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Steely Dan — Don't Take Me Alive
Album: The Royal Scam
Avg rating:
7.4

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1820









Released: 1976
Length: 4:08
Plays (last 30 days): 2
Agents of the law
Luckless pedestrian
I know you're out there
With rage in your eyes
And your megaphones

Saying all is forgiven
Mad Dog surrender
How can I answer
A man of my mind can do anything

I'm a bookkeeper's son
I don't wanna shoot no one
Well, I crossed my old man back in Oregon
Don't take me alive

Got a case of dynamite
I could hold out here all night
Yes, I crossed my old man back in Oregon
Don't take me alive

Can you hear the evil crowd
The lies and the laughter
I hear my inside
The mechanized hum of another world

Where no sun is shining
No red light flashing
Here in this darkness
I know what I've done
I know all at once who I am

I'm a bookkeeper's son
I don't wanna shoot no one
Well, I crossed my old man back in Oregon
Don't take me alive

Got a case of dynamite
I could hold out here all night
Yes, I crossed my old man back in Oregon
Don't take me alive

I'm a bookkeeper's son
I don't wanna shoot no one
Well, I crossed my old man back in Oregon
Don't take me alive

Got a case of dynamite
I could hold out here all night
Yes, I crossed my old man back in Oregon
Don't take me alive
Don't take me alive
Comments (267)add comment
no he's saying 'or I gone' not 'or I gun' like we do in the PNW
 dxnerd86 wrote:
I still get irritated at the way Fagen mispronounces ‘Oregon’. A foretelling of the Bundy saga, perhaps? A top tune, though.
 
Uh, he pronounces it correctly.
Yacht Rock at its best. 👍
I still get irritated at the way Fagen mispronounces ‘Oregon’. A foretelling of the Bundy saga, perhaps? A top tune, though.
 drewd wrote:
Oh Man!! All of these years I've been singing "I'm a pool keeper's son".


 

Even knowing the "correct" lyric, I see no reason to sing it any other way.

Pool keeper forever, man!
I always thought it was, "I'm a goalkeeper's son."
 patrickagermann9147 wrote:
Went to a boring wedding back in the 70's and would sneak out to listen to this throughout the evening. It was my latest 8 track purchase. Love it!
 
I always associate Steely Dan with the 70s!  The sound just says 70s to me.
Ahhhhhh!  Schweetnesh!

On the other hand, does this song foretell the 21st Century?
Went to a boring wedding back in the 70's and would sneak out to listen to this throughout the evening. It was my latest 8 track purchase. Love it!
Love the multiple languages thank you, especially the Aussie.
This will never be removed from my iTunes playlist and I was so happy to hear it on RP.
I've never had a Steely Dan album, but there are some songs that cannot be ignored.
 bluematrix wrote:

From Songfacts.com
Leaving no mystery to the lyrics, "Don't Take Me Alive" is about a violent criminal holed up with "a case of dynamite" telling the cops to shoot him, in the tradition of playing "suicide by cop." He also appears to have committed patricide. That's our Steely Dan - the darkest lyrics sung to the most cheerful tunes in rock 'n' roll!
Long before O. J. Simpson led police on a slow-speed chase through its streets, Los Angeles had been host to a number of unusual crimes and high-profile apprehensions - flipping on the TV in LA, you can often see a crime unfolding in real time. Natives of the city are used to it, but Becker and Fagen were transplants from New York, so to them it was really bizarre. In writing this song, they drew on some of these stories that inundated the city.
That's Larry Carlton doing the guitar solo.

 
One of the few groups that I really love to listen to and read the lyrics at the same time.  Try it - they are just brilliant!
 danielharrigan wrote:
can't believe this song didn't make it on their greatest hits package.
 
