Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Are You Crazy? Are You High?

In the comments following my discussion of album titles derived from non-titular phrases in songs, someone posting, probably pseudonymously, as Steely Dan Patrick pointed out that in Steely Dan's "Doctor Wu," Donald Fagen never sings "Katy lied," although he does sing "Katy lies," and they went ahead and called the album Katy Lied anyway. (I wrote a response to that comment that got lost and never showed up anywhere I could see it, which I apologize for.)

So why the change to past tense? Perhaps it's just that the song had already been cut and the subject was now in the past; there was a real Doctor Wu, you know, an acupuncturist who had helped some untold members of the Dan deal with some untold addictions, at least according to the Steely Dan Dictionary. Perhaps we are dealing with a rare happy ending to a Steely Dan song, moving Katy's lies to far behind us. Also, the insect depicted on the album cover is a katydid, not a katydoes, so perhaps the desired synchronicity with the photo was enough to incur the switch.

I also note that Roger Clemens is from Katy, Texas, so maybe we can infer some kind of backhanded slap at the then-prepubescent pitching prodigy. Someone on a Steely Dan site I was perusing further suggested that a lied is a German art song, although they failed to explain what Katy means in German. While that Roger Clemens supposition was not to be taken seriously, this one appears to be serious. People will say anything on the Internet: You have been warned.


Steve said...

Um...The VERY first two words in the song say "Katy Lied..."

"...I was halfway crucified,
I was on tht other side
of no tomorrow."


Tom Nawrocki said...

I just listened to it again: The first two words of the songs are very clearly "Katy tried."