1972 to 1981
November 30, -0001 in Annandale-on-Hudson
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, United States
Steely Dan is an American jazz rock band which formed in 1972. The band was formed by Donald Fagen (vocals, keyboards) and Walter Becker (guitar, bass), who met in 1967 while both attended Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and began a songwriting partnership shortly thereafter. Their music is characterized by dark, witty lyrical narratives, obscure lyrical allusions and complex, jazz-influenced instrumentation and chord sequences, overlying more ordinary popular song structures. Their fastidious standards in the studio and use of world-class sessions players has also been a hallmark of their work.
Biography by Last.fm, available under cc by-sa license.
I'm fairly certain this song is about a brothel. The kind of place that no one talks about, no matter if you see the mayor, your friends Klaus and Rooster, or a sailor on shore leave. Ruthie gives you the key to your room, and you head upstairs with your $20 bill (Jackson.)
This tells the tale of a homeless drug addict, whose only possession of worldly value is a golden ring on his hand. The person relating the story obviously had known Charlie for awhile, and when they met late one night, Charlie begged him to purchase the ring, because he was in dire need of cash. Of course, Charles immediately uses the cash to buy drugs, and overdoses on them. When the author finds out, he heads down to the morgue, and places the ring on Charlie's finger, somewhat regretfully.