It made it on "Showbiz Kids: The Steely Dan Story [Disk 2]
Well, I crossed my old man back in Oregon
Don't take me alive
 bluematrix wrote:

From Songfacts.com
Leaving no mystery to the lyrics, "Don't Take Me Alive" is about a violent criminal holed up with "a case of dynamite" telling the cops to shoot him, in the tradition of playing "suicide by cop." He also appears to have committed patricide. That's our Steely Dan - the darkest lyrics sung to the most cheerful tunes in rock 'n' roll!
Long before O. J. Simpson led police on a slow-speed chase through its streets, Los Angeles had been host to a number of unusual crimes and high-profile apprehensions - flipping on the TV in LA, you can often see a crime unfolding in real time. Natives of the city are used to it, but Becker and Fagen were transplants from New York, so to them it was really bizarre. In writing this song, they drew on some of these stories that inundated the city.
That's Larry Carlton doing the guitar solo.

 


OK, knew I'd come around to song lyrics being so prominent now on the new RP player. I really get this one a lot better 'n deeper. And the whole LA in the 70s thing too, for frosting on the cupcake, LA being a terrific source of all things best served really noir, of course. 

"... back in ARE-EE-GONE..."
Why someone has not made an opera based on this tune is beyond me.
Larry Carlton, Donald Fagan, Walter Becker Magic!
can't believe this song didn't make it on their greatest hits package.
The guitar intro gets my vote for one of the best in rock- give it another listen.
Start off a song with a guitar solo?  Why not?
 idiot_wind wrote:
Thelonious, my friend, 
Step on in, and let me shake your hand. 

Ahhhhhhhhhhh................I get the thread from previous song. 

 
I always heard it as Polonius.
Yacht Rock?  Had never even heard the term (see the Wikipedia info on the new RP site).  Apropos, and, based on the Wikipedia definition, perfectly defines why I don't enjoy Steely Dan.
To paraphrase the great Spinal Tap - " these guys go to 11"

Bliss
Sublime.  Countdown to Ecstasy is my favorite, but there is no bad Steely Dan Album. 
A promotion (7 to 8) based half on musical/song-writing skill, half on raw sentimental recollections of when the song was new, and how the world was then.
I would even dare to say: this is the perfect music.
Thelonious, my friend, 
Step on in, and let me shake your hand. 

Ahhhhhhhhhhh................I get the thread from previous song. 
I go with this as the best Steely Dan album. Multiple reasons, but this song is high on the list.  Maybe the best electric lead intro in rock?  And the angst in the lyrics is so perfectly expressed.
 pinto wrote:

As a big fan of the Dan I have to recommend Countdown to Ecstasy as their best album.

 
I'm partial to Katy Lied, which was repeated in a more mature way by Aja.
 pinto wrote:
As a big fan of the Dan I have to recommend Countdown to Ecstasy as their best album.
 
I agree, pinto!
 idiot_wind wrote:
One of their best albums. People need to realize how good of a "guitar band" this was with Becker, Skunk, Larry Coryell, etc.

You can hear it  in EVERY song.   And always...the goofy, cryptic lyrics.  

 
As a big fan of the Dan I have to recommend Countdown to Ecstasy as their best album.
 oldviolin wrote:
Soundtrack to a time machine, Monterey CA 1976
 
Oh, yes. I did the evening shift at KLRB (Carmel) when this came out. Wore out at least one copy...
 idiot_wind wrote:
You should really consider playing an album side or two as tribute to these guys. They were really good. Really. And good luck in trying to figure out this crazy-ass lyrics.   

 
From Songfacts.com
Leaving no mystery to the lyrics, "Don't Take Me Alive" is about a violent criminal holed up with "a case of dynamite" telling the cops to shoot him, in the tradition of playing "suicide by cop." He also appears to have committed patricide. That's our Steely Dan - the darkest lyrics sung to the most cheerful tunes in rock 'n' roll!
Long before O. J. Simpson led police on a slow-speed chase through its streets, Los Angeles had been host to a number of unusual crimes and high-profile apprehensions - flipping on the TV in LA, you can often see a crime unfolding in real time. Natives of the city are used to it, but Becker and Fagen were transplants from New York, so to them it was really bizarre. In writing this song, they drew on some of these stories that inundated the city.
That's Larry Carlton doing the guitar solo.

 Steely_D wrote:
I know you're out there, with rage in your eyes and your megaphones.

Can you hear the evil crowd?

The lies and the laughter
I hear my inside, the mechanized hum of another world
Where no sun is shining, no red light flashing
Here in this darkness, I know what I've done
I know all at once who I am
I know you're out there, with rage in your eyes and your megaphones.
Soundtrack to a time machine, Monterey CA 1976
Always loved the guitar on this, yet another awesome Dan tune.
{#Guitarist} rip walter ! always enjoyed the tuneage
You should really consider playing an album side or two as tribute to these guys. They were really good. Really. And good luck in trying to figure out this crazy-ass lyrics.   
 sfyi2001 wrote:

                              Crossed his old man and has dynamite don't take him alive.
                               - repeat 17 times -




 
Absolutely! Love it, don't you?  R.I.P. Walter



                              Crossed his old man and has dynamite don't take him alive.
                               - repeat 17 times -



Wow, going from Monk to SD.

Very Nice.

Please consider playing from the Pretzel Logic album.  
Timeless!!! Man I love this station. Nice segue from "Destination". Smooth, snarky wit and jazzy stylin'. Solid 70s Am Gold..... Loves me tha S_d!! Then and NOW.
 BaileyCat88 wrote:
Outstanding song. Guns in Oregon, not so much.

 
I bet the folks at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge would be relieved to hear that.
Not a huge Steely Dan fan, but this has always been on my playlist.
 Steely_D wrote:
The name of my next band is "Luckless Pedestrians."

 
I like it.
Yeah. Nice stuff. Being a 70's kid, this takes me back. Waaaayyy back.

{#Bananajam}On of my absolute favourite bands. 

Ready to here more of these guys here on rp (is welcome at the same dosage as the cadence of  cowboy junkies, rem, spoon etc)

smart, slick and very groovy

 
Everyone's panties in a bunch about Oregon, but no one freaking out about 

 
The name of my next band is "Luckless Pedestrians."
Somehow—this is still their most memorable/greatest song.  Or is it "My Old School"?  
Steely Dan songs always make me feel good.   No explanation
Bill is kicking it today with a great playlist.  One of SD better albums.
Outstanding song. Guns in Oregon, not so much.
And I thought I heard them sing "Katy Lied".  But it appears to be "Don't take me alive".
 
One of their best albums. People need to realize how good of a "guitar band" this was with Becker, Skunk, Larry Coryell, etc.

You can hear it  in EVERY song.   And always...the goofy, cryptic lyrics.  
To me, it's OK that they mispronounce Oregon.  After all, they also mispronounce dynamite.  I chalk it up to poetic license.
 drewd wrote:

Oh Man!! All of these years I've been singing "I'm a pool keeper's son".



 
Bwahahahaha.....what did we do before the internet and lyric searches.
I know what I used to do, hope the inner note linings of the LP had the lyrics.
Amazing, they are touring with Elvis Costello right now!
My youngest daughter starts in September at their Alma Mater in Annandale.


This song is "Outstanding", Larry Carlton is "Godlike"
 helgigermany wrote:
Cant help, i like this band very much!!

 
Yup.  Me, too.  Always have.  Always will.  I saw it written once that if Steely was consider a basketball team once they arrived at the court all the rest would move aside and watch.  Errrrr....more or less.  Don't know the truth of that but to my ear their sound is bearing up well thru the ever present muting presence of time.  They still ring nicely in the ear....

Highlow
American Net'Zen

Oh Man!! All of these years I've been singing "I'm a pool keeper's son".


If I ever form another band, it will be called "Luckless Pedestrians."
Cant help, i like this band very much!!
Caught their show at Concord Pavilion (CA) a few months ago...great show, although...they had a "second" lead guitar player alongside Becker, as well as pumped up background vocals for Fagin...age spares no fingers, no voice, no man.
 Carl wrote:
Still fresh-sounding after all these years. (To me, anyways.)

 
Me, too.
First rate musicians, always a pleasure to hear!

Thanks Bill!
 Steely_D wrote:
I could hold out here all night.

