In the mornin' you go gunnin' for the man who stole your water
And you fire 'til he is done in but they catch you at the border
And the mourners are all singin' as they drag you by your feet
But the hangman isn't hangin' and they put you on the street

You go back, Jack, do it again, wheel turnin' 'round and 'round
You go back, Jack, do it again

When you know she's no high climber then you find your only friend
In a room with your two-timer, and you're sure you're near the end
Then you love a little wild one and she brings you only sorrow
All the time you know she's smilin' you'll be on your knees tomorrow, yeah

You go back, Jack, do it again, wheel turnin' 'round and 'round
You go back, Jack, do it again

Now you swear and kick and beg us that you're not a gamblin' man
Then you find you're back in Vegas with a handle in your hand
Your black cards can make you money so you hide them when you're able
In the land of milk and honey, you must put them on the table, yeah

You go back, Jack, do it again, wheel turnin' 'round and 'round
You go back, Jack, do it again

Lyrics submitted by AbFab, edited by KDBrazell, Mike175, letelier, garrettw, mjmajor, Katt740

Do It Again Lyrics as written by Walter Carl Becker Donald Jay Fagen

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Royalty Network

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Do It Again song meanings
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  • +12
    General Comment
    The first verse's theme is irony. The guy gets his water stolen (critical that it's WATER being stolen, the most abundant resource there is) and shoots the guy who stole it. This is a very harsh and irrational decision... The cops catch him at the border and bring him to justice. He gets his trial and all those who love and miss the dead guy are singing, cause they guy is being brough to justice. However, since he only shot the man due to him being a thief, "the hangman" (a metaphor for the justice system as a whole) isn't hanging, and they put him on the street. A man commits such a petty crime like stealing water, and pays for it with his life; another man shoots a man and goes free. Irony. The second verse is about discord in relationships. The guy finds out his girl "is no high climber" (doesn't have high standards) and finds his best (only!) friend in a room with his girl, having an affair. He lost his only friend and his girl, and he's sure he's near the end (of his rope? patience? sanity?) He rebounds with a girl who is very high maintenance. She goes crazy with him and his belongings, when in the end she's only using him. She doesn't give him what he wants (a relationship here, not sex) yet he keeps getting strung along and playing into her game (all the time you know she's smiling)... in the end, she will betray him just like the first girl did (you'll be on your knees tomorrow) The third verse is about the "bad guys" in the world. Gambling is used as a metaphor here. You swear and kick and beg us that you're not a (lying/manipulative/cheating/etc.) man, then you find you're back in Vegas with a handle in your hand. This basically says that all people have some elements of "darker natures" in them, or some form of a vice, and as much as they deny it, it is still there and they are still a slave to it "Black cards" refer to all the sins and "dark talents" you may have -- abilities you have which can get you an unfair advantage over others... However, in the Land of Milk and Honey (a common term used for Heaven) you will be judged on them. All three verses share a common theme of things repeating themself. Crime perpetuates in the first verse, a man's unlucky streak with love in the second, and cheating/vindication in the third (as a man will cheat, but then be cheated at the Pearly Gates). However, as all three verses hint, there is nothing we can do about it; the first verse, the guy gets off due to a legal loophole; the second verse, the guy is doomed to live a loveless life; and in the third verse, you may swear you have no vices, but in reality, you're "back in Vegas with that handle in your hand." What else would we expect, though, with a song titled "Do It Again?" History repeats itself. Bottom line. =)
    ProfGlitchon May 31, 2004   Link
  • +6
    General Comment
    Until I just read the lyrics moments ago, (funny that after listening to this song hundreds of times over the last 40 years, i had never actually read the lyrics) I had thought the whole song was about a gambler in vegas. But it is really about repeating bad choices in all different areas of. Fagen sings about the cycle (wheel spinning round and round) that one finds themselves in when they go back and repeat them again.
    hankaaronon May 07, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General Comment
    I'm pretty sure this song is about the nature of sin and self destruction. The fact that the song refers specifically to the listener in an inclusive form throughout ("in the morning YOU go gunning.. etc etc.") seems to suggest that the song is intended to widely refer to humanity as a whole, or at least to society in general. each verse describes a sinful or self destructive behavior i.e revenge, betrayal etc however I think the final verse describes the overall message of the song best. the phrases: " you swear and kick and beg that you're not a gambling man.." and "you're black cards make you money so you hide them when you're able" are about the way people hide and deny their sinful and deceptive natures. "in the land of milk and honey you must put them on the table." may, as one use pointed out refer to heaven however I think it may also refer to the pursuit of the promised land and that in that pursuit you must show your cards, meaning that to get ahead you must reveal your sinful nature. I also think Gershwin cleverly used words that could have multiple meanings and interpretations to make the song more cryptic, such as "handle" possibly meaning booze, or slot machine handle. In any case the song is definitely about how humans are incapable of avoiding sin and self destruction, returning to the same behaviors that they know will only cause pain and hardship.
    jduttonon May 02, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    God how I love this song.. I guess I'm the only one who still digs Steely Dan? and I'm only 17!
