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Lyrics submitted by stoolhardy, edited by CaptBackslap, savino76

Glamour Profession song meanings
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  • +3
    My Interpretation
    I have read "homages to the 70s and 80s", but never seen a real analysis of this song. Like most Steely Dan songs, it isn't as simple as it seems and a lot of the references are obscure even in the age of the internet.

    Glamour Profession is about the misadventures of SPECIFIC LA folks with illegal drugs.


    The "6:05 - Outside the stadium" verse refers to Pittsburgh Pirate Dock Ellis' no-hitter against the San Diego Padres on June 1, 1970. Supposedly he had flown to LA to try LSD and came back STILL under the influence at 6:05, when the game started at San Diego Stadium. The basketball references are there to obscure just WHOM Steely Dan are talking about. And Dock Ellis was a high school basketball star in Gardena, California.

    Maybe they got Ellis some cocaine from a local dealer to get him amped up to play. And this dealer had a type of mobile car phone (which would have used the Dial system) on the Con-Tel Bell affiliate.

    So the first stanza is clearly about the ball player Dock Ellis.


    The "Jack with his radar, stalking the dread moray eel" is a reference to Jack Carlton Reed, a pilot and distributor for Carlos Lehder cocaine transports during his heyday. On some flights, it was said Jack would check the radar constantly to see if they were being followed or intercepted. The flights at the time in question would have been when Lehder was operating at Norman's Cay, and small Bahamian island he bought for it's proximity to the United States (and lack of drug enforcement presence) and then chased off the residents.

    But the song isn't about Jack. If you want more on him, read the book Buccaneer by MayCay Beeler. It is about LA DJ Russ O'Hara.

    Russ O'Hara was a popular DJ for LA radio station KROQ and well known for introducing stars as they went onstage at local LA concerts. In 1978, he met Jack Carlton Reed and started flying for Jack in a Piper Navajo for "adventure". At one point in 1980, he even quit being a DJ to work full time for Jack and Carlos, flying drugs into Norman's Cay. Russ got the full 'Norman's Cay experience', even videoing Carlos and company having fun on the island. The only thing that soured Russ on the experience was a sexual tryst he observed between his girlfriend, Reed and Reed's girlfriend Michelle. Which (according to Steely Dan) he watched from the darkness.

    After testifying against Carlos Lehder and Jack Reed, O'Hara went back to spinning records - in 1981 at KRLA.

    Second stanza is about disc jockey Russ O'Hara.


    The third stanza starts differently than the rest. After the refrain, there is the "Hollywood, I know your middle name" part that is sung by background singers. Fagan jumps in on the "..That's my claim to fame" line.

    From that part, we know this stanza is about someone big in Hollywood. Someone who eats (or can afford to eat) at Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills and hobnob with the stars. An agent? A producer? A movie executive?

    In 1980, former Paramount movie executive Robert Evans, his brother Charles Evans and his brother-in-law Michael ("Jive Miguel") were set up in an FBI sting to buy and traffic cocaine. Robert ended up making an anti-drug commericial funded by Charles as part of his sentencing.

    Third and last stanza is about the movie producer Robert Evans.

    So these three successful guys all get involved in the drug business when it was 'the next big thing' and glamourous...get burned and get out.

    Most of the information is obscured to NOT mention these folks by name because they were BIG names when Gaucho came out. (And who wants law suits and the like.) What is pure genius is HOW obscured they were; I've seen posts where folks are talking about Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson and the like - when that definitely isn't the case. Or some where they say the song just talks about the drug culture in L.A.

    The thing about this song is that it is both incredible and credible at the same time!
    (Totally awesome, right?)

    Hoops McCannon January 03, 2015   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Hollywood, I know your middle name" refers to Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson who was playing for the Dallas Cowboys in the late 70s, and whose "claim to fame" (more so than football) was that he got busted for selling/using blow and eventually banned from the NFL.
    madcap76on April 05, 2008   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningIt's about a big time LA coke dealer. the last verse is the tipoff:

    Jive Miguel
    He's in from Bogota
    Meet me at midnight
    At Mr. Chow's
    Szechuan dumplings
    After the deal has been done
    I'm the one

    Miguel- Colombian connect
    Mr. Chow (not Chow's)- a Beverly Hills chinese restaurant(opened 1973) hence "szechuan dumplings, now that the DEAL has been done."
    I agree with the Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson reference since he used coke on the sideline during games, even SuperBowl XIII.
    Note: The Cowboys played the L.A. Rams twice that year('79), in week 3 and in the Conference Championship both times in L.A.
    Gaucho was released in 1980 so the timeline fits.
    bobbeedigion September 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI was waiting for someone to comment as I didn't want to be the first..! The song is definitely about living the "hollywood" lifestyle. It is also one of the best written/produced tracks I think I have ever heard..!
    NJJon May 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyoutu.be/…
    youluckyfoxon April 07, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General Commentoh, i LOVE this song. It's wonderfully written, and it's got a perfect "high roller" vibe to it. It's about being a dealer in Hollywood, and the narrator feels as though he's one of the stars. Perfect character names, and I love the narcissistic view through his eyes: "Who inspires your fabled fools? Thats MY claim to fame"

    Illegal fun under the sun, boys.
    LucklessPedestrianon April 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song, like Gaucho, is about an immigrant who has made it as a pro athlete, in this case, most likely a Basketball star, Thebulk of the narrative is a commentary on what type of lifestyle newly rich athletes and their fans aspire to
    cojo727on October 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about an athlete who is strung out on drugs. 'Local boys will spend a quater, just to shine a silver bowl' sounds like herion
    kamakiriadon March 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsn't this song about cocaine?
    Flyersfanon May 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsn't this song about cocaine?
    Flyersfanon May 20, 2008   Link

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