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It must have been my lucky Thursday
Your dad went on that spree
Before the crew could put out the fires
You hopped a bus for NYC
Down in Tampa the future looked desperate and dark
Now you're the wonderwaif of Gramercy Park

Who makes the morning fabulous
Who says today's a fun day
Why do I feel like sailing again
Honey it's you Janie Runaway

Let's grab some takeout from Dean and Deluca
A hearty gulping wine
You be the showgirl and I'll be Sinatra
Way back in '59
Sweetness in heels, look at you, in long black gloves
Come to old blue eyes tell me, who do you love

Who makes the traffic interesting
Rescues a dreary Sunday
Who makes me feel like painting again
Honey it's you, Janie Runaway

Let's plan a weekend alone together
Drive out to Binky's place
The sugar shack in Pennsylvania
Or would that be a federal case?
We'll take the Big Red, the Blazer, it's nice inside
And guess who's coming along for the ride

Who has a friend named Melanie
Who's not afraid to try new things
Who gets to spend her birthday in Spain
Possibly you, Janie Runaway

Lyrics submitted by blackiswhite

Janie Runaway Lyrics as written by Walter Carl Becker Donald Jay Fagen

Lyrics © Wixen Music Publishing

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Janie Runaway song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThis is some creepy predatory bored wealthy older man in NYC who picks up runaway girls who are probably cute and VERY young (we'll drive to PA from NY- across the state border, "would that be a federal case" of kidnapping?), takes them in to 'take care' of them in turn for sexual favors (no doubt). He keeps taunting Janie with all the fun things they can do, so long as she keeps being 'interesting' to him. (tee hee - you be the showgirl and I'll be Sinatra. Oh yeah!) It sounds like he is basically threatening her with her friend? Melanie as another runaway who is more willing to perform more lewd acts than Janie is and thus, Janie better get a lot more willng and creative if she wants to go to Spain with this creep. It just amazes me how the Dan's depraved lyrics can sound so innocent with that awsome music fooling you into thinking the song is about something different until you READ the words! They are the BEST!!
    lindaberlindaon August 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSeems more like me as they found eachother after she had arrived in New York and he took her under his wing (or not so much really) and because she was rejected, go have the three way and you can possibly spend your Bday in Spain as a reward for doing stuff with me...
    CommentByAnonymouson September 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love the line--Who gets to spend her birthday is Spain? Possibly you, Janie Runaway. Like--possibly--no promises.
    hawley5150on January 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHuh, I thought it was about marijuana... Janie Runaway? Mary Jane. She runs away from reality. Or towards it. ...Who makes the traffic interesting? Who makes me feel like painting again? ...Honey it's you, Janie Runaway.
    g.10780on November 07, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGee, this one's pretty simple. Guy meets way younger girl, convinces her to leave Tampa after her dad goes crazy, then her friend comes with both of them to Pennsylvania for a three-way.
    Chublinon September 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDon't mean to offend Chublin, but I don't think that the "guy" had anything to do with Tampa. I think that Janie ranaway all by herself and given the rest of the nature of the song, he could be threatening her. She maybe entrusted him with the story of her dad's crime (possibly arsen? "put out the fires"). Again I don't mean to nit pick.
    vindoggon September 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionWell,...I think it's about a drug score wrapped up in a runaway/sex case. In other words, it has double meaning. 'Janie', the pot, survived the 'fires' of the tampa DEA crew, and became the 'wonderwaif' of 'Gram'mercy' Park? Why not Central Park? "Grab some take-out"? Who refers to buying clothes like that? The "sugar shack" in PA? Some Hersheys chocolate cravings? Why not take her to Mass? "..try new things"? 'Melanie' is a new stronger drug.."along for the ride". Everybody knows 'dreary sundays' are 'rescued' by getting high, and being high makes traffic 'interesting'. I love women, but they don't make me feel like 'sailing' and 'painting' again. Drugs are a 'federal case'. SD songs just aren't that str8-forward simple and sleazy. Fagan and Becker are smarter and deeper than that.
    JudeJadedon March 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationLet me add to this that fires have a sexual symbolism. Janie probably had some unconscious exposure to her lecherous dad (who is hot for her), even though probably nothing happened. He probably went out of his mind somehow, and in the middle of the confusion, Janie escaped that situation, only to land herself in this one - we unconsciously seek out what we've grown to become comfortable with, even if it's not good for us. She simply doesn't know any better than this type of situation.

    The speaker in the song reels her in by using her flair for the dramatic and romantic (typical of many teenage girls) against her. "You be the showgirl, I'll be Sinatra..." He also mentions a few other creepy things that I haven't heard anyone with this same take as mine: Sailing - which is taking her to an isolated situation where she cannot get away easily. Painting - suddenly he feels like painting (nude?) portraits...so innocent-sounding. Getting her drunk - "hearty gulping wine."

    And just to kick it up a notch, he lets her know that, if she doesn't "come along for the ride," there's another, more willing girl waiting in the wings. If she does, she MIGHT get some glamorous goodies, like a trip to Spain, picnics, weekend alone together, her portrait painted (flattery), and sailing.
    nbookwormon February 02, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAn old, rich, idle lecher who's managed to find and reel in an under-aged runaway teenaged girl from Florida, and is still putting the moves on her with promises of the High Life he long ago dropped out of boredom, but now has a reason - child sex - to be interested in again....sailing....painting...trips to Spain.
    But he's the real deal child molester, taking Janie on the trip to Pennsylvania ( a federal case = crossing state lines with a minor for the purposes of sex) with her new "friend" Melanie so they can have a threesome (trying "new things") at Binky's place. And, of course, if she does it, Janie just might get a trip to Spain out of it...

    God-damned wonderful Dan.
    chaos99972on January 24, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionWhat I think is marvelous about this song is the opening bass line and drums. Listen to it and tell me if you don't think the drums are symbolic of someone running and since it's a girl, hey the bass is perfect for aurally describing boobs bouncing up and down. The intro stops and they get into this street shuffle beat which is perfectly describing someone hitting the streets of NYC. Becker/Fagen aren't just brilliant lyricists, they can also tell a story with music as well as anyone. Long live Steely Dan!
    Dhfalconon March 12, 2013   Link

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