 
Hearing SD feels like Home at Last {#Yes}
Still fresh-sounding after all these years. (To me, anyways.)
I could hold out here all night.
Great Song !

More  Dan   !


please 
 Steely_D wrote:
How can I answer?
A man of my mind can do anything. 

 
are you a bookkeepers son?  do you say "Oregon" funny?
How can I answer?
A man of my mind can do anything. 
More Dan!!
 Cleavose wrote:
. . . A pool keeper's son, isn't a thing in Oregon. Not enough swimming pools to specialize in such a modest profession.
I conclude ballad's protagonist isn't from Oregon. . . .
 
I'm a bookkeeper's son
I don't wanna shoot no one (etc.)
(fyi)
There are plenty of place names with random accents. No one wants to be the object of xenophobia, it's human nature to want to blend in. If one becomes a resident, yes, one tends to take on the local fashions. If you grow up in a place, you can't help it.

A pool keeper's son, isn't a thing in Oregon. Not enough swimming pools to specialize in such a modest profession. I conclude ballad's protagonist isn't from Oregon. That's just where he and his father were when the deal went sour. Those opiates that hit the docks from east Asia didn't walk themselves to Phoenix or Vegas in 1971.

I saw Dan at the Rose Garden arena, a few years ago (10?). They played this song, the audience cheered big and I don't think it was with a hint of irony about the pronunciation. 


 CalOF wrote:

Surprised by all the flak about mispronouncing Oregon.  Why so picky?  Do all of you pronounce New Orleans just like the natives do?  Maybe you say New Jersey while some of the locals say "joisey"  Maybe you see Cairo and say it like you say the capital of Egypt (I have no idea how those locals say it), but in IL they say it like Karo syrup.  If in Lima, do say Lee-ma Ohio , or Lye-ma, like the locals?  What about  Lima, Peru? 

Give it a rest.

Oh, and a great number by a great group.

 

oldsaxon wrote:


I agree...petty is petty

 
It's only funny because it sounds like he is from Orygone according to the song. I think that's pretty funny.  Call me petty.  Still a 7.
 midreaming wrote:
i love the song title. 'echoes a thought i have every time i hear this band. ..kill me, please. kill me now. so sick of the presumption this music has any soul.

 
Certainly not worth dying for. I, for one, see the value of living and thus, relish the soul in this music.
i love the song title. 'echoes a thought i have every time i hear this band. ..kill me, please. kill me now. so sick of the presumption this music has any soul.

You should consider playing more Steely Dan.

There musical expertise was fantastic; no matter who was in the band. There lyrics were always cryptic and bizarre.

But the songs had just so many hooks and riffs.

 

 


{#Angel}{#Angel}{#Angel} ...... "Outstanding" song from an "Outstanding" album
 oldsaxon wrote:

Every time I hear a tune off any SD album I think, "This is my favourite". I do believe that says a lot for the band.
 

 
I was trying to recall how many different formats that I have had this work...at least 4
Simply one of my favorite song intros of all time...
ahhhh.....a Black FryDay kinda song, hmmh?
Some of the best stuff they ever did. Too bad that they had solo careers.....
 oldsaxon wrote:
Every time I hear a tune off any SD album I think, "This is my favourite". I do believe that says a lot for the band.
 
I feel the same way.  Says a lot, really.
I am a long time listener to RP, not so much lately. I find 80% of the music here is so bland and lack luster. It's not bad, just so so. But then, Bill plays this and I'm reminded how good Steely Dan was. They soar way above anything out there today. For a group that was too ugly to tour, for me, they are the best.
 tomcool wrote:
Bill doesn't play too much SD; I suspect that he was probably burned out on them during one or more FM station DJ gigs, back in the 1970s.

SD is great, though, and I'd love to hear more of them here on RP.

This is probably my favorite SD album: like most classic SD albums, great from track first through track last.

 
Every time I hear a tune off any SD album I think, "This is my favourite". I do believe that says a lot for the band.
 
