To: Jann Wenner, Ahmet Ertegun, and The Commissioners: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
June 23 1997 
From: Donald Fagen and Walter Becker 
(DBA Steely Dan)


It has come to our attention that we are in possession of the largest privately owned collection of historically and culturally significant 3M digital multitrack tape recorders in the United States. As you are no doubt aware, machines of this type were the very first digital multitrack recorders available to the recording artist, and consequently were used to make the earliest digital pop recordings. These particular machines (until recently in use at our private studios in New York City and the state of Hawaii) were used in the making of many historic albums, including Ry Cooder's celebrated Bop Til You Drop, and Donald's The Nightfly. 

It has recently been determined that the historical value of these fine recording machines is so great as to eclipse their value in an actual workaday studio setting. It is our great pleasure to offer these recorders to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, so that they may be viewed and enjoyed by all and so that they may be preserved for posterity. For this donation we are asking for no compensation in return except for the usual tax deductions (outlined in "schedule A", enclosed.)

Of course, the iconic Steely Dan albums for which we are celebrated were not recorded on these instruments. Our career began in 1971, almost a decade before the advent of this digital technology. Be that as it may, these are awesome machines.

Incidentally, it has been mentioned to us that we would be eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year. 

But back to the 3M machines: We have at least three multitracks and a four track. It would be hard to put a dollar value on these rare old beauties for the purposes of determining the appropriate tax deduction. No doubt there are experts at your Museum who could help us to ascertain just how valuable these machines truly are at this time. Written confirmation that the current value of these machines is in excess of $800,000 would be of enormous value to us. In fact, we'd be willing to donate as much as $1500.00 to the Museum in exchange for such a document. Or, if you prefer, we could just take that amount off the sale price.

Incidentally, the "big green monsters" would make a splendid centerpiece for an exhibit celebrating the "Digital Age" or the "Age of Dan" or anything like that. 

We have been made aware of the furor over this year's televised inductions into the Hall. In order to avoid any confusion in the event of our timely induction next year, we would like to clarify the following points:

1) It is our position that inductees who perform at a televised event must be adequately compensated for their services. Anything short of that is un-American and contrary to the spirit of Rock and Roll. 

In that regard, we would extend the traditional Hand-Across-The-Flyovers to Mr. Neil Young, an A.F. of M. brother who has taken a similar stand in this matter,. We'd also like to mention that our fee for such an event would be in the middle six-figure range, if that's okay. 

2) We're wondering: Is it absolutely necessary that our entire original band be inducted into the Hall? Or would it be possible for just the two of us to receive this singular honor? After all, those other guys have been "outee" for a long time. In any case, it would not be possible to assemble the entire original ensemble (sadly, some members are definitively and permanently not available.) 

If an entire band is needed, what about our current band? We're about to go into the studio with these fellows. They play just great and look great too. As of about a month ago, they were all working in Europe with the excellent"blue-eyed"soul singer Pino Danielli. You're going to love them, we're absolutely sure. 

3) If the Commissioners are resolute in their belief that the original band members must be included, perhaps they could receive their statues or belts (or whatever it is they get) like, off-camera? Maybe backstage, or even at some other place and time? What do you think about something like that? 

4) We have taken the liberty of enclosing a check from our corporate account in the amount of $10,000 made out to Jann Wenner so as to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later. We're hoping that figure will be sufficient. And, by the way, Jann, that crate of homemade honey mustard is already on its way to you via FedEx, overnight priority, directly from our tables to your'n, so to speak. Enjoy!

Thank you, Commissioners and fellow music lovers! 

Donald Fagen & Walter Becker 
Founding members, Steely Dan