The track, recorded in December 1979 while the band was laying down material for their 1980 album Gaucho. The group recorded the majority of the song, with only a few simple additions needed to bring it to completion. "The Second Arrangement" tapes had been accidentally erased. The band tried to recreate what they had recorded, but Donald Fagen was reportedly disappointed in the new version and decided to scrap the whole song.
Roger Nichols, the band’s longtime engineer, made a rough mix of the track on a cassette tape. He died in 2011, and his adult daughters took possession of his belongings.
They took the tape to a professional recording facility that was able to extract everything from the tape, which included not only "The Second Arrangement," but also a mix of "Were You Blind That Day," the track that became "Third World Man."
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