Classics and some curiosities in the history of music.
The Royal Scam is the fifth 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 other Steely Dan albums since the departure of 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. The album was re-issued by MCA Records in 1979 following the sale of the ABC Records label to MCA. The album cover shows a man in a suit, sleeping on a radiator, and apparently dreaming of skyscraper-beast hybrids. The cover was created from a painting by Zox and a photograph by Charlie Ganse, and was originally created for Van Morrison's unreleased 1975 album, Mechanical Bliss, the concept being a satire of the American Dream. In the liner notes for the 1999 remaster of the album, Fagen and Becker claim it to be "the most hideous album cover of the seventies, bar none (excepting perhaps Can't Buy a Thrill)."