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Steely Dan — Doctor Wu
Album: Katy Lied
Avg rating:
6.8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1422









Released: 1975
Length: 3:48
Plays (last 30 days): 2
Katy tried
I was halfway crucified
I was on the other side
Of no tomorrow
You walked in
And my life began again
Just when I'd spent the last piaster
I could borrow
All night long
We would sing that stupid song
And every word we sang
I knew was true
Are you with me Doctor Wu
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew
Are you crazy are you high
Or just an ordinary guy
Have you done all you can do
Are you with me Doctor

Don't seem right
I've been strung out here all night
I've been waiting for the taste
You said you'd bring to me
Biscayne Bay
Where the Cuban gentlemen sleep all day
I went searching for the song
You used to sing to me
Katy lies
You could see it in her eyes
But imagine my surprise
When I saw you

Are you with me Doctor Wu
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew
She is lovely yes she's sly
And you're an ordinary guy
Has she finally got to you
Can you hear me Doctor
Comments (125)add comment
This is one of the best album cover of all time!
Yep. 

My favorite SD song. 

Great, crytpic lyrics. But also, very heart felt.

Great instrumentation, piano and sax. 

You can sinag along to it. 

Short song: like gossamer. It's gone quite quickly.  
  
 Alastair wrote:
I am a massive Steely Dan fan but I am always amazed at the number of Dan fans who list this as their favourite SD song, coz,,, gulp, I don't really rate it.   
 
Different things hit us differently. I tear up every time I hear this tune, which is right after I spend the last piaster I can borrow.

The album is Katy Lied.
And this song asserts that "Katy lies / you can see it in her eyes."
Look at that album cover: it's a Katydid
 ppopp wrote:
To my ears, if Steely Dan were a turntable, they would be made by Fisher Price.
 



I sold turntables (and other audio equipment) in a retail store back in the day and used to use the Dan to demonstrate just how good our high end turntables could sound. Your comment speaks volume about you.
 tazmondpembroke wrote:
My Grandma said not to say anything bad if there's nothing good to say.....and there isn't anything except for the name. After nearly fifty years the only thing still good about them is the name. Coming from William S. Burroughs I always expect a bands name to somehow reflect the talent - but a hard silver cock - I really think they're just a little flacid.
 

You managed not to take your grandma's advice
Still sounds great!!!  
My Grandma said not to say anything bad if there's nothing good to say.....and there isn't anything except for the name. After nearly fifty years the only thing still good about them is the name. Coming from William S. Burroughs I always expect a bands name to somehow reflect the talent - but a hard silver cock - I really think they're just a little flacid.
The RP Set:

+ One Time on King Crimson's Thrak album

+ Doctor Wu by Steely Dan on the Katy Lied album

FWIW, the wife adores Steely Dan and can listen to the music several days in a row.
 ppopp wrote:
To my ears, if Steely Dan were a turntable, they would be made by Fisher Price.
 

Is it that your ears were made by Fisher Price?
So much of Steely Dan's  music  is at least "Outstanding"  quite
a few "Godlike too........like this one "10" ! 
Oh mein Gott, erinnere dich an 1976 in Spanien, wir waren jung und verrückt. Eine sehr gute Musik für die Seele. A 10
Always reminds me of the RP listener with the coolest possible user name. Hat tip, big-time, Steely_D! Respect. pxd
It's 11!
Godlike. Nuf ced.
Jazz rock ambassadors to the universe.
I really hope you'll never decide to buy a turntable by yourself. 

ppopp wrote:
 
 

 ppopp wrote:
To my ears, if Steely Dan were a turntable, they would be made by Fisher Price.
 
OMG OMG OMG - you better get your ears checked!!!!  Easily one of the best of the best, la creme de la creme, superb bands of our time.  Respectfully - of course.
 GatoDeNieve wrote:
I really don't get why this song has so many 1 ratings...
 
Some people believe the world is interested in hearing them complain. 

This, like most Steely Dan tunes, is truly outstanding music.
To my ears, if Steely Dan were a turntable, they would be made by Fisher Price.
Sublime.  
 krisolson wrote:
You are a Philistine.
 

