Happy 71st Birthday to Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen, whose vocals, keyboards, and songwriting talents have, for decades, merged the intricacies of jazz with his perfect pop sensibility. Steely Dan’s 2000 LP ‘Two Against Nature’ won a Grammy for ‘Album Of The Year,’ and Fagen’s solo album Nightfly became a cult classic. From the hit single, ‘Reeling In The Years’, to the smooth and complex sounds of ‘Aja’ (and the psychedelic anthem ‘Kid Charlemagne’), the Passaic, New Jersey musician deserves two-thumbs-up for his brilliant body of work. WATCH him perform ‘Peg’… (1948)

As an author, Mr. Fagen penned the book, Eminent Hipsters, writing about the cultural figures that shaped his artistic sensibility, and offering a look at his college days and a hilarious account of life on the road. Already known for his literate song lyrics and elaborate arrangements, Fagen proves himself am equally sophisticated author. (Top photo from Raph_PH, 2017, CC license)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Thomas Paine published the immensely popular Common Sense pamphlet urging American colonists toward independence (1776)
  • League of Nations held its first meeting and ratified the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I (1920)
  • The first UN General Assembly opened with 51 nations (1946)
  • Edward Brooke (R-MA) took his seat as the first black elected to the US Senate by popular vote (1967)
  • The United States and the Vatican established full diplomatic relations after 117 years (1984)

And on this day in 1996, King Hussein of Jordan arrived in Israel for his first ever public visit to the largest city.King Hussein-jordon-rabin-israel-peace_Government_Press_Office_(GPO)_-_PM_Yizhak_Rabin_and_Jordan's_King_Hussein_greet_each_other

The leader, also a pilot, flew a helicopter to Tel Aviv for a ceremony honoring the negotiators of the successful 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace talks. Thousands of Israelis turned out to give him an enthusiastic welcome, waving Jordanian flags and signs written in Arabic. The peace talks were controversial for Hussein and Israeli Prime Minister Simon Peres, but went a long way toward establishing peace between the two Middle Eastern countries. The sides were also spurred by U.S. diplomacy from President Clinton.

And, Happy Birthday to raspy British rock vocalist and songwriter Rod Stewart, whose hit “Maggie May,” with its striking mandolin sound, was named one of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

With a long list of hit songs steeped in warmth, “Rod the Mod” turns 74 years old today. (1945)

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