If you’re a Steely Dan fan, you’re probably already familiar with the story behind the group’s long-lost song “Second Arrangement.” During the recording sessions for their 1980 album Gaucho, an assistant engineer tasked with preparing the tape of the song for playback accidentally erased most of it.
Donald Fagen, a notorious perfectionist, was so upset that he left the studio without uttering a word, and though Steely Dan would make a few attempts at recreating the erased take, none could live up to it, and the song remained unreleased. (Demo versions of it have surfaced online over the years, however.)
Now, 40 years later, we have a potential breakthrough: Cimcie Nichols, daughter of the late senior engineer Roger Nichols, recently posted on Facebook that she’d found a “Second Arrangement” tape.
Apparently tape decays over time, regardless of how well it’s been stored, and the magnetically preserved information may have dropped out or the material itself may even have worn away. The act of playing the tape could destroy it, so it’s best that a digital
Let's hope it all goes well!