    Kittypawon April 28, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    And all along, I thought it was simply a song about criminal recidivism and the futility of the justice system.
    Nightvoiceon December 19, 2007   Link
  • +3
    My Interpretation
    Before everybody calls me a daydreaming, bumbling baffoon & downright spazmocrip retard, I know this isn't the true meaning of the song and wouldn't try and put 1 iota of arguement behind it, but i think it would be kinda cool if the song was a expansion/interpretation/parody of the old nursery rhyme 'Jack & Jill.' For example: 'In the mornin you go gunnin' For the man who stole your water' - Gives Jack a reason to go up the hill (to fetch a pail of water) Why he'd then kill the water thief, who knows? 'You go back, Jack do it again Wheel turnin' 'round and 'round You go back, Jack do it again' - Water wheel? The wheel section of a well? He gotta keep getting that water!(seriously? i like the roulette wheel theory best) 'When you know she's no high climber Then you find your only friend' - Jill obviously, pushed Jack down the hill cos she's afraid of heights/no climber, and who in the 3rd verse of the nursery rhyme laughs at Jacks misfortune. 'Now you swear and kick and beg us That you're not a gamblin' man Then you find you're back in Vegas With a handle in your hand' - Throw Jack into the modern world and where do you find him? Vegas, why? He's on 4 of the freakin' cards thats why. How much more of a gamblin man can you be than to appear on the cards??? Imagine Jack in the casino seeing himself everywhere, and what does he have? The well handle still in his hand... poetry. Lol. Still... awesome song!!!!
    Ishdawgon January 22, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    No, you're not the only one... I'm 17 too. On the surface, this song is about getting away with murder (reminds me of Hey Joe - Jimi Hendrix). But after a second look, this song could be about anything. For me, it is about unrequited love (to which I am no stranger). "Jack" cannot seem to grasp the fact the his girl doesn't love him back and continues to vie for her affection, hence "Go back, Jack. Do it again." Basically, Jack is whipped. The last verse is still about Jack's inexorable struggle. Vegas is a symbol for love; both come with huge risks.
    Ostrichon May 02, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    This song is obviously about doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting different results each time. In the first verse, the man (Referred to as Jack from now on) is not punished for his actions, and is now liable to shoot someone again. It has to be a really, freak loophole thing that someone gets off for murder, so the next time it happens, he won't get so lucky. In the second verse, Jack has a girlfriend who he trusts and loves. Then he finds out that she is cheating on him and is burned badly. He comes back with another girl who he also trusts (Or he wouldn't be spending all his money on her), and probably feels like she doesn't really love him (Just like the last girl), but ignores the feeling expecting a different outcome. In the third verse, he promises all his friend that he is a good person, but he goes back to Vegas to gamble, drink, and fornicate his life away. He has (Obviously) been through the whole Vegas thing before, probably lost a lot of money, but keeps coming back expecting to hit it big. He doesn't realize that winning is not in the cards (Hehe...get it? Cards? Sorry) Jack just keeps coming back doing the same stupid things over and over again expecting different results. This is the technical definition of insanity.
    Bazooka27on August 23, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    The song is about addiction. It uses 3 examples: addictions to anger, sex and gambling. They probably avoided a drug or alcohol reference in order to drive the point home that EVERYONE has addictions, not just drug addicts. It is part of being human. The bottom line: Verse 1: When we make poor choices, and we do not appreciate the full force of the consequences, we will put ourselves into the same situations again. Verse 2: Unless we admit that we don't know what we are doing, we will decieve ourselves into believing that next time things will be different. Verse 3: You can lie to others, you can lie to yourself, but you can't lie when that monkey on your back gets hungry. You want to know if the monkey is still on your back? Walk by the produce store. I'll be damned if you don't come home with bananas. You have and will continue to make the same stupid, yet dangerous, choices over and over again.
    thedurable1on August 05, 2011   Link
  • +2
    My Opinion
    I believe all three versus are connected. 1st verse: Someone does you wrong and you come over the top with retaliation. the person you retaliate on doesn't have a chance to forgive you but you are forgiven by others. Wheel turns round and round. 2nd verse: You have finally found a woman you trust and she stabs you in the back with your best friend. You try to get back at her with another but, what you don't know is that you are not over her and never will be. She knows this and karma is a fucking bitch. Now, she has the upper hand even after she has robbed you of your manhood and best friend. She has the power and you both know. Because she knows you will come back no matter what. : Wheel keeps spinning round and round. (at least you beat the law but, can't beat your karma) 3rd verse: Finally my favorite verse, the reason you are at the first verse is because history repeats itself. The reason you are in the first verse is because you are a gambler in life, money, love, etc. and you can't resist the gamble. even though you are trying. But, in order for you to live you have to gamble (I KNOW). But, the nature of gambling is that you have to do it. And at some point you lose and hit rock bottom. Back to the first verse as you are desperate and what ever you have left is dear to you. That is when the bad things happen and you over react and you are back to square one. Wheel keeps spinning round and round. Luckily, everyone has someone that loves them. Unfortunately, not everyone uses this card and that is when despair occurs. You have a choice in life. Change the cycle and use your assets. Learn from your mistakes and remember! (Preaching to myself of course!)
    saintsfansamon February 03, 2014   Link

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