Phish’s Trey Anastasio Dazzles With Steely Dan Tribute At Songwriters Hall of Fame Ceremony

Watch Anastasio lead performances of Steely Dan classics “Kid Charlemagne” and “Reelin’ In The Years.”

By Scott Bernstein Jun 14, 2024 7:16 am PDT

Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio helped honor Steely Dan at the Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday night. Anastasio led the house band in paying tribute to The Dan by performing their classic songs “Kid Charlemagne” and “Reelin’ In The Years” after their induction into the prestigious institution during a gala held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City’s Times Square.

Steely Dan — co-founded by Donald Fagen and the late Walter Becker — were part of the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024 along with R.E.M., Timbaland, Hillary Lindsey and Dean Pitchford. Super-manager and music industry heavyweight Irving Azoff gave a speech inducting Steely Dan into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He spoke about the time they sent a blank photo as a promo image. “To say they had a great sense of humor would be an understatement,” Azoff said before Donald Fagen accepted the honor. “I’d like to thank my partner Walter Becker, wherever he may be,” Fagen said in during his speech.

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Trey Anastasio called the ceremony “the most important” that he would want to be a part of in a red carpet interview. “I am in a song-based industry. Music, it’s all about the songs, it always has been and it always will be — regardless of the style,” Anastasio added. He also noted the gala’s proximity to Broadway and his love of the theater.

“Steely Dan — who I am inducting tonight — I loved them when I was a kid, I have all their albums — probably some of the first guitar solos I ever learned,” Anastasio said. “But the songs, it’s about the songs. Gaucho might be my favorite [Steely Dan album], Aja, Pretzel Logic, The Royal Scam. It is my great honor to induct them into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. I am a true fan.”

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While there’s no denying the huge influence Steely Dan has played on Trey Anastasio and Phish, the guitarist had never covered any of Becker and Fagen’s songs with Phish or any of his solo projects. Phish has literally performed songs by hundreds of artists making the lack of Steely Dan tunes in the repertoire stand out.

Trey Anastasio fronted a talented house band at the gala assembled by and featuring Emmy-winning, Tony & Grammy nominated arranger-composer-producer Rob Mathes (Sting/Bruce Springsteen/Elvis Costello/Lou Reed) on keys. Anastasio handled lead vocals and let it rip on “Kid Charlemagne” and “Reelin’ In The Years” as drummer Shawn Pelton (Saturday Night Live) delivered a bombastic beat. The rest of the ensemble was comprised of keyboardist Henry Hay (David Bowie, Empire Of The Sun), guitarist Erick Walls (Michael Jackson, Black Eyed Peas), bassist James Genus (Saturday Night Live) and percussionist Bashiri Johnson (Madonna, Bob Dylan) along with backing vocalists Jill Dell’ Abate, Vaneese Thomas and Dennis Collins.

Watch fan-shot footage of the two-song tribute, a pro-shot clip and video of Trey’s red carpet interview below:


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The Canzone
Trey Anastasio (See 242 videos)
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