Was there any kind of a feud going on between Steely Dan and the Eagles in the ’70s?
In the steel-cage death match of tasteful ’70s rock bands lacking muscle tone, Steely Dan fired the first shot, on their 1976 album The Royal Scam. “Everything You Did,” a bitter, vengeful song directed at a lover, features the line “turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening.” Glenn Frey of the Eagles said, “Apparently Walter Becker’s girlfriend loved the Eagles, and she played them all the time. I think it drove him nuts. So, the story goes that they were having a fight one day and that was the genesis of the line.” Given that the two bands shared a manager (Irving Azoff) and that the Eagles proclaimed their admiration for Steely Dan, this was more friendly rivalry than feud. Nevertheless, on “Hotel California” the same year, the Eagles sent a barbed-wire kiss back to Steely Dan with the lyric “They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast.” Frey commented, “We just wanted to allude to Steely Dan rather than mentioning them outright, so ‘Dan’ got changed to ‘knives,’ which is still, you know, a penile metaphor.”
(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)