learned a thing or two over the past 40 years. We hope you’ve settled down some from your wild and reckless 1967 ways.
Had you paid attention over the years ” and we hope that you did ” you’ll remember some major events of the time. Here’s some of the big ones:
– Late 1967: Steely Dan forms, with songwriter Donald Fagen and guitarist Walter Becker. The pair and actor-comedian Chevy Chase called themselves the Leather Canary.
– 1968: The deaths of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.; Leather Canary begins tracking songs through 1971. Band changes name to Steely Dan.
– 1972: Steely Dan releases “Can’t Buy a Thrill.”
– 1973: Five men caught breaking into the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate Building, Washington, D.C., Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision; Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes; Steely Dan releases “Countdown to Ecstasy”
– 1974: Richard Nixon resigns; Steely Dan releases “Pretzel Logic”
– 1975: The premiere of “Saturday Night Live,” with guest host George Carlin; Steely Dan releases “Katy Lied.”
– 1976: United States celebrates its bicentennial; Steely Dan releases “The Royal Scam.”
– 1977: President Carter grants pardon to American draft resisters; Steely Dan releases “Aja.”
– 1980: Mount St. Helens erupts, John Lennon murdered; Steely Dan introduces the world to you, “Time Out of Mind” on the double-platinum album “Gaucho.”
– 1982: Time Magazine names “The Computer” its man of the year; Steely Dan songwriter Donald Fagen releases “The Nightfly” after the 1981 announcement that Fagen and guitarist Walter Becker would disband Steely Dan.
– 1988: After eight years and 1.5 million dead, the Iran-Iraq war ends; Fagen makes soundtrack contribution, “Century’s End,” to the Michael J. Fox film “Bright Lights, Big City.”
– 1993: Bill Clinton becomes president of the United States; Fagen releases his second solo album, “Kamakiriad” which Walter Becker produced. This led to their reunion as a writing team. They go on to create “Live in America” a concert album.
– 1994: Tonya Harding wins the national figure skating championship but is stripped of her title following an a bat to the knees attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan; Fagen co-produces Becker’s solo debut, “11 Tracks of Whack.”
– 2000: Republican nominee George W. Bush defeats Democrat Vice President Al Gore, but the final outcome is unknown for more than a month because of disputed votes in Florida. The U.S. Supreme Court goes against the popular vote by naming Bush president. Americans seemingly complacent about historic high court decision against the majority vote; Steely Dan releases their first studio album in 20 years, “Two Against Nature.” Album earns them four Grammy Awards.
– 2003: Bush administration begins war in Iraq; calls it “pre-emptive” because of so-called weapons of mass destruction. Subsequently No WMDs found in Iraq; Steely Dan releases “Everything Must Go” and tours America including making a stop at Lake Tahoe for the Harveys Outdoor Concert Series. Concert sells out. Fans say concert was arguably the best show ever to come to South Shore Lake Tahoe.
– 2008: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, a black man, is the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president of the United States; Steely Dan launches the Think Fast tour, with an Aug. 2 date at the Harveys Outdoor Concert series.