"Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me)" as written by Walter Carl Becker and Donald Jay Fagen....
A race of angels bound with one another
A dish of dollars laid out for all to see
A tower room at Eden Rock
His golf at noon for free

Brooklyn owes the charmer under me
Brooklyn owes the charmer under me

His lady's aching to bring a body down
She daily preaches on where she wants to be
An evening with a movie queen
A face we all have seen

Brooklyn owes the charmer under me
Brooklyn owes the charmer under me

A case of aces done up loose for dealing
A piece of island cooling in the sea
The whole of time we gain or lose
And power enough to choose

Brooklyn owes the charmer under me
Brooklyn owes the charmer under me

Yeah, Brooklyn owes the charmer under me
Brooklyn owes the charmer under me


Lyrics submitted by AbFab, edited by CliffLandin, mgajosh

"Brooklyn" as written by Walter Carl Becker Donald Jay Fagen

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me) song meanings
Add your thoughts

27 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +3
    General CommentMakes sense it's about their downstairs neightbors (of course, because it's what they said it's about lol.) But I get a more unfriendly meaning - calling the neighbor a "Charmer" I take as being sarcastic label for a jerk who thinks the world owes him something. The song is about a guy who thinks Brooklyn and the world owes him something. Fagen and Becker aren't wishing this guy good things - they're making fun of him.

    After all, does any amount of suffering really mean you deserve your golf for free?

    Classic Steely Dan humor. Love this song.
    WheelyDanon July 03, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSome people think that the "Charmer" is the devil and somebody knows it's payback time.

    Again, "you pay today or pay tomorrow..."

    Reminds me of Billy Joel's "Somewhere Along the Line":

    "Somewhere along the line,
    Well I know it's just a matter of time,
    When the fun falls through and the rent comes due,
    Somewhere along the line."
    GreyBlueEyeson August 24, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI read a note about this song somewhere that said it was written by Becker and Fagen while they were living in New York. It was a simple wish of good luck and hope for the guy who lived in the apartment below them...the "charmer under me". Get it?

    Eden Roc is a ritzy hotel in Miami, incidentally.
    thermo4on October 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThermo4 is right; Becker wrote the lyric about a downstairs neighbour - the dedication on the LP sleeve is to 'President Street Pete'.

    Anyone in Brooklyn know President St?
    pconlon March 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningAccording to granatino.com/sdresource/…

    WB: Well, the charmer was a guy who lived under Donald's apartment when we were in Brooklyn. And the song is just a bunch of things that the guy and his wife had coming to them, you know, for the indignities that they suffered living in Brooklyn, sitting on the stoop and just shooting the shit about the Mets and that kind of thing for 20 years. So, you see, the song does yield to a valid interpretation.

    Lots of other cool Steely Dan lyric explations from WB and DF there.
    MarkSASmithon April 23, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA song about a socialite in the big city [a race of angels] got jilted, took a fall from grace?

    Now I will go read that amazing link to the interview.
    Karlinon August 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionHauntingly great pedal steel, have loved this tune for decades. As far as I'm concerned this tune has the world of the strip club written all over it. Race of angels -- stripper sorority, Bound with one another -- Their shared profession, dish of dollars laid out for all to see -- ever seen their leg band and/or the stage floor? As far as the male figure in this lyric (tower room at Eden Rock, golf at noon) I'd be willing to bet that Fagan and friends were watching some one fairly prominent's (Steely D was at the top of their game at this time and living large) wife/girl friend riding the pole while he was on the back nine. I'd also go as far as to say that she's possibly someone that's been on the screen (TV/movies) "a face we all have seen". The refrain "Brooklyn owes the charmer under me" is brilliant play on phrase --- Brooklyn (knows) (owes) -- in other words this woman was possibly known from that area and was also corrupted by the street there (hence the borough "owes" her) and "charmer under me" (I would say he was doing her after she seduced him). Daily preaching where she wants to be -- Don't most strippers long for something better? Case of aces -- her pocketbook full of singles. Whole time we gain or lose and power to choose -- I believe was his philosophical conundrum with his/her plight (theme of the album-- Can't buy a thrill) Or maybe I'm just too drunk and full of shit. Thanks for reading.
    UncleNealon April 28, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe fact that this song's lyrics are so open ended and that so many themes can be read into it by the listener is proof of it's creative genius and the reason why I love it so much.

    Fagen & Becker may have had a specific scenario in mind [like arrogant neighbors in Brooklyn as stated in other posts]- but the words can be spun in many directions in the listener's mind.

    To me, there are very elemental and Biblical associations in it:
    - the angels who fell with Lucifer in the rebellion ("race of angels / Eden / preaches / charmer")along with allusions to the Serpent charming Eve in the garden.
    The "piece of island cooling in the sea" is an image of newly formed volcanic landmass which simultaneously reminds me of the Genesis creation account as well as Atlantis' sinking as a metaphor for fallen human society.

    Yeah - I know; my interpretation is out there. It's probably just about Rock star decadence, right?

    I agree with Apple Harvey - the steel guitar is absolute perfection. Makes me proud to be American !
    NomadMonadon May 12, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have no idea what this song is about. It is such a pretty song, but the meaning drives me crazy every time - I cant figure it out!
    kennarae3on April 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch a beautiful song woth the slide guitar and all
    A_Mickon May 15, 2007   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain