One of Steely Dan’s bleakest and heaviest songs. Contrary to popular belief, the song is not about the Stock Market Crash of 1929. It’s actually about the Fisk/Gould scandal of 1869 where two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk, attempted to corner the gold market … with, some have argued, either the approval or deliberate blind eye of then-president Ulysses S. Grant. Fisk and Gould’s efforts to hoard gold caused stocks to plummet.
The song has one of the darkest opening stanzas of any song in the rock era: “When Black Friday comes / I’ll stand down by the door / And catch the grey men when they dive from the fourteenth floor.” Damn.