Song Lyric Sunday — The Things You Think

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams is leveraging Paula Light’s suggested topics for songs about gray matter: Mind, Think, or Brain. I happen to be a big Steely Dan fan, so it was a no brainer (get it?) for me to select “Reelin’ in the Years.”

“Reelin’ In the Years” was a song by jazz/rock band Steely Dan, released as the second single from their 1972 album, Can’t Buy a Thrill. It reached number 11 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was written by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, and features Fagen on vocals. This song is one of the most popular Steely Dan songs.

It’s about recalling times with a girlfriend and a romantic breakup. In the song, the lead singer is having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that his long-time girlfriend has found another man, and complains that “you wouldn’t even know a diamond / If you held it in your hand / The things you think are precious / I can’t understand.”

The song is also famous for a memorable guitar solo credited to a guest musician. Elliot Randall. Randall, who was not a member of Steely Dan, stopped by while they were recording this and ended up playing the guitar solo. Randall’s guitar solo earned high praise from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. According to Classic Rock magazine (January 1999), Page has said it is his favorite guitar solo of all time. And in 2016, Randall’s solo was ranked the 40th best guitar solo of all time by the readers of Guitar World magazine.

Here are the lyrics to “Reelin’ in the Years.”

Your everlasting summer 
You can see it fading fast
So you grab a piece of something
That you think is gonna last
But you wouldn't know a diamond
If you held it in your hand
The things you think are precious
I can't understand

Are you reelin' in the years
Stowin' away the time
Are you gatherin' up the tears
Have you had enough of mine

Are you reelin' in the years
Stowin' away the time
Are you gatherin' up the tears
Have you had enough of mine

You been tellin' me you're a genius
Since you were seventeen
In all the time I've known you
I still don't know what you mean
The weekend at the college
Didn't turn out like you planned
The things that pass for knowledge
I can't understand

Are you reelin' in the years
Stowin' away the time
Are you gatherin' up the tears
Have you had enough of mine

Are you reelin' in the years
Stowin' away the time
Are you gatherin' up the tears
Have you had enough of mine

I spend a lot of money
And I spent a lot of time
The trip we made in Hollywood
Is etched upon my mind
After all the things we've done and seen
You find another man
The things you think are useless
I can't understand

Are you reelin' in the years
Stowin' away the time
Are you gatherin' up the tears
Have you had enough of mine

Are you reelin' in the years
Stowin' away the time
Are you gatherin' up the tears
Have you had enough of mine

9 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — The Things You Think

  1. bushboy March 27, 2022 / 3:40 am

    Another all time favourite Fandango. Becker and Fagan wrote great songs 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. newepicauthor March 27, 2022 / 6:39 am

    When she found another man, he became useless. Great song Fandango and getting an endorsement from Jimmy Page never hurts anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gr8BigFun March 27, 2022 / 5:05 pm

    Another winner Fandango. This is a great song. Learned something about the guitar solo too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango March 27, 2022 / 7:07 pm

      It really is a fantastic song, but then again, I’m a long time Steely Dan fan.

      Like

  4. leigha66 April 25, 2022 / 12:53 pm

    I haven’t heard this one in a long time… great song!

    Liked by 1 person

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