I’ve put together a list of all the songs the Grateful Dead covered. Here you will find the most complete list available, along with notes on the Dead’s sources and the songs’ earlier histories. The list is divided into several sections: the main cover songs; songs only played with guests; songs played with Dylan; songs played in soundchecks, rehearsals, or studio jams; and the instrumentals and “tunings” the Dead frequently played; along with a few mysteries, unknown songs, and lost songs.
Dr. Beechwood has provided a chart and spreadsheets of the songs to download – without his work I would probably never have attempted this list.
This list would not have been possible without the indispensable sites of Alex Allan and Matt Schofield. The research here was done by them and many others before them, so this is very much a collective project.
I’ve made a few corrections here and there, and even a few small discoveries. The main difference with this list is that I wanted to put as much information as I could about the Dead’s cover songs onto one page, for easy access. Sites that give each song its own page have the advantage of being able to write at length about each song, whereas the song histories here are very condensed; so I recommend checking them for more complete info.
The internet abounds with song histories – almost every song mentioned here, you can find on youtube; and many even have their own wikipedia page, or other webpages and blog posts devoted to them. It is much easier to research song sources today than it has ever been before.
One very useful site for tracking cover versions and their originals is here:
Folk songs have an especially long and tangled history – one good place to look them up is here:
And another place to look up lyrics and origins is this forum:
This is another useful site that gathers recording histories for many folk and blues songs:
Another place to look into a few of the Dead’s sources is this site (last updated twenty years ago):
Those are just a few of the resources available, so this list has benefited immensely from all the song information available online.
In general I didn’t provide links to Dead shows or the original songs, since hundreds of links would have been overwhelming. You can look up the Dead’s versions easily enough on deadlists.com; and there is one helpful new compilation of most of their cover song debuts (but not all):
(formerly at https://www.scribd.com/doc/305962208/Dead-Covers)
It can be sorted by song, by artist, by original date or Dead dates, or by times played, which makes it a little more useful than a plain-text list.
(I know there are a few mistakes in the spreadsheet, due to constant revisions. As I update the text of this post, the spreadsheet will become a little out-of-date in spots.)
Some explanations of the list:
Songs played only once from 1966 onwards are included. This includes shows that may be considered only quasi-Dead, like 10/30/68 or 11/17/78.
Standalone instrumentals are included – there weren’t many. The Dead did instrumental jam versions of other songs, of course, but I’ve grouped those separately, considering them to be more quotes than covers.
Songs played only with guests, or not in live shows, have a separate list below. The numerous “tunings” also get their own section.
Songs are listed by their original titles. (Sometimes they go by different names in Dead setlists, so I provided a list of alternate titles below.)
I decided to list the performer, rather than the composer (so, for example, you’ll find Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, but not Willie Dixon who wrote their songs). Partly this is because the names are more familiar, and it makes it easier to look up their recordings. Also this is because so many songs on the list are folk and blues, which (as you’ll read) almost never have a single ‘composer,’ instead many people adding to the songs over time. In fact, many composer credits for the folk, blues, R&B, and early rock songs here are complete make-believe. So I’ll focus on the performers.
Not all of these will be familiar after all – frequently the best-known version of a song was a later cover version, while the original remains obscure. In some cases I give dual attribution, when two artists have equal claim on a song (at least in public recognition), and go into more detail in the notes.
Though I usually listed the first artist to release a song, often the Dead wouldn’t have heard that version, only later covers. (Many of these songs have extensive pre-histories.) So you’ll find details in the notes about which artists the Dead heard the songs from.
Usually we know which records the Dead heard, but in some cases (particularly the folk songs done by many performers), it’s still unknown which versions the Dead used – some songs were learned in person, not from records. There’s a section on some of these uncertainties below.
I generally tried to order songs by the year they were released, rather than when they were recorded (which could be a year or two earlier in some cases). Sometimes other people would cover a song before it had been released by the original artist (learning it from a demo or performance), making the “first version” a tricky question.
The traditional songs are the most complicated. Folk songs often circulated for decades (or in a couple cases here for over a century) before being recorded, with lyrics changing and evolving over time; so for the “earliest version,” I chose the first printed or recorded version that’s close to the Dead’s.
For the earliest folk songs, the date used here is the date of printing, not the first recorded date or the (unknown) date the song originated. For instance, the first entry you see is ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot,’ which was printed in 1873 but not recorded until 1909. That’s also why you see a few 1917 entries – the year Cecil Sharp’s book English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians
was published. (A couple later entries are from printed song collections as well.) I decided to do this because for many songs (like ‘I Know You Rider,’ or the 1917 selections) I couldn’t find any known recordings until the ‘50s; nor is it possible to tell just how old the songs are; so I went with the first versions printed in the US. (Some folk songs effectively disappeared between being printed in the early 20th
century and resurrected in the ‘50s folk boom.)
Many blues songs as well were frequently changed or rewritten by successive artists, and often include floating verses that passed from song to song interchangeably, so that there’s no single composer and it’s debatable which song version is the “first.” A couple examples are ‘Sittin’ on Top of the World,’ originally written in 1930, and ‘It Hurts Me Too,’ originally from 1940, but both based on older melodies (in fact, they’re the same melody) – in each case the Dead covered versions with new verses written in 1957. I decided with much hesitation to list the later dates when the familiar verses were written, but of course the original songs are much older. So some dates can be placed earlier – on the other hand, if you were to list the recordings the Dead actually heard and used, a lot of the early 20th-century dates would be shifted to the ‘50s and ‘60s. (A list of examples follows the notes.)
So the dates on the list are full of inconsistencies and compromises. (Ideally the blues songs could be listed under a date range, for instance “written 1930-1957” – but the ‘traditional’ songs go back beyond our knowledge.