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Steely Dan Songs - Deacon Blues Lyrics

Deacon Blues Lyrics By Steely Dan Songs Album: Aja Year: 1977 This is the day of the expanding man That shape is my shade There where I used to stand It s

Steely Dan - Deacon Blues
Steely Dan - Deacon Blues

Steely Dan - Deacon Blues Lyrics and Youtube Music Videos

Album: Aja
Released: 1977

Deacon Blues Lyrics

This is the day of the expanding man
That shape is my shade
There where I used to stand
It seems like only yesterday
I gazed through the glass
At ramblers, wild gamblers
That's all in the past

You call me a fool
You say it's a crazy scheme
This one's for real
I already bought the dream
So useless to ask me why
Throw a kiss and say goodbye
I'll make it this time
I'm ready to cross that fine line

I'll learn to work the saxophone
I play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whiskey all night long
And die behind the wheel
They got a name for the winners in the world
And I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

My back to the wall
A victim of laughing chance
This is for me
The essence of true romance
Sharing the things we know and love
With those of my kind
That stagger the mind

I crawl like a viper
Through these suburban streets
Make love to these women
Languid and bittersweet
I'll rise when the sun goes down
Cover every game in town
A world of my own
I'll make it my home sweet home


This is the night of the expanding man
I take one last drag
As I approach the stand
I cried when I wrote this song
Sue me if I play too long
This brother is free
I'll be what I want to be

Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Deacon Blues
  • This song has the curious chorus line of:

    They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
    Call me Deacon Blues

    At the same time, the University Of Alabama was a football powerhouse, winning the National Championship in 1973 and losing just one game in each of their next two seasons under the direction of their famous coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. Alabama is known as "The Crimson Tide," a grandiose name that Steely Dan's Walter Becker and Donald Fagen found amusing.

    The "Deacon" is often thought to be the Wake Forest University "Demon Deacons," whose football team struggled for much of the '70s, winning just 7 games from 1972-1975. According to Fagen, however, that name came from Deacon Jones, a star football player with the Rams and Chargers who got a lot of attention in the media because of his aggressive play and outsized personality. The name fit well into the song, with "Deacon" matching up sonically with "Crimson."
  • The song is about a guy who Becker describes as a "Triple-L loser." He told The Wall Street Journal: It's not so much about a guy who achieves his dream but about a broken dream of a broken man living a broken life."

    Fagen added: "Many people have assumed the song is about a guy in the suburbs who ditches his life to become a musician. In truth, I'm not sure the guy actually achieves his dream. He might not even play the horn. It's the fantasy life of a suburban guy from a certain subculture. Many of our songs are journalistic. But this one was more autobiographical, about our own dreams when we were growing up in different suburban communities—me in New Jersey and Walter in Westchester County."
  • When asked about the line, "They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, they call me Deacon Blues," Donald Fagen told Rolling Stone magazine: "Walter and I had been working on that song at a house in Malibu. I played him that line, and he said, 'You mean it's like, 'They call these cracker a--holes this grandiose name like the Crimson Tide, and I'm this loser, so they call me this other grandiose name, Deacon Blues?' and I said 'Yeah!' He said, 'Cool, let's finish it.'"
  • The Scottish rock group Deacon Blue, who enjoyed seven Top 20 UK hits between 1988 and 1994, took their name from this song.
  • Regarding the opening line, "This is the day of the expanding man," Donald Fagen cites the 1953 sci-fi novel The Demolished Man, by Alfred Bester, as an influence. The book finds the main character "expanding" is mind and thinking of all the possibilities in his life.
  • When our hero is "ready to cross that fine line" in this song, that's the line between being a loser and being a winner, a line that according to Becker he has tried to cross before, but without success.
  • Musicians on this track are:

    Lead Vocals, Synthesizer: Donald Fagen
    Bass: Walter Becker
    Drums: Bernard Purdie
    Electric Piano (Fender Rhodes): Victor Feldman
    Guitar: Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour
    Tenor Saxophone: Pete Christlieb
    Backing Vocals: Clydie King, Sherlie Matthews, Venetta Fields
  • The 12-second intro on this track is one of the most distinctive openings in rock. It was created by having guitarist Larry Carlton and piano player Victor Feldman play the same chords, which were layered together with drummer Bernard Purdie's cymbals.
  • When this song was near completion, Becker and Fagen decided they wanted a sax solo, and they had a very specific sound in mind: the tenor sax that played going to commercial on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. They tracked down the sax player in the Tonight Show band, Pete Christlieb, who recorded his part after a taping of the show. There are many tales of musicians being asked to do take after take during a Steely Dan session, but Christlieb was done in 30 minutes, and it was his second take they used. His part, and the rest of the horns, were arranged by Tom Scott.

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