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The Fez

by

Steely Dan



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This is the only Steely Dan song with a third credited writer, Paul Griffin, who also plays organ on the song. On a BBC Online chat March 4, 2000, Donald Fagen said, "The Fez was recorded using a rhythm chart but there were a few bars missing and Paul Griffin, the keyboard player on the day, came up with a nice little melody, so we felt we should include him in the writer credits."
A Fez is a kind of hat popular in Turkey and Morocco. The lyrics don't appear to have a deep meaning.
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Comments (11):

When I started listening to Steely Dan at about 13 yrs. of age,I paid little attention to the lyrics--I knew they were cryptic and bizarre,and even haunting in a peripheral kinda way.As the years went by,and having read "Naked Lunch",which features a dildo named "Steely Dan",I realized that in connection with the lyrics from "Gaucho"(which are,in my opinion,the weirdest ever--as a theatrical situation they remind me a lot of the Mart Crowley/William Friedkin film "The Boys In The Band")plus a few double entendres and puns that I might have missed,that both Becker and Fagen were gay(not that there's anything wrong with that!!),or that just one of them was,or they swung,or just one swung,or just the one who wrote the lyrics for those tunes was gay or bi or whatever.I know Fagen has been(faithfully?)married to singer Libby Titus for years,and no info on Becker's love life seems available.To me,it's part of the whole mystique of Steely Dan--there's an anonymity,a dark privacy,that flies in the face of celebrity,and if your musical taste appreciates super-original funky/pop/jazz-fusion,then it's the music that is the entity--the mystery behind it...well,it's always gonna be one.It's possible that all the best art through the ages has to contain something unknown yet familiar.
- Tony, Vancouver, BC
I always felt the keyboard parts of this song were inspired a little by Quincy Jones soundtrack to the movie The Anderson Tapes, for what ever reason one or the other playing triggers a connection between them in my mind.
- Bill, pensacola, FL
It's so funny that whener i play this song with people in the car, they are always so bewildered that it doesn't go into I Know Where Its At by All Saints... Some people are such musical philistines!
- Defn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom
preaching about safe sex in a time when no one gave a damn about safe sex.need proof of that? look no further than "studio 54"
- tim, la grange, TX
Yes the fez is the euphemistic condom I heard Donald Fagen confirm it in a Interview once.
- Michael, Sydney, Australia
Don't leave home without em!!!
A FEZ that is.
- Andy, Rockaway , NY
Consider the fact that it's a double entendre:
"A double entendre is a figure of speech similar to the pun, in which a spoken phrase can be understood in either of two ways. This can be as simple as a phrase which has two mutually exclusive meanings, and is thus a clever play on words(wikipedia)" The first level is about the holy hat, with the deeper meaning about condoms and safe sex. Note that condoms are also referred to as hats(thus the 'punniness'). This elucidates the brilliance characteristic of Steely Dan's lyrics - the ability to subtly communicate on multiple levels.
- evan, Los Angeles, CA
Casey...Shame on you, if you are true fan of the "Dan", then you would know the "Fez" is about using a condom, they being very tongue in cheek...Q. to you- What do you think "Everyones Gone To The Movies" is about?
- Steve, Boston, United States
The word "Fez" is used quite cleverly as a euphemism for a condom. "You're never gonna do it without the Fez on" means you're not going to get the girl if you don't use a condom for protection. "I want to be your holy man" is obviously the guy telling the girl he does have a condom, and he wants to go to bed with her.
- Bryan, Atlanta, GA
The fez cap is of Greek origin and was worn by many different religious and ethnic groups in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. That's what he means when he says "I want to be your holy man". Ignore the comment, the guy doesn't have a clue but maybe he'll get one once he goes to clue school.
- Casey, Salisbury, NY
It's actually about safe-sex practices. The fez is a condom.
- Jack, Boston, MA
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