What does Kid Charlemagne mean?

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Steely Dan: Kid Charlemagne Meaning


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Song Released: 1976

Kid Charlemagne Lyrics

While the music played you worked by candlelight
Those San Francisco nights
You were the best in town
Just by chance you crossed the diamond with the pearl
You turned it on the world
That's when you turned the world around
Did you feel...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Sep 3rd 2009 report

    It's about Owsley Stanley(The Bear). Owsley made the best LSD around in the sixties. He fed the Acid Tests. This was no ordinary dealer. He recreated what the government was making at the time. He was a very smart man who gave his talents to this specific mind expanding drug. He was eventually busted and left behind by many who once used his product, including the Grateful Dead.

  2. anonymous
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    Feb 9th 2020 report

    Fantastic tune. The LSD link is correct.The guitar solo by Larry Carlton was ranked #3 favorite of All time by Rolling Stone!

  3. anonymous
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    Oct 3rd 2015 report

    Owsley the Acid Maker

  4. anonymous
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    Nov 27th 2013 report

    I thought it was about Krn Krsey and his band of merry pranksters as portrayed in Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. But Owsley could more specifically be it?

  5. jab3785
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    May 9th 2010 report

    I'm usually not very good at interpreting the Dan's song, but Kid Charlemagne is obviously about Owsley. In the 60's he was well known for producing the purest acid around. When he produced a new batch he would often distribute free samples. He also was instrumental in designing the Dead's sound system, although some his experiments in this area did not work out so well.

  6. jlm819
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    Sep 19th 2008 report

    It's about Timothy Leary.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. ollie510
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    Aug 21st 2007 report

    I believe this song is about Ken Kesey, specifically. "Everyone else's was laced with kerosene but yours was kitchen clean." "Just by chance you crossed the diamond with the pearl (LSD)" Ken Kesey certainly did act like a modern day Jesus.

  8. anonymous
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    Jul 7th 2006 report

    I see this song about the rise and fall of a California drug dealer. At first he's not only everyone's best friend, but he's a pinoneer, a "rainmaker", a wunderkind, he's a god.
    As with all things, when the market gets hip to your game (music, technology, stocks, etc.), it (the market) inevitably will consume you.

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