Let me start by saying I love RadioParadise, have been listening for many years and it's our go-to for music.  However, I would love to see a feature which allows you to auto-play-something-different when ANY Steely Dan song comes on.  I'd pay extra for that! :)
 idiot_wind wrote:
For anyone not familiar with Steely Dan, just go sample and listen to songs from any of their first four albums. The creativity, the diverse  musicianship,  the cryptic lyrics, and the hooks. Always the hooks. 

It's a shame that today's bands don't even attempt or even try this approach to R&R music.          
 
You had me right until the last paragraph.
Besides the Phil Woods sax solo, I always listen to the piano track. In the first verse and the chorus, the piano acts as a form of harmony. In the second verse, it acts more as a counterpoint to the melody. 

Becker and Fagan were meticulous in their approach to every song but it really stands out here. 
Everything from Steely Dan is fantastic. Saw him in concert a couple years ago and still great. Could listen to his music all day!
Bill, please never do that again. My aching ears!
Caught Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers last summer.  Outstanding performances by both bands.
 idiot_wind wrote:
Their best song from this album.

Is this their best album, or the other five they put out in the 1970s?

Just a phenomenal band. 

RIP Walter B. 
 
 

Not sure whether it's SD's best album (although it is superb!), that would have to be AJa, but I do think that this is just an outstanding tune.
 Steely_D wrote:
With the hindsight of a few decades: This is the precursor of the song "Aja."

The production is different, but we have the Asian overtones, the jazzy quality, and the cool instrumental fade out just like Aja. 
 
Agreed. Good call SD!
I really don't get why this song has so many 1 ratings...
Please consider playing Babylon Sisters. Its from their Gaucho album? 
lame
 westslope wrote:
SD put out some of the best popular music from the period.


SD put out some of the best music EVER...
 pinto wrote:

100% in agreement with what you said.
 

I think because it's short and sweet, but has all the elements of a great SD song, and all the elements are quite potent. Hook, hooks, and hooks.    
 Alastair wrote:
I am a massive Steely Dan fan but I am always amazed at the number of Dan fans who list this as their favourite SD song, coz,,, gulp, I don't really rate it.   

 
100% in agreement with what you said.
{#Music}{#Notworthy}
?
I am a massive Steely Dan fan but I am always amazed at the number of Dan fans who list this as their favourite SD song, coz,,, gulp, I don't really rate it.   
 MM_Prague wrote:
I prefer the Minutemen version...

 
Me too! I listen to Steely Dan and think its a snooze.
 angelomisterioso wrote:

Absolutely!!!
 

 idiot_wind wrote:
Their best song from this album.

Is this their best album, or the other five they put out in the 1970s?

Just a phenomenal band. 

RIP Walter B. 
 
 

Wow, 1975. Say it hasn't been that long.
Their best song from this album.

Is this their best album, or the other five they put out in the 1970s?

Just a phenomenal band. 

RIP Walter B. 
 
I prefer the Minutemen version...
just moved from 9 to 10....
{#Devil_pimp}zesty ! still one of my favorite dan albums cuz daddy don't live in that new York cith no mo
I work with a  Dr. Wu, a lovely person and great physician.

And, yes, she's heard all the jokes.
For anyone not familiar with Steely Dan, just go sample and listen to songs from any of their first four albums. The creativity, the diverse  musicianship,  the cryptic lyrics, and the hooks. Always the hooks. 

It's a shame that today's bands don't even attempt or even try this approach to R&R music.          
About as god-like as it gets here: superb songwriting and sublime musicality! In addition, it just oozes a sexy, hip, and very cool appeal.
 Steely_D wrote:
Such a beautiful song. It's my first car, and the 8-track tape player, and the end of high school.

The album is Katy Lied.
And this song asserts that "Katy lies / you can see it in her eyes."
Look at that album cover: it's a Katydid. 

I love it when someone puts so much thought into what they're doing. 

(and check my location)

 


 alanthecowboy wrote:

I had something similar happen about 20 years ago.. Leafing through the used vinyl in the local shop, and a song came on, and I went up and asked the clerk what the heck it was.  He handed me Dummy by Portishead...  

I was already a SD fan by then, but that started an obsession with Triphop, or it was called in the 90's. 

