"Peg" as written by Walter Carl Becker and Donald Jay Fagen....
I've seen your picture
Your name in lights above it
This is your big debut
It's like a dream come true
And when you smile for the camera
I know they're love it

I got your pin shot
I keep it with your letter
Done up in blueprint blue
It sure looks good on you
So won't you smile for the camera
I know I'll love you better

Peg
It will come back to you
Peg
It will come back to you
Then the shutter falls
You see it all in 3-D
It's your favorite foreign movie


Lyrics submitted by AbFab, edited by MrScratch

"Peg" as written by Walter Carl Becker, Donald Jay Fagen

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Peg song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentPerhaps a reference to "Peg" Entwistle -- the 25-year-old starlet who gained fame by jumping to her death from atop the Hollywood sign. After success on Broadway, Peg got her big debut in a 1932 movie that the studio ended up hating, and cutting out most of her part. The letter is her suicide note, published in the LA newspapers, of the pain she'd experienced. When she herself falls, it comes back to her -- seeing as one does all three-dimensions of a tragic ending (as foreign films are more known for ending in tragedy, rather than the happy "Hollywood" endings).
    thomcaton August 28, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentOkay, this one's not really that hard, but it seems like some of the previous posters are over analyzing, reading into, and also quoting incorrect lyrics. Therefore, I will over-analyze it as well, but I'll be spelling out why I believe my interpretation to be pretty close based on the actual lyrics, song history, etc.

    1. First, we know that the speaker / singer in the song knows Peg or knows of Peg. I believe the folks who said that they may have had a previous relationship are spot on. He very well could be a stalker type fan, but if it's her "big debut", then how could she be famous enough to have a stalker? Nah, she left him to pursue her dream and he's a bit pissy about it.

    2. She wrote him a letter, he got her "pin shot" of her in a "blueprint blue" dress and he know's he'll love her better than the public. This adds to the stalker element, but I don't think that's right for the reason I've already stated.

    3. I think that the film, very well may be, a porno, but there's really no way of knowing for sure as the nature of the film is a bit obscured. Judging by the time period in which this song was written, (1976/1977 timeframe), it very well could be a porno because at that time it was common to have pornos in more mainstream theaters because of crossover movies like "Debbie Does Dallas" which were mainstream successes and were shown in all sorts of theaters. So, it could be a porn and probably is considering the chorus of the song and the very funky bass groove which was commented on quite a bit and is one element common to most pornos of the time. Porno bass funk to accompany the sex scenes.

    4. "Peg, it will come back to you." This could mean a couple of things. It could mean that her actions on screen, if it is a porno, will come back to haunt her, but it could also mean that she is remembering something. Something she has forgotten will come back to her mind. I think that this line is intentionally ambiguous and I think that either of these interpretations are likely depending on what the listener has assumed about the movie.

    But, if we look at "It" as being a memory that will come back, why has it gone and what is the memory that will come back? I'm thinking it's the memory of the love she shared with him, the singer or a memory of what the real world is like. At least, that's the only potential thing in the past that is referenced in the song that may "come back" to her. The memory of the man she left. Either interpretation works and they could be working simultaneously as a double entendre of sorts.

    5. Okay, the most puzzling part of the song has to be:

    "Then the shutter falls, you see it all in 3-D. It's your favorite foreign movie."

    This line really hasn't been analyzed as such on this page and it's a very important part of the song. It is, in fact, the summation of the song, the ending of such. "Then the shutter falls" is obviously referring to a camera shutter, most likely a movie camera (although the pin shot camera was also referenced and could also "fall").

    Here's where everything comes together. "IT" will come back to Peg, then the shutter falls (meaning the film ends, maybe the movie career ends, the picture is taken, the movie industry (whether porn or legitimate) is done with her or at least done with the movie.

    The camera is off "IT" came back to her. The "IT" is kind of the thing here. I think that it is the price of her fame, is to lose touch with the real wold. When this memory comes back to her, the shutter falls, and she sees the "dream come true" for what it is, a 3-D foreign movie. She has been lost in a 3-D dream world that isn't real. The reality is what comes back (or so hopes the singer of the song, I suppose).

    That's my take on it at least. I've not seen a better analysis of the "favorite foreign movie" line. I had a dream about this song actually, probably b/c I listen to Steely Dan too much, and the dream seemed to follow along with the above analysis. Peg had forgotten the real world, she was living a dream, but when she finally remembered, it came back to her, and when the movie shoot was done she saw it all for what it really was. A 3-D foreign movie, but one that was (no doubt) her favorite.

    What do you think?
    jankouton April 16, 2012   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThis song is a re-assuring ballad written to a blind woman about her first professional bowling tournament where she's also healed from her blindness. The woman's name is of course Peg. Peg arrives at the lanes. Her picture and name in lights are on the TV, but she can't see them so she doesn't smile for the camera. They love it, because she's blind.

    Then she starts to bowl. She has a good pin shot. She knocks down all the pins, and she smiles, because she can HEAR the pins fall. Then, shock. She's dismayed. She can't find the bowling ball. Peg. It will come back to you! Then, the shutter at the end of the lane falls, and she heals from her blindness, and sees the foreign world in 3-d for the first time, and it's like a movie.
    sammytag1on July 20, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo expand on that a little. He actually turned facing away from them so that when it came to the chorus he could play it slap, as he knew it would sound better. Becker & Fagen didn't even notice at first. Wonderful
    LuckyJimon September 19, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA lot of comments on the bass in this song. Actually this song has some of the most interesting bass playing I've heard in any song, period. Makes it a very lively song.

    The song seems to be about an old lover whom he spotted in a porn video. She's in his past, but now he "loves her better" for her porn pictures to remember her by.
    stoolhardyon April 26, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it is much simplier than that, I know it is easy for one to think that there must be an obscure reference somewhere, after all, this is Steely Dan, but i think when they talk about a "blueprint blue" they are talking about the photograph, the pin-up shot, as it is common for a pin shot to be printed in cyan(blue) or sepia(brown) for a low budget movie. The song plot is about a guy who probably lost a girl in the past when she decided to go and pursuit an actress career, she probably left him a letter explaining she had to go, but she will always love him. After some years she made it and he recognizes her and thinks all of this to himself. The movie is probably a cheesy horror or murder mistery filmed in 3D in which at the end Peg gets to kill the murderer and we get to see him fall towards the camera "the shooter falls".

    Well that's what I think anyway.

    Sorry about my english I'm from Mexico!
    signxon February 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLyrically, this is very similar in theme and story arc to Kraftwerk's "The Model." Guy knew a girl, she gets famous as a model and/or actress, he wants to see her again. Once again, the Dan can be very oblique at times, but this is not one you have to read a whole lot into.
    leamancon December 13, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about a porn star in those old Stag Films, They used to tint the B&W film blue
    taosjedion January 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is absoltuely incredible, most feel good song ever, this should go down as one of the best songs ever written seriously
    westheadon April 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI heard that the bass player they used for this tune was into the "slap" style of bass playing at the time. becker & fagan were having none of it though. If you listen to the bass in the chorus section thouhg, the bass player has managed to sneak a slight "slap" in a couple of times though..!
    NJJon July 30, 2005   Link

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