The Steely Dan Dictionary: L

Listing 7 entries:

Who will choke on my lachrymose musings? / Who will eat my zero dust?
Song: Darkling Down   Album: Circus Money

An adjective describing something that stimulates feelings of tearfulness — or someone who is easily moved to tears.

The word first appeared in English in the early 18th century, and comes from the equivalent Latin word lacrimosus (which in turn comes from the noun lacrima, meaning "teardrop"). From the same root, the lachrymal glands are the scientific name for the glands which produce tears.

You in your Lark / You're a mark / You're a screamer
Song: I Got The News   Album: Aja

The Studebaker Lark, a 1960s American car.

Studebaker was one of the last independent U.S. car manufacturers, and the Lark was their last real attempt at breaking the stranglehold of the big three (GM, Ford and Chrysler) on the American car market. It was far ahead of its time, being a small compact car with European looks and without the then-popular tail fins.

Its introduction in 1959 was initially successful, but it didn't last — Studebaker went bankrupt in 1966.

Link: Introduction to the Studebaker Lark

I am holding the mystical sphere / It's direct from Lhasa
Song: Time Out Of Mind   Album: Gaucho

The capital city of Tibet, standing almost 4,000 metres above sea level in the foothills of the Himalayas.

The name Lhasa means "Land of the Gods" or "Holy Place" in Tibetan.

Link: 10 Dos and Don’ts for a First Visit to Lhasa

In a fleet of Lincoln Town Cars / They rolled into our town
Song: Mary Shut the Garden Door   Album: Morph The Cat

A type of American luxury car, manufactured by Lincoln, the high-end division of the Ford Motor Company.

The "Town Car" brand first appeared as a sub-model of the Lincoln Continental in 1959, becoming a brand of its own in 1981 and remaining in production until 2011, being at one time the most expensive luxury sedan (a.k.a. saloon) available in the US.

The Lincoln company itself was founded in 1917 and was named after Abraham Lincoln — fittingly, Lincoln have since developed a tradition of supplying limousines to the US President. For example, the car in which JFK was shot was a Lincoln Continental convertible.

Link: The hidden dangers of Lincoln Town Cars

Little Eva meets the Bleecker Street brat / She's almost gothic but it's better than that
Song: Almost Gothic   Album: Two Against Nature

North Carolina-born pop singer (1943-2003).

Got her big break after babysitting for Carole King and Gerry Goffin, who wrote her trademark song "The Locomotion", a worldwide Number One hit in 1962.

Her full name was Eva Boyd — she apparently chose her stage name as an homage to a character in the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Link: YouTube: Little Eva performing The Locomotion

You go to Lost Wages / Lost Wages (repeated background lyric)
Song: Show Biz Kids   Album: Countdown to Ecstasy

For this one, rather than write my own definition I'll just quote Walter Becker, who answered the question perfectly during an online chat with the BBC in March 2000: "Actually they are saying 'Go to Las Vegas'; but they are mispronouncing it in the way that Lenny Bruce used to mispronounce on purpose, saying 'lost wages'."

Link: Transcript of BBC online chat with Donald Fagen & Walter Becker, 4th March 2000

You hide in the bushes / Murder the man / With Luger in hand
Song: With A Gun   Album: Pretzel Logic

A type of military pistol, developed in the 1890s by German arms-maker Georg Luger and used by the German army from 1908 to 1945.

The Luger's distinctive looks, renowned accuracy and many available variations have made it much sought-after by gun collectors.

Link: The Luger Forum