Ahhh...record stores....I miss you so!  Actually, I miss Silver Platters from the day, it was before you could just Youtube or Google whatever you wanted and presto there it was.  And by the time I was buying only CDs (i.e. mid 90s) that store just felt like xmas morning....so many choices and only $xx to spend.  Then after that I'd go to the 2nd hand record stores, where you get a customer experience somewhat like the following (from Barry, played by Jack Black, in the movie High Fidelity):

Customer: Hi, do you have the song "I Just Called To Say I Love You?" It's for my daughter's birthday.  Barry: Yea we have it.  Customer: Great great... Well, can I have it?  Barry: No, you can't.  Customer: Why not?!  Barry: Because it's sentimental tacky crap that's why. Do we look like a store that sells "I Just Called to Say I Love You"? Go to the mall!  Customer: What's your problem?!  Barry: Do you even know your daughter? There's no way she likes that song! Oh oh oh wait! Is she in a coma?  Customer: Oh, okay buddy. I didn't know it was Pick on the Middle-Aged Square Guy Day. My apologies. I'll be on my way.  Barry: Buh-bye!  Customer: F#$k you


SD put out some of the best popular music from the period.
 LPCity wrote:

Now that's a great story and one that I can relate to.  And it also makes me think about how young kids today purchase and listen to their music.  Pretty good chance that the encounter you describe is not to likely to have a chance to occur.  Shame really.

 
I had something similar happen about 20 years ago.. Leafing through the used vinyl in the local shop, and a song came on, and I went up and asked the clerk what the heck it was.  He handed me Dummy by Portishead...  

I was already a SD fan by then, but that started an obsession with Triphop, or it was called in the 90's. 
We should all be like Dr Wu. 

And maybe like Becker and Fagan, who see the world in a wonderful and strange way.

And maybe like the sax player (Tom Scott? David Sanborn?)  
 ScottishWillie wrote:
First I was Prog Rocker, then I was a Punk and Steely Dan was neither. Furthermore it was obviously Jaz, so there was no way my younger more dogmatic self would be listening to any of that crap.

During the late 80's I was in a record shop (For younger listeners that's a place were vinyl was stored in alphabetical order and where old time people purchased their music) and this song came on. I asked the rather attractive cashier what it was and agreed on how good it sounded. She returned with the album and said to my horror it was Seely Dan! There was no way I was looking like a fool I was in font such a pretty girl so I bought it. While I never saw that girl again the encounter started a life long love of Sreely Dan. 



 
Now that's a great story and one that I can relate to.  And it also makes me think about how young kids today purchase and listen to their music.  Pretty good chance that the encounter you describe is not to likely to have a chance to occur.  Shame really.
With the hindsight of a few decades: This is the precursor of the song "Aja."

The production is different, but we have the Asian overtones, the jazzy quality, and the cool instrumental fade out just like Aja. 

Bought tix for the middle week of their upcoming LV residency. Very excited as you might guess.
oh, i love this one.
First I was Prog Rocker, then I was a Punk and Steely Dan was neither. Furthermore it was obviously Jaz, so there was no way my younger more dogmatic self would be listening to any of that crap.

During the late 80's I was in a record shop (For younger listeners that's a place were vinyl was stored in alphabetical order and where old time people purchased their music) and this song came on. I asked the rather attractive cashier what it was and agreed on how good it sounded. She returned with the album and said to my horror it was Seely Dan! There was no way I was looking like a fool I was in font such a pretty girl so I bought it. While I never saw that girl again the encounter started a life long love of Sreely Dan. 


Simply the best. Would like to find a transcription of the alto solo so I can (attempt to) play it. 
 Steely_D wrote:
Such a beautiful song. It's my first car, and the 8-track tape player, and the end of high school.

The album is Katy Lied.
And this song asserts that "Katy lies / you can see it in her eyes."
Look at that album cover: it's a Katydid. 

I love it when someone puts so much thought into what they're doing. 

