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Artist: Steely Dan
Album: Can't Buy A Thrill

A race of angels
Bound with one another
A dish of dollars
Laid out for all to see
A tower room at Eden Rock
His golf at noon for free
Brooklyn owes the charmer
Under me

His lady's aching
To bring a body down
She daily preaches
On where she wants to be
An evening with a movie queen
A face we all have seen
Brooklyn owes the charmer
Under me

A case of aces
Done up loose for dealing
A piece of island cooling in the sea
The whole of time we gain or lose
And power enough to choose
Brooklyn owes the charmer
Under me


by Todd Asmussen on 6/19/2008 10:17pm
Some tweaks ... i've loved this song since it came out and I was eleven living in new york.

"it's golf at noon for three
Brooklyn KNOWS the charmer under me"

I thought it was Brooklyn Knows not Brooklyn Owes.

But don't sue me if I'm wrong on this.

Also the golf thingy - I am real sure the 'His' is actually 'It's'. As far as 'free' or 'three' I'm good with either.
by on 7/17/2008 6:19pm
Anyone have any ideas about the eden rock. Is it a hotel? A golf course?.....
by jack on 1/3/2009 12:40pm
The Eden ROC is a fine hotel on Miami Beach, right next to the Fontainebleu. It doesn't have a golf course, but there are many in the area.

Does anyone know why there are so many S. FL references in S.D. songs?
by rlkaos on 3/27/2009 3:35pm
every body from N.Y. knows that sooner or later you go to Miami. Back when this song was written the Eden Roc was one of the best. I think it is "Brooklyn knows the charmer under me."
But what about the rest??
by me on 5/15/2009 12:41am
fucking love the last stanza. some of the coolest lyrics ever
by stranger in a strange land on 1/12/2011 7:44pm
the first stanza seems to reference the novel by heinlen: allusion to humans really being angels, the dish of dollars michael valentine smith has in his compound, the reference to eden. Also, the preaching women in #2 could easily refer to any of the female characters in the novel, especially with the sexual openess aspects and the interchange of physical appearence. #3 could reference Smiths use of telekinesis to manipulate betting games in his favor. The brooklyn/south florida thing i have nothing on. Still interesting that this song is followed up by turn that heartbeat over again, reference to michael and jesus, perhaps a stretch... still sounds like the preaching of smith.
by GREAEST MYSTERY SONG EVER ! on 2/27/2011 6:38pm
by p allen on 4/7/2011 11:50pm
i've always love stelly dan. wish they were still making music. takes me way back!

by DJ Dyspeptic on 12/18/2011 2:02pm
Well, the question of whether Brooklyn owes or Brooklyn knows was settled in 1972 when the LP was released. The title is "Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me)." I've been pondering what that line might mean for 40 years. I still don't know, but it is one of the loveliest lyric phrases I've ever encountered. By the way, this sounds to me like a Becker song. Any thoughts?
by allan on 12/21/2011 7:50pm
It is about the guy that lived downstairs from Fagan in Brooklyn and what Brooklyn owed him for the hardships he had to suffer, including his wife."His lady's aching to bring a body down,,she daily preaches where she wants to be" sounds like she nags him a lot, so Brooklyn owes the charmer "an evening with a beauty queen, a face we all have seen".
by David on 2/12/2012 3:06am
Think guys whats one of the most popular type of person with money to burn and respect to have a Tower Room at Eden Roc (which was and is again one of the top hotels in Miami Beach) a. D to play lf at noon for free. Also consider that Florida is nuetrl territory. This so. G predates the cocaine cowboys. How about a mob. guy.
by Phil on 6/8/2012 11:36pm
The line on this page says "A piece of island cooling in the sea" I remember the lyrics on the sleeve as being "A piece of ilam (spell?) cooling in the sea.

Am I wrong?
by scott on 3/9/2013 5:36am
It is in fact Brooklyn (owes the charmer) . I mean it is the name of the song.
by George on 5/14/2013 7:00pm
Ilam is the name of a church in NZ. It is a spelling of the biblical Elam. It is a nation in the Bible:
"The last part of Jeremiah 49 is an apocalyptic oracle against Elam which states that Elam will be scattered to the four winds of the earth, but "will be, in the end of days, that I will return their captivity," a prophesy self-dated to the first year of Zedekiah".

A piece of Elam, seeing it was scattered to the 4 winds, as a kind of alternative Zion?
Or maybe just an island.

Steve, he was a charmer because he would sweet talk his old lady back into a good mood with the kind of promises the song makes.
by re: stranger in a strange land on 8/31/2013 12:12am
sorry, but as a fellow Heinlein reader and absolute fan of Stranger in a Strange Land, I just don't see ANY absolute references to SIASL or Heinlein in this song. It's a case of you get from the party is what you bring TO the party.
by CatLa on 9/3/2017 2:24pm
I think that the song is an ironic anti-hymn of praise to a would-be rich guy (cf. the Eden Roc, free golf, dish of dollars) whose ambitious, perhaps nagging wife is being neglected in favor of someone younger, who gambles high, perhaps for fancy real estate (the island)'. But 'the whole of time we gain or lose | With power enough to choose'—it's his life, he chose it. As for the title, the point is that this sleazeball, who lives in the apartment 'under' the singer's, is no 'charmer', and Brooklyn owes him nothing.
by HarryH on 12/2/2019 8:40pm
I could swear that I saw an Eden Rock golf course on a map of Brooklyn that I have in an atlas from the early 1960s. Can't find it on Google Maps now, but I'm sure it existed.
by Tom S. on 5/18/2020 6:42pm
To me, you can gain eternity (the whole of time) when you give your life to Jesus, but, unlike in Calvinism, you have the power to choose. Jesus doesn't force you to believe. You have a choice. I quote these lyrics to drive Calvinists mad. Ha!
by D. Skeeter on 2/11/2021 5:52pm
I’m a painter, working on a canvas of the Brooklyn Bridge (at night) in the style of Whistler’s: Nocturnal in Blue and Gold: Old Battersea Bridge, 1872-1875. I want to use a phrase from the Steely Dan song, integrate it with the image of Brooklyn Bridge....any suggestions?? B safe U’Alls....

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