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Album: Katy LiedReleased: 1975
This song seems to be about a betrayed loser lover talking to his eccentric shrink, who perhaps has stolen the guy's girl. It features the signature Steely Dan irony: "All night long, we would sing this stupid song, and every word we sang I knew was true."
As to the identity of Dr. Wu, Steely Dan claims he's a fictional character, with Donald Fagen explaining, "We change the names to protect the innocent."
Becker told Rolling Stone during their 2009 tour: "It's about that uneasy relationship between the patient and doctor. People put faith in doctors, yet they abuse their power and become dangerous."
This title of the album comes from a line in this song: "Katy lies, you could see it in her eyes."
If you read a drug connection into this song, you're on the right track. Donald Fagen
describes it as "kind of a love-dope triangle," adding, "I think usually when we do songs of a romantic nature, one or more of the participants in the alliance will come under the influence of someone else or some other way of life, and that will usually end up in either some sort of compromise or a split. In this song the girl meets somebody who leads another kind of life, and she’s attracted to it. Then she comes under the domination of someone else, and that results in the ending of the relationship or some amending of the relationship. In 'Dr. Wu' that someone else is a dope habit. personified as Doctor Wu."