1976 Steely Dan – The Royal Scam

The Royal Scam is the fifth studio album by Steely Dan, originally released by ABC Records in 1976. The album went gold and peaked at #15 on the charts. The Royal Scam features more prominent guitar work than the prior Steely Dan album, Katy Lied, which had been the first without founding guitarist Jeff Baxter. Guitarists on the recording include Walter Becker, Denny Dias, Larry Carlton, Elliott Randall and Dean Parks.

In common with other Steely Dan albums, The Royal Scam is littered with cryptic allusions to people and events both real and fictional. In a BBC interview in 2000, Becker and Fagen revealed that “Kid Charlemagne” is loosely based on Augustus Owsley Stanley, the notorious drug “chef” who was famous for manufacturing hallucinogenic compounds, and that “Caves of Altamira”, based on a book by Hans Baumann, is about the loss of innocence, the narrative about a visitor to the Cave of Altamira who registers his astonishment at the prehistoric drawings. It is also influenced by Plato’s Cave Allegory and Keats’ ‘Ode to a Grecian Urn”.

The album was re-issued by MCA Records in 1979 following the sale of the ABC Records label to MCA.


Kid Charlemagne (Donald Fagen; Walter Becker) 4:40
2  The Caves of Altamira (Donald Fagen; Walter Becker) 3:32
3  Don\’t Take me Alive (Donald Fagen; Walter Becker) 4:14
4  Sign In Stranger (Donald Fagen; Walter Becker) 4:21
The Fez (Donald Fagen; Walter Becker; Paul Griffin) 3:59
6  Green Earrings (Donald Fagen; Walter Becker) 4:10
Haitian Divorce (Donald Fagen; Walter Becker) 5:50
8  Everything You Did (Donald Fagen; Walter Becker) 3:57
9  The Royal Scam (Donald Fagen; Walter Becker) 6:32


BassChuck Rainey
BassWalter Becker
DrumsBernard Purdie
DrumsRick Marotta
GuitarDean Parks
GuitarDenny Dias
GuitarElliott Randall
GuitarLarry Carlton
GuitarWalter Becker
KeyboardsDon Grolnick
KeyboardsPaul Griffin
KeyboardsVictor Feldman
KeyboardsDonald Fagen
HornsBobby Findley
HornsJim Horn
HornsJohn Klemmer
HornsPlas Johnson
HornsDick Hyde
HornsChuck Findley
PercussionGary Coleman
PercussionVictor Feldman
Background VocalsClydie King
Background VocalsMichael McDonald
Background VocalsSherlie Matthews
Background VocalsTimothy B Schmit
Background VocalsVenetta Fields
VocalsDonald Fagen

Liner Notes

Producer – Gary Katz
Arranged By (Horns) – Chuck Findley, Donald Fagen, Walter Becker
Engineer – Elliot Scheiner, Roger Nichols
Engineer (Mix Down) – Barney Perkins, Roger Nichols
Mastered By – Brian Gardner
Technician – Bob DeAvila, Stuart Dawson, Warren Wallace

Art Direction, Design – Ed Caraeff
Cover Art – Charlie Ganse, Zox
Design – Tom Nikosey

Phonographic Copyright (p) – ABC Records, Inc.
Copyright (c) – ABC Records, Inc.
Engineered At – ABC Recording Studios
Engineered At – A&R Studios
Mastered At – Allen Zentz Mastering
Pressed By – Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Santa Maria