"Your Gold Teeth II" as written by Walter Carl Becker and Donald Jay Fagen....
Who are these children
Who scheme and run wild
Who speak with their wings
And the way that they smile
What are the secrets
They trace in the sky
And why do you tremble
Each time they ride by

Throw out your gold teeth
And see how they roll
The answer they reveal
Life is unreal

Who are these strangers
Who pass through the door
Who cover your action
And go you one more
If you're feeling lucky
You best not refuse
It's your game the rules
Are your own win or lose

Throw out your gold teeth
And see how they roll
The answer they reveal
Life is unreal


Lyrics submitted by stoolhardy

"Your Gold Teeth II" as written by Walter Carl Becker Donald Jay Fagen

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Your Gold Teeth II song meanings
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  • +3
    My InterpretationOne of Steely Dan's more positive and uplifting songs, uncharacteristically devoid of cynicism and irony. An expression of the joys of musical discovery, both as fans and as creators.

    The first verse seems like a description of discovering a new scene and being excited and a little scared by it. Think of an older dude going to a jazz club and having some young musicians just melt his face off with what they're playing. "Who are these children?"

    That they "speak with their wings" is probably more jazz slang; players who are really hot are said to "fly" as in "if you can't fly you'll have to move in with the rhythm section." Of course they were huge fans of Charlie "Bird" Parker.

    The chorus is just taking what you have, "your gold teeth" and tossing them out to see what happens. "Unreal" was a common hipster superlative in the '60's. Something or other is great, it's freaking unreal. Take your chances, put your stuff out there and you'll find that life is just UNREAL!

    Another possible reference is to Buddhism, and the illusion of existence. Life is unreal.

    The second verse is a straightforward (by Steely Dan standards) reference to their enthusiasm about starting to use the session musician talent pool.

    The "strangers who pass through the door" are the cats who come in to record their parts. The door is the door to the studio, Steely Dan's native habitat.

    That they "cover your action and go you one more" means that they not only play the part as written, but bring something of their own to the song.

    They had jettisoned the original band on the previous album, and discovered the talents of players like Jeff Porcaro and Michael McDonald.

    "If you're feeling lucky you best not refuse" suggests that if you have a good feeling about what a musician might bring to the song, give them a shot at it. Don't ignore how their contribution may improve the song, even if it is not what the composer originally envisioned.

    Supposedly, during the recording of the guitar solo by band founder Denny Dias, (paradoxically the farthest from a "stranger" they could get), he was "flying" so high that they extended it. It's an amazing piece of bebop improvisation on electric guitar.

    The "rules" and the "game" were Fagen and Becker's, to "win or lose." In the final cut, they and Katz would decide what takes to include and how to use them, and if the record sold or failed to sell, it was all on them.
    Euthymiaon April 01, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat the hell do these lyrics mean?
    What time signature is this song?
    Was Jeff Porcaro 20 or 21 when he played on this? Is it Denny Dias that plays that lovely guitar solo? How did Steely Dan become to be so amazing?! So many questions! One of the top 5 bands ever!
    Danfanon February 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFor 1975....way ahead of its time. The complexity is a precursor to Asia.
    There is no doubt in my mind that once Jeff Porcaro joined in these sessions it moved the band in direction of more complicated time signatures which are still difficult to figure out. Essentially 6/8 with cut off 6ths in this chart to drive the beat and keep the listener off focus...looking for the next point. The driving beat is a hallmark of TOTO...without the intricate lyrics. I can listen to this album for hours...as I am doing now enjoying a a nice cigar. I would imagine Fagan was enjoying something else during the composition process.
    coach87on May 12, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSounds to me like a man who was once the epitome of cool, and part of the scene; who now looks around and sees a younger generation taking over, maybe even doing it better. Could be talking about the music scene, the lifestyle scene, or even spirituality.

    There's a bright note though - if you're feeling lucky you best not refuse. Seieze the day - the rules are your own. Almost an homage to the law of thelema.
    rainwalkon March 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song.
    YourGoldTeethon May 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGold teeth I & II are so different, I love the music in this song, But I love Gold Teeth I lyrics
    kamakiriadon February 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI suppose the Charlie-Brown-esque main part of the song is nice, but it's the power chords in the intro that got me hooked.

    Danfan: it could be analyzed as 6/4 or 4/4 alternating with 2/4 during the verses, but it meanders in and out of several time signatures.
    Nightvoiceon September 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaning'throw out your teeth' means go ahead and gamble w/your life, and see what happens. i think about that 'dumb cowboy' joe buck in the movie 'midnight cowboy' everytime i hear this song.
    JudeJadedon April 03, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcorrection: 'throw out your GOLD teeth' means gamble with your life.
    JudeJadedon April 04, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI get a very western ...Cowboy in saloon Gambling feeling when i listen to this. Its almost Subtly Confrontational. As if the Chorus was signifying a Challenge to a duel, or gun fight. I ALSO get A biker gang feeling as well.'' speak with their wings '' , A gangs emblem usually has wings...which pretty much speaks for their reputation....IDK...then again I also get a ''gangs of newyork'' feeling as well. I cant call it....But i damn sure love when my mind drifts whilst zoning to that denny dias solo !
    EN1GMAon July 28, 2010   Link

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