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

Felonius my old friend
Step on in and let me shake your hand
So glad that you're here again
For one more time
Let your madness run with mine
Streets still unseen we'll find somehow
No time is better than now

Tell me where are you driving
Midnight cruiser
Where is your bounty
Of fortune and fame
I am another
Gentlemen loser
Drive me to Harlem
Or somewhere the same

The world that we used to know
People tell me it don't turn no more
The places we used to go
Familiar faces that ain't smilin' like before
The time of our time has come and gone
I fear we been waiting too long



by Keef on 6/4/2008 10:54am
It's not "Felonius" it's "Thelonius" as in Thelonius Monk.
by bizzydsick on 7/3/2008 1:57am
i'm 19 yr old, this band makes me feel very fine, the '70 must back!!!
by roliver on 11/8/2008 1:12am
well i'm 16 and my mate just gave me this LP (Can't Buy a Thrill). So far this is my fave song :D
by billyball on 11/18/2008 11:11pm
no it is felonious, as in seriously criminal.
by y on 2/5/2009 9:10pm
by Funnelvision on 2/5/2009 9:18pm
You got it billyball. Felonious refers to a felony. In this case its also is a metaphor for taking chances in life. No time is better than now....
by Herr Karrack de Neer on 7/4/2009 11:37am
Brilliant song. Aside from debate about 'feloniousness', it is interesting to note that the song was sung by the band's drummer, Jim Hodder. By the way, it is 'felonious'. Listen to the song and learn.
by jacko on 7/8/2009 10:54pm
Keef is correct.

It's Thelonious, as in Thelonious Monk the controversial jazz musician.

How could they be referring to 'felonious' as 'my old friend'? Felonious is an adjective for heaven's sake.
by clarie on 7/30/2009 1:11am
and just think, they were opening for the Humble Pie in 1970
by clarie on 7/30/2009 1:29am
I have just now checked my original Can't Buy a Thrill album and lyrics included, the name is indead "Felonius my old friend".
by George on 8/28/2009 3:09am
On my vinyl copy of "Can't Buy A Thrill" the jacket reads for "Midnight Cruiser" - "Drive me to Harlen". Same goes for "Felonious my old friend".

I bought it when I was 16, in 1972.

by gary on 9/9/2009 7:32am
One of Dan's finest think? almost 40yrs old! WOW...Hey to settle the "felonious" is NOT a reference to Thelonious Monk...But rather as written: do I know for sure? Does anyone know who Elliot Randall is? he playes on a few Dan LP's (including the Reelin' in the years solo)...and I just happen to know him. If you doubt who he(Elliot) is...Google him...peace!
by FXL on 1/24/2010 9:45pm
on the original lp album the lyrics are DEFINITELY "Felonius" -and true- if you listen, you will hear that clearly...and although the lyrics use the word "Harlen" instead of "Harlem", I gotta think thats a misprint or an inside comment. Sure sounds like Harlem, and that makes sense.
by eduardo on 5/3/2010 7:31am
Who is the singer Midnight Cruiser Steely Dan? Johnny Rivers?
by richard on 6/13/2010 6:14pm
steely dan is my favorite singer. I loving all his songs.
by harry on 9/24/2010 1:25pm
ffs, wtf does it matter how you spell it???? stupid kids
by HH on 11/3/2010 12:11pm
Felonius??? Thelonius I think would be better...
by jp on 12/11/2010 7:01am
the singer is Jim Hodder. When I was a kid I thought the opening lyrics sounded like "Baloney is my old friend, step on it and let me shake your hand"
by Randy G 67 on 12/24/2010 9:20pm
It's freaking Thelonius, duh. To the guy saying listen to the song, did you hapeen to hear the part about letting your madness run with mine, and streets still unseen we'll find somehow? I guess to a non-musician this might seem like a crime reference, but it is definitely referring to someone jammining with Thelonius at a club towards the end of his career and then having Thelonius ask him to drive him downtown to hook on the smack. C'mon people, it's not even a veled reference. I don't give a damn what the recoed or the studio guitarist says, it's Thelonius.
by TR on 2/21/2011 2:46pm
Okay Dudes, here's my two cents. Two friends are re-acquainted, possible re-incarnated (The time of our time has come and gone). One was a Felon, but a (Gentlemen Loser) perhaps wrongly accused and put to death for the madness he used to preach. He was possibly a warrior (Harlen means Army-Land)

I think he's talking about Socrates
(Warrior-Philosher) who believed in Recollection and Reincarnation and was wrongly put to death for slamming the Aristocrates of Greece. We all know that "Home at Last" was about Odesseus. Who had his men tie him to the mast of his ships to listen the the Sirens.