Larry Carlton on guitar.  Very powerful song......
 impediguy wrote:




I have a friend from Ohio who thought it was odd how we Californians pronounced "Orragen". He thought it should by pronounced "Orry-gone". So he asked me "what do you call that five sided building in DC? The 'pentigen'?" I guess it al depends where you come from. Isn't Fagen from "joisey
 

I pronounce it Oregon, as in "up here, I'm already gone."
how can you say bill is burnt on steely? hell he was  KFAT  lucky to still be breathing........{#Stupid}
These guys were so good it's hard to call them rock or popular or ... really anything.  But they know how to write a lyric, don't they?  And their buddy sidemen were always top-shelf.  My kids like their stuff; nuff said.
This song, this album, WOW; this band boasts some of the most blistering guitars and trippiest lyrics ever...LOVE 'EM!  Got tickets to see them at Red Rocks August 8th; hell yeah, can't wait!  I also echo the request for "Your Gold Teeth" -- what a fantastic groove that one is!
Awesome!  Now how about "Your Gold Teeth"?

This classic song is good for the ears...
 
Ah, what's up Bill? Fourth time I've heard this since early March. There's a lot more 'dan out there.
What a great song off an awsome album....9
Bliss
 gjeeg wrote:
A song for the Madness of Today.
"A man of my kind could do anything..."
 
Amen.  And the Madness that was 1976 as well.  Sadly, some things don't seem to change.
I'm riding my Kawasaki H-2 down Highway 1 out of Monterey in 1976 and this song is on a loop banging around in my noggin...

*edit* I miss that day, and that dude with his spunky little putter...well, at least the song remains the same...{#Lol}
A song for the Madness of Today.
"A man of my kind could do anything..."
 coloradojohn wrote:

agreed...a mind-bending album — powerful, utterly staggering in its brilliance; the music and vision realized, crystallized, and expressed to the true height and depth of its luxuriant fullness...
  Well said CJ.


Larry Carlton is masterful in the wonderful liquid intro and everything he touches in this great track.
I loved Steely Dan for their cool, their resolute professionalism, and nose thumbing to just about everybody !

They were apparently very difficult task masters for the stellar line-up of session musicians who guested for them. but the results are enduringly brilliant.
 lily34 wrote:
nothing compares.
 
agreed...a mind-bending album — powerful, utterly staggering in its brilliance; the music and vision realized, crystallized, and expressed to the true height and depth of its luxuriant fullness...
nothing compares.
I love Steely Dan but I should would like to hear different songs of theirs on RP.  Seems like it's only this one or Aja.
Yes! Please play often. Like any Dan song, automatic 10.
One of my favorite guitar intros to a song ever...great disk
 Hasan wrote:

Steely Dan - The quintessence of posing.
 
They seem like the real deal to me.
A theme song for mass shootings, back before they were so common.  It's sad that there are so many any more.  And summer's not over yet.
guitar intro has to be one of the best short ones- love to hear other contenders for that category
Hurry up Ricky, gimme that number!
 
 daedalus wrote:
Steely Dan - The quintessence of cool.
 
Steely Dan - The quintessence of posing.
The quintessence of cool alt-jazz rock party music — but I was never a fan. Except for when I was dancing my ass off to Reelin in the Years with a red hot honey at a college party in 1975. Wow. 
 oldsaxon wrote:

I agree...petty is petty
 

This does not sound anything like Tom Petty or Richard.
Steely Dan - The quintessence of cool.
 CalOF wrote:
Surprised by all the flak about mispronouncing Oregon.  Why so picky?  Do all of you pronounce New Orleans just like the natives do?  Maybe you say New Jersey while some of the locals say "joisey"  Maybe you see Cairo and say it like you say the capital of Egypt (I have no idea how those locals say it), but in IL they say it like Karo syrup.  If in Lima, do say Lee-ma Ohio , or Lye-ma, like the locals?  What about  Lima, Peru? 

Give it a rest.

Oh, and a great number by a great group.
 
I agree...petty is petty
 swell_sailor wrote:

Only a fool would say that. 
 


nicely done.