(and check my location)

 
Hey man, you get it! Behold the wonders of Steely Dan! Every song...its this way.   
 hayduke2 wrote:

Super Happy Up-coming B'Day treatment_bound : )

love Steely Dan (was Doctor Wu a Tony Randall movie? )

 
The Tony Randall movie was named "The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao".
Only recently I learned the origin of this band's name. Since RP is supposed to be appropriate for all ages, I refer the interested to a search engine or wikipedia {#Cheesygrin}

Did someone say a "ditty?" This is a tight little jazz tune wrapped in a pop-song's ABAB structure. Excellent musicianship and fabulous production- thanks also to Phil Woods, Victor Feldman, and Larry Carlton for that album.  Kind weird audio quality on that LP compared to Aja for example which is pure hi-fi heaven!


 treatment_bound wrote:

Yeah, I was thinking about that.  Today's late teens and the 20-30 crowd have for the most-part embraced the classic rock warhorses of yesteryear (Zep, Stones, Beatles, etc.). 

But does Steely Dan get any love today by the retro hipsters?

P.S.-Happy belated #56, hayduke2!  I'll be joing you there in 7 weeks.

Remember when we were young, and 56 seemed like "almost DEAD"!  Where the hell did the time go?

 
When I was a kid, my dad, who was a master of weird New York City slang and curses in like 14 different languages, used the term "piastre" to mean, if I may be quite precise: "a coin of such little value it wasn't worth picking up from the street."
Such a beautiful song. It's my first car, and the 8-track tape player, and the end of high school.

The album is Katy Lied.
And this song asserts that "Katy lies / you can see it in her eyes."
Look at that album cover: it's a Katydid. 

I love it when someone puts so much thought into what they're doing. 

(and check my location)
Thank you! just saw them last night at the Capitol Theater in NY. best show ever. don t miss them if they come to your area.
6.6? Are you crazy, are you high? {#Smile}
  hayduke2 wrote:
Pop for us mature folks

 treatment_bound wrote:

Yeah, I was thinking about that.  Today's late teens and the 20-30 crowd have for the most-part embraced the classic rock warhorses of yesteryear (Zep, Stones, Beatles, etc.). 

But does Steely Dan get any love today by the retro hipsters?

P.S.-Happy belated #56, hayduke2!  I'll be joing you there in 7 weeks.

Remember when we were young, and 56 seemed like "almost DEAD"!  Where the hell did the time go?

 
Super Happy Up-coming B'Day treatment_bound : )

love Steely Dan (was Doctor Wu a Tony Randall movie? )
 Skydog wrote:
was he really spending piasters?{#Ask}

 
{#Ask}... figure of speech, used as a synonym for dollar, because it is more lyrical. Maybe?
Rate this whole album "god-like"
I graduated high school that year is this album permeated the airwaves. These guys are still as great now as they were 41 years later! Bravo!!{#Bananajam}
My favorite SD song: fantastic, strange and cryptic lyrics.

Great musicianship.

Nice hooks with both melodics and harmonics.

You can sing along, dance to it, drive to it, space out to it. Reminice to it. Look to the future.  
 
was he really spending piasters?{#Ask}
 jbjnr wrote:
Makes my ears bleed - and not in a good way.

 
I was just sitting here listening and thinking about how much I love Steely Dan..  Smooth, heartfelt, jazzy, cool, soothing..  so much awesome music by these guys..  Sorry it doesn't do that for you!
Always sounds like a Vegas lounge singer to me  However, the sax is cool.
 

thanks bill I was jonesing for some dan and just when I was down to the last piaster I could borrow


Makes my ears bleed - and not in a good way.
Sometimes I wonder - Aja, throw out your gold teeth, or this one... Which is the best...ever?
 
In answer to the post below wondering if Steely Dan gets any Love from the younger hipsters of today, I can say that around here, at least, they do! A couple years ago almost to the day when my buddy Kevin and I went to their show at Red Rocks, there were PLENTY
Can't stand this guys...and I had to endure all their 70's crap on FM radio.  Awful.
 BobbyCat wrote:
I love this song, I love Steely Dan, still and always  {#Music}

 
{#Clap}   {#Yes}
I love this song, I love Steely Dan, still and always  {#Music}
 idiot_wind wrote:
where else can you get trippy, strange lyrics, great piano playing, and a wonderful sax?  

