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

[Chorus]
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

[Chorus]

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

[Chorus]


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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  • +4
    General CommentThe 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:

    ew.com/ew/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
  • +3
    General CommentApparently 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
  • +2
    My InterpretationHere's something to muddle all conclusions:

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

    ew.com/ew/article/…

    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 CommentOkay, 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 CommentThe drug addiction seems right. If you look at the lyrics 'We can go out driving on Slow Hand Row.' Slow Hand was a popular Clapton album in the 70's with songs like Lay Down Sally and Cocaine on it I do believe. hmmmm.
    Last_niteon February 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentgranatino.com/sdresource/…
    according to one of the songwriters, the lyrics are to be taken literally, it's a a song about a guy asking a girl not to lose his number.
    rsrs1491on April 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentand they even spelled her name properly, as in RIKKI, not Ricky or whatever.
    criticalmasson July 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentits not about a guy or a gay guy or whatever. its about a girl. my name is rikki and i'm a girl. that is the girl spelling. ricky is guy, "rikki" even though its a rarer spelling, is purely girl!
    rikkitdon May 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionThis is a gr8 SD song and I absolutely LOVE the guitar solo. When I heard it on the radio in the 70s, I thought was about unrequited love; the kind I was going through at that time, so I felt the song was 'mine'. I've since read some music critics comment about the 'homosexual allusions' in it; still loved the song, but it bummed me out a little just because I thought it wasn't mine anymore. Glad to read Fagans' response on the meaning.
    JudeJadedon March 21, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI feel this song is written to Rick Nelson in the wake of the "Garden Party" fiasco. "we hear you're leaving, that's ok" Rick had come to New York, where Fagen and Becker were still just starting out and Fagen was part of the drug culture that was the scene at the time. The garden party saw Rick N debut a new style, a departure from his previous pop confections, and he was booed off the stage (or so he thought- look it up).

    He walked off the stage in the middle of his set, and withdrew from public life for two years, until he came out with his song- Garden Party- where he relates his feelings about the incident succinctly: "you can't please everyone, so ya got please yourself"

    Fagen thinks Nelson (who he's got a mancrush on), will leave the music scene forever. He will never be able to finish making his play for Rick. The number is Fagen's phone number. I have a friend into town refers to Eric Clapton. We can go driving on slowhand road means we can get together and Jam with Eric and maybe work on developing a newer sound in the studio at CBS. If you have a change of heart means, if you decide to come back to music and the scene, etc.
    dblentendron December 13, 2012   Link

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