We hear you're leaving, that's OK
I thought our little wild time had just begun
I guess you kind of scared yourself, you turn and run
But if you have a change of heart

Rikki don't lose that number
You don't want to call nobody else
Send it off in a letter to yourself
Rikki don't lose that number
It's the only one you own
You might use it if you feel better
When you get home

I have a friend in town, he's heard your name
We can go out driving on Slow Hand Row
We could stay inside and play games, I don't know
And you could have a change of heart


You tell yourself you're not my kind
But you don't even know your mind
And you could have a change of heart


Lyrics submitted by AbFab

"Rikki Don't Lose That Number" as written by Walter Carl Becker, Donald Jay Fagen

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Rikki Don't Lose That Number song meanings
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  • +1
    General Comment:Okay, I don't know anything about the history of this song or anything, but taking into consideration what Buddy said and the words, it sounds like the song is the drug talking to the person. You know what I mean? Yeah that's how I feel.

    alucinoxon February 17, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:and they even spelled her name properly, as in RIKKI, not Ricky or whatever.
    criticalmasson July 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Apparently Horace Silver wasn't pleased at them using his bass line in this song which sort of surprises me. Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter expressed their admiration to these guys quite a lot. I must say this song has a very unusual chord sequence (as did most of them). Musicians I meet often comment on how strange it is to play bizarre jazz chords and change key unexpectedly. I pity the cover bands! Right on!
    Danfanon February 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:hm...I always liked to think of this as a song about a woman leaving porn or prostitution, but the gay theme seems a lot more convincing. "you tell yourself you're not my kind" - that's HUGE. "driving on slow hand road" - sure sounds like furtive reststopping to me.
    mightymuridon August 09, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation:Here's something to muddle all conclusions:

    The person of the title is Rikki Ducornet, see page 3 of:


    The short story is that Rikki was the young, pregnant wife of a professor at Bard that DF had a flirtation with.
    mumajoron July 24, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:The Wikipedia article didn't really quote the article in Entertainment Weekly, but paraphrased it.

    For those of you interested in the actual quote from the actual article:


    "Tucked in the woods behind Stone Row, down a narrow path many students never notice, sits a one-room, octagonal stone structure known as the Observatory. It is there that Fagen most wants to visit. ''I used to practice here,'' he explains, gazing around the room, which, it turns out, was converted into an office in the early '70s. This isolated space was one of Fagen's most cherished escapes. ''There was nothing in there but a grand piano,'' he says. ''I had wonderful hours in here practicing scales, things that no one else should hear, you know? I'd write tunes in here, too. And if you were rejected by someone you were in love with, you could scream. I was always in love with someone [who] ignored me completely. That was my Bard experience. There was a Sorrows of Young Werther vibe about it.''

    One such unrequited crush might have been a professor's young wife named Rikki Ducornet, whose first name will be familiar to Steely Dan fans. Fagen won't admit it — he's always been extremely reluctant to explain his songs — but it's easy to imagine that Ducornet was the inspiration for one of his band's most famous tunes, ''Rikki Don't Lose That Number.'' ''I remember we had a great conversation and he did suggest I call him, which never happened,'' says Ducornet, now a well-regarded novelist and artist. ''But I know he thought I was cute. And I was cute,'' she laughs. ''I was very tempted to call him, but I thought it might be a bit risky. I was very enchanted with him and with the music. It was so evident from the get-go that he was wildly talented. Being a young faculty wife and, I believe, pregnant at the time, I behaved myself, let's say. Years later, I walked into a record store and heard his voice and thought, 'That's Fagen. And that's my name!'''

    Fagen would have better luck with a former Bard student named Libby Titus, whom he encountered on campus in 1966 and married 27 years later. And that's hardly his only happy memory of the school. ''I was coming straight from a housing development in New Jersey, so it was great,'' he says. ''I loved the teachers and the girls, you know. I had friends here. Probably the only time in my life,'' he says with a laugh, ''that I actually had friends.'' "
    loupgarouson September 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning:I dated a woman named Rikki during the summer of 1997 that claimed the song was about her and that she had been engaged to Donald Fagen at one time. She also made lots of other wild claims so I'm skeptical, but you never know...
    Mike54on April 12, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:The Ducornet story may well be true, but the entire lyrics fit trying to seduce a closet case so well. "A friend of mine, he's heard your name" "You tell me that you're my kind but you don't even know your mind." It's hard to match those to even an elicit hetero fling.
    Wittgensteinon May 16, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Wow, I always thought the lyric was " . . . scared yourself, you turnin wrong"

    Not coincidentally, I always thought this was a love song from Rikki's first gay lover, from whom Rikki is fleeing, but who is not the only thing Rikki is fleeing. How do you reason with someone not just rejecting you, but rejecting your very sexuality.
    tpksummerson February 29, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I don't have an interpretation, just I can't help but compliment Donald Fagan and Walter Becker. I mean, how many meanings has everyone come up with? Ricki Nelson, Rikki Ducornet, gay seduction, pot, LSD, or just some random girl named Rikki. These two may have not known that it would cause such uproars among Internet forums, but they know how to write with a deviant sense of vagueness. Anyone can make a case for any meaning but the only way we'll know for sure is if Fagan and Becker confirm; and that won't happen anytime soon.
    3gamon August 01, 2013   Link

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