 

where else indeed
where else can you get trippy, strange lyrics, great piano playing, and a wonderful sax?  
Slyly mad stuff from perhaps my most formative years... I remember digging intensely how Fagen played with the wildest of language...
 ginniet wrote:
I've never been a Steely Dan fan—too boring.  Sorry SD fans.

 
it's fine. You don't have to like them. The world is full of different tastes.
 hayduke2 wrote:
Pop for us mature folks

 
Yeah, I was thinking about that.  Today's late teens and the 20-30 crowd have for the most-part embraced the classic rock warhorses of yesteryear (Zep, Stones, Beatles, etc.). 

But does Steely Dan get any love today by the retro hipsters?

P.S.-Happy belated #56, hayduke2!  I'll be joing you there in 7 weeks.

Remember when we were young, and 56 seemed like "almost DEAD"!  Where the hell did the time go?
My favorite song from one of my favorite bands.

Very nice melodics.  The harmonics are better.  The musicianship  is the best.

And the strange and cryptic lyrics make you go...what the f@#$? 

Combined, you listen to this song in Feb 2015 and it still sounds new...like it was 1975.

But who in the hell is Katy and the other person?

And I ain't even gonna ask about the good doctor.
   
 Peter_Bradshaw wrote:

{#Wave}.... Bill, what he meant to say was lot's more Steely Dan please. 
 

A wicked lot more SD, is really what this guy meant.
11, mine goes to 11
I agree Bill, this is sublime.  As is most of their stuff.

DM
 msymmes wrote:
This is a TEN imho and yet it averages 6.4 !
 

 
I rated it an 8
This is a TEN imho and yet it averages 6.4 !
 
{#Clap}
Love me some Dan. Grew up on them, listening to my dad's albums and eventually CDs (born in 1980). We saw them together last month — was amazing. Best dad-daughter date we've had, maybe ever!
Pop for us mature folks
kooky, solid and endearingly lovable, cause you know it won't be filling your space for more than a few minutes
One of my favorite SD-songs! {#Bananapiano}
More classic Dan, please! 
I know Bill is fond of covers. Maybe we could get the Minutemen version of this one instead?
This is quintissential Dan, absolutely sublime!  A 10.    
As much as Fagen and Becker reportedly hate this album, it's still one of my all-time favorite albums...a very solid 10
Excellent!
 BMTR wrote:
{#No} No, no more Steely Dan - please!

 
{#Wave}.... Bill, what he meant to say was lot's more Steely Dan please. 
 BMTR wrote:
{#No} No, no more Steely Dan - please!

 

{#Stop}I too have yet to find the appeal of this music.
  long. Grammarcop wrote:
The Phil Woods sax solo is sublime. 

 

I haven't heard this song in way too long! Now I remember why I always loved Steely Dan. That is one of the BEST sax solos ever.
 BMTR wrote:
{#No} No, no more Steely Dan - please!

 
I never caught on to these guys myself. I can appreciate the obvious talent but beyond that....
I've never been a Steely Dan fan--too boring.  Sorry SD fans.
 GarageDragon wrote:
Sounds just like every single other Steely Dan song.  Talent, but not a whole lot of range. 
 
Are you chasing the dragon in that garage?
The Phil Woods sax solo is sublime. 
 GarageDragon wrote:
Sounds just like every single other Steely Dan song.  Talent, but not a whole lot of range. 
 
Thanks for the laugh . . . this is a joke, right?
Great frikkin' song!
{#No} No, no more Steely Dan - please!
Sounds just like every single other Steely Dan song.  Talent, but not a whole lot of range. 
Such a great song, especially the way the sax solo lowers and then curls up under the rest of the instruments.

However good it sounds here, the vinyl version blows the socks off a digital version if you've got decent equipment.

(Not a hi-fi purist, but depth and feeling are a little missing…) 
Great song!! Volume up!! {#Bananapiano} Great piano!
More, Steely Dan - please!
Nice! {#Clap} 
 On_The_Beach wrote:

Me too!
Pop perfection.

 
Agreed. But C'mon folks...6.5 average rating....what's wrong with you people?
Senior Prom, 1981, white Tux and tails,,,,,,,,,,,,,what a vision
 unclemrbig wrote:
I love this album!
 
Me too!
Pop perfection.
"All night long we would sing that stupid song,
and every word we sang I knew was true."


These guys were masters of the art.