"Change Of The Guard" as written by Walter Carl Becker and Donald Jay Fagen....
If you listen you can hear it
It's the laughter in the street
It's the motion in the music
And the fire beneath your feet
All the signs are right this time
You don't have to try so very hard
If you live in this world
You're feelin' the change of the guard

All the cowboys and your neighbors
Can you swallow up your pride
Take your guns off it you're willin'
And you know we're on your side
If you want to get through the years
It's high time you played your card
If you live in this world
You're feelin' the change of the guard


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"Change of the Guard" as written by Walter Carl Becker Donald Jay Fagen

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Change Of The Guard song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentMy take on the "Change Of The Guard" is that Fagen and Becker are commenting on the "Counter-culture" of the 1960's. What's more, it sounds like they are painting it in a positive light! This is not exactly the sort of treatment most fans have come to expect from Steely Dan on ANY subject, much less one that is now discounted as essentially a bunch of self-deluded hippies.

    Forty-plus years of time has given us a certain perspective on past events, but it has also obscured the passion and feeling of the era. We forget how strongly a great many then-young people felt about changing the world that they were born into but had no power over. It seems that Donald and Walter got caught up in those times; indeed, those times wouldn't have been the same without them.

    It is important to note that "Change of the Guard" is not without precedent: the title track to "Old Regime" talks very much about the same thing: i.e. that the time for changing the dominant paradigm has come. Another relevent point is that "Can't Buy A Thrill", while hitting the shelves in 1972, was Steely Dan's first album and, as such, may have contained some worthy material that was concieved and arranged while Fagen and Becker were collaborating in the late 60's when the feelings as are expressed in the song were not yet passe.
    ThreeSongRuleon June 23, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYourGOldTeeth, you have absolutely no idea about music this is one of the best songs on thealbum. So catchy and fast its such a great song.
    A_Mickon May 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song (yet to find an unappealing Dan song).

    i think the narrator is telling the listener to join the party and have fun (kinda). the way i see it it like "hey old groutchy guy! let loose cause everythings ok. and then there's you tough guys with your guns, what are you thinking? everyones a friend here, and if you wanna get along you gotta do your part."

    haha if not whatever, but to me it seems odd that Steely Dan would sing about such a happy topic...
    ClassikRokManGar101on June 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationthis song is about people who are not willing to accept changing styles of music.

    The first verse is basically telling these people how everyone is enjoying the new direction that music (as a whole) is going. That they don't have to resist it and that they can feel the music world is changing

    The second verse makes me think that they are telling the people to let their guard down; but are claiming that their band (steely dan) is one of these new types of music emerging, but they hole the same values of making good music and the people should just welcome the change
    lpmusicman2808on November 28, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just think it's about a guy, maybe 35 ish or something, that senses he's not on the edge or as hip as he was in his teens and 20's because of changing styles or slang he hears the younger people talking about and doesn't understand.

    Just the general feeling that he is getting older and feels the pulse of life and possibly work being taken over by the younger, newer, more hip kids.

    mepperganfortason December 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis is just what I think, and I've never actually heard the song, but I think the title says it all-"change of the guard". it speaks of retiring heroes who settled new frontiers and that they're on the same side because because they benefit from the settling. the other half of the meaning is that a new generation will settle new frontiers, drawing inspiration from the older generation.
    Nealouson August 05, 2011   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThis is their worst song. Even Fagen sounds bored while singing it. I hate their first album.
    YourGoldTeethon May 09, 2007   Link

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