When Black Friday comes
I stand down by the door
And catch the grey men when they
Dive from the fourteenth floor

When Black Friday comes
I collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out
I'll be on the road

When Black Friday falls you know it's got to be
Don't let it fall on me

When Black Friday comes
I fly down to Muswellbrook
Gonna strike all the big red words
From my little black book

Gonna do just what I please
Gonna wear no socks and shoes
With nothing to do but feed
All the kangaroos

When Black Friday comes I'll be on that hill
You know I will

When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna dig myself a hole
Gonna lay down in it 'til
I satisfy my soul

Gonna let the world pass by me
The Archbishop's gonna sanctify me
And if he don't come across
I'm gonna let it roll

When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna stake my claim
I guess I'll change my name

Lyrics submitted by AbFab

"Black Friday" as written by Walter Carl Becker Donald Jay Fagen

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Black Friday song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentI think this is more about the next "Black Friday" that starts the next depression. He's jumping out as soon as possible. The men diving from the fourteenth floor are the next wave of men to commit suicide in the Great Depression fashion.

    He's going to collect up all the money he can and get out, before his friends - and the police - learn about it. He isn't going to suffer like everyone else.

    Muswellbrook is a small town in Australia. He is going to escape to there and, having destroyed the records (the red numbers being financial losses), live a life of leisure. He will have jumped ship and live outside the world of worry.

    He closes by saying that he may have to be creative to evade the authorities, but he'll do it.
    alasdairforreston February 24, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIs it just about a stock market crash from all perspectives i.e. Joe Ordinary clearing up the businessmen jumping from buildings and the fat cats escaping to Australia with virtually nothing. I think the hole digging and soul satisfying is where hes basically going to top himself. Only Steely Dan can write a great song about financial ruin
    Danfanon February 19, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWhat I find funny is the trajectory if you look at the early Dan songs, like this one, and then trace from there to "Everything Must Go" and then to "The Night Belongs to Mona". So we start out with "Black Friday" which is obviously about this knowledge they most people, including the narrator, are living beyond their means or too decadently.. and that come one day, everyone is gonna have to pay. It's gallows humor. This type of thing was a recurrent theme in the Dan albums. I have a feeling they found this a compelling part of society and one which they thought they could add some ironic insight into. After all, there is a parrallel of some sorts between rock stars and high flying gamblers or business tycons for that matter. The Dan never really condemned businessmen because one of their own interests seems to be gambling. So anyway, that brings us to "Everything Must Go".. given the events around the time, 2003, this was a fitting way for them to revisit the theme. The difference is that this time their is a heightened dosage of humor and fatalistic view of life. And I think we get the Dan commenting more on the guys a little bit younger this time, as opposed to maybe a little bit older. Now, "The Night Belongs to Mona" comes along, and, for me at least, it's aimed at someone from Gen X.... their life started back during "Black Friday" and they were just small. By the time of 2003, they were well into the "work force". Seeing the destruction of Enron and 9/11, but too engulfed to really see it or fully feel it. Maybe a little drunk or drugged the whole time...but now it is sinking in, along with new and bigger problems... so we are just basically a smoking heap leftover trying in vain to move forward. This song tells you the hard truth.. that the only solution seemed to be, to jump off a building. Now, I realize that this is truly not funny... but Fagen made the whole album about coming to terms with death. And he realized that there was nothing to be afraid of, in getting old. After all, look at what the younger generation was left with.. not much. And there's not much he could do to help, other to use his music to reach out and touch someone. His type of music might just have mutated over the years, into just the thing needed to soothe a generation from the horrors that lie ahead. I find that funny.
    caucasianon October 09, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation'Katy Lied' was the first Steely Dan album on which Becker and Fagen fully broke from their old band, and some its songs address this. "Your Gold Teeth II" is a reference to this break (the first person ousted from the band was "Dirty Work" singer David Palmer Jones, who, just before being fired, had spent part of his new money on fixing his teeth--his firing was commemorated in the *first* "Gold Teeth"). "Bad Sneakers" is another obvious example: "Five names I can hardly stand to hear..."

    "Black Friday," in which only the singer makes his escape from the panic of the Great Crash, also seems partly inspired the band's split. The seclusion Fagen describes ("Gonna dig myself a hole....Gonna let the world pass by me") is the no-touring, no-bandmates, studio existence that was the Dan's new life. (The choice of Muswellbrook as a destination probably has mostly to do with its hugging the tune so nicely--just as Guadalajara did in "My Old School.")

    Of course, the song is also about an actual financia/societal crash, and I agree with those who have said the song's end-of-the-party mood prefigures the title track of 'Everything Must Go.'
    Kartoumon January 30, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt’s Satan having some fun in bad times; collecting souls that are owed him, and checking out of town before he can be blamed. Then taunting; he will be back; re-anointed as the Anti-Christ (“the Archbishop gonna sanctify me”) for another even worse round of playtime.
    panzer4963on April 05, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this song is about preparing for a break-up. The subject is emotionally "check out" of the relationship before it ends. To compare these actions to the stock market crash of 29' is epic.
    ThreeCamelson September 11, 2008   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning"And catch all the grey men as they dive from the fourteenth floor."

    The 14th floor is actually the 13th; the owners usually skip 13 for the obvious reason. This is just another example of the subtle cleverness found in most every Steely Dan song.

    As for who the protagonist is, a stock broker or Satan, both interpretations are appropriate, although the Stock Market Crash is the more obvious and implied meaning. However, the devilish one also fits, lending the song a more frightening effect.......
    Goatllamaon August 06, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThough more than a few Steely Dan songs have devilish or drug undertones :) this is about the stock market crash of '29.The reason they wore no shoes is,these were one of their prized possessions.They kept them for most of their lives.Shoes would run 2 or 3 months salary.When they jumped, left them for hope a colleague would pass them to family.(impact blows them apart).Steely Dan is another meaning for vibrator.
    ManoStuarton November 28, 2015   Link
  • +1
    QuestionI was always lead to believe this was about Black Friday the day after thanksgiving? Hmm.
    MrJaggerson May 10, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe basic idea behind this song is a businessman who's responsible for either black friday or something bad within his company and won't take responsibility even though he is ethically responsible for everything that went wrong.

    I'm not really sure if there's someone in particular this song is about or just businessman in general.
    StreetWormon February 23, 2006   Link

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