Pretzel Logic is the third Steely Dan album, originally released in 1974. The album's opening song, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number", became the band's biggest hit, reaching #4 on the charts soon after the release of the album. The album itself went gold, and then platinum, reaching #8 on the charts. The album was also highly regarded critically, appearing near the top of several end-of-year polls including the number one slot on Album of the Year and the number two spot on both Robert Christgau and the Village Voice end-of-year lists.
Steely Dan was still considered a true “group” at the time this, their third album, was released (in addition to core members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, guitarists Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Denny Dias as well as multi-instrumentalist Victor Feldman had appeared on both previous Steely Dan releases along with a host of session aces; all five appeared on the inside cover of the album). The tour supporting this album would be the last time any version of Steely Dan appeared live until decades later, as Becker and Fagen's disillusionment with live performance during the tour would lead both to an end to such performance and a disbanding of the Steely Dan lineup. Much of this disillusionment was due to audiences' lack of reception of more complex material. This would lead Becker and Fagen to move to being a studio duo with varied backing on following albums, still under the name Steely Dan.
Something of a compromise between the tight pop of the band's 1972 debut Can't Buy a Thrill and the extended instrumental explorations of 1973’s Countdown to Ecstasy, Pretzel Logic was unlike anything else on the radio in 1974.
Initial versions of the Remastered CD issue contained an abridged version of "Rikki Don't Lose That Number". This has been corrected on subsequent pressings. The album was originally released in 2 channel Stereo and also in a special 4-channel Quadrophonic mix. There are some significant musical differences between the two mixes. This was the last of three Steely Dan albums to be issued in both 2 and 4 channel formats.
|Year||Single||Label & number||Position|
|1974||"Pretzel Logic" (3:59 edit) (B-side: "Through With Buzz")||ABC 12033||57|
|1974||"Rikki Don't Lose That Number" (B-side: "Any Major Dude Will Tell You")||ABC 11439||4|