Am I out to lunch?
by tigressa on 4/27/2011 1:58pm
It's Thelonious. I should know; my husband wrote this song and he's referring to me. (Thelonious is one of his nicknames for me.)
by human paraquat on 6/18/2011 9:13am
On Steely Dan's official website it is Felonius and Harlem. I'll take their word over dipshit in this messageboard.
by jesco on 7/5/2011 9:04am
It's Felonius, always has been. But you have to admire the righteousness of the dorks who insist it's "Thelonius", or wrongly interpret that the song is somehow about Thelonius Monk. It's kind of a testament to the power of music/lyrics, etc. that really strong multiple interpretations of a song can exist. Perhaps they are rolling on this high horse because they are nerdy musos who went to Berklee, love Steely Dan from that angle, and that just because the song Parkers Band is actually about jazz and jazz musicians that Steely Dan is somehow their musical church, supporting their decision to be nerdy music snobs, and singing to them about JAZZ all the time (cue corny beatnik finger snaps here) TR's interpretation sounds WAY more probable. Time to power down your JC-120s and read a book, jazzbos.
by Pliny on 9/12/2011 9:59am
I actually prefer "Balony is my old friend."

I also prefer to change "Rebel rebel" (from the Bowie song) to "Barny Rubble".

Hot tramp...I love you so!

by DanFan on 10/3/2011 12:21pm
There is absolutely no debate what the lyrics are, as they come with the LP and it is 'Felonius'. End Of. Great Song
by Just a listner on 4/6/2012 5:08pm
Its Felonious. Go to the Steely Dan web sight they have the lyrics there.

As far as the song goes, the narrator is talking to two people. The first, Felonious is heroin, is who he's getting reaquainted with. The second is the "midnight cruiser" who is the cab driver taking the narrator to score.
by alex on 6/8/2012 8:08pm
who cares just enjoy the song man its a great melody tooooo.............
by David on 6/22/2012 7:30pm
'Baloney is my old friend' is hilarious. You might also enjoy my sister's version of CCR's Bad Moon Rising, entitled 'There's a Bathroom on the Right."
by dan steele on 4/29/2013 6:37pm
With so much bickering going on i wonder how many have noticed the awesome guitar solo, great vocal from the late SD stixman Jim Hodder , and 41 years on this Album is still essential listening, no argument about that !, though the omission of Dallas and Sail the Waterway, does still raise an eyebrow !
by Conrad on 12/21/2013 4:53pm
No, it's Petronius, as in Petronius Arbiter, who wrote the Satyricon. The song is about a night of madness in a mad society.
by AdamC on 1/7/2014 2:40pm
Great song, from a fantastic album. And the lyric is 'Felonius, my old friend'. Sorry for all you folks who live in a mental box, but it's not to do with Monk. And yes Jacko 'felonius' is an adj. But so are countless nicknames and pseudonyms.
by Onceinabluemoon on 2/9/2014 12:33am
I thought it was balonious.
by tim on 5/16/2014 6:05am
I have learnt something today about - always thought it was Thelonious
by Pauls95blazer on 10/2/2015 12:05pm
Call it what you will. The great thing about music is that it can take you to a different place and time; if you just relax and enjoy the ride.
by thelonious monk on 4/28/2016 10:43am
What about "Through With Buzz" for all of you who insist the printed lyric is the fact. SD has Parker's Band and covered Ellington, and obviously SD has jazz influence. Monk's mental illness was bad toward the end; he was a master but not recognized and certainly not rich... "where is your bounty of fortune and fame." And drive you to "Harlen" - uh, Ellington? Monk? Miley? Parker? It's Harlem, just like Buzz is Love.
by thelonious monk on 4/28/2016 10:46am
ps. Thelonious Monk did not use heroin.
by Kid P on 5/11/2017 1:30pm
Long time ago, when the mighty Internet was still very young, and Steely Dan just launched their web page, I did send a mail to mention that they've misspelled Thelonius on the lyrics page. Two hours later I got a mail from "The Steely Dan web drone" saying something like: the character in Midnite Cruise is and will always be spelled Felonius. And yes: I still think that the drone was WB.
by anon on 5/25/2018 2:16pm
One interpretation I have heard is that the protagonist is drunk, and "Felonious" is an attempt to say "Thelonious".

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