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Artist: Steely Dan
Album: Pretzel Logic

Charlie Freak had but one thing to call his own
Three weight ounce pure golden ring no precious stone
Five nights without a bite
No place to lay his head
And if nobody takes him in
He'll soon be dead
On the street he spied my face I heard him hail
In our plot of frozen space he told his tale
Poor man, he showed his hand
So righteous was his need
And me so wise I bought his prize
For chicken feed

Newfound cash soon begs to smash a state of mind
Close inspection fast revealed his favorite kind
Poor kid, he overdid
Embraced the spreading haze
And while he sighed his body died
In fifteen ways

When I heard I grabbed a cab to where he lay
'Round his arm the plastic tag read D.O.A.
Yes Jack, I gave it back
The ring I could not own
Now come my friend I'll take your hand
And lead you home


by Gonzo on 2/28/2009 12:57am
I particularly like the Christmas bells
by LeftCoast on 4/14/2009 2:05pm
While not an overly-emotional person, I never fail to cry whenever I sing this song. The vivid picture it paints of greed, regret, and redemption are even more meaningful in these desperate and uncertain times.
by Ioannis Pegios on 11/12/2009 2:09pm
I love this song since i first heard it back in 1977. Pure Genius. By far the best song in Pretzel Logic
by Existential Loneliness on 10/24/2010 6:13pm
by kearo on 2/9/2011 3:36pm
brilliant album thought provoking song loved it.
by Lime on 8/11/2011 8:45pm
Beautifully sad song. One of their best I think.
by kiwi on 1/16/2012 3:09pm
I love this song.
by SL on 7/1/2012 6:20pm
So brilliantly tragic. This song always reduces me to tears.
by Greg on 10/10/2012 2:49pm
When you've been addicted and got straight this is all the more painful. Some of my friends didn't make it. You don't know the guilt I feel for helping them do this to themselves. Only God knows why it didn't happen to me.
by BUDnl on 5/29/2014 12:12am
I was 15 in 1974 when I heard this song first and it moved me then. Now, 40 years later, it STILL moves me to tears. Becker and Fagen are epic!
by Shawn Hawkins on 12/6/2015 8:22am
I think the song is sung by Death. He was to take Charlie but needed a way to do it. So he put money in Charlies hands knowing it would be his demise. He couldn't own the ring because death isn't flesh and bone.
"Now come my friend I'll take your hand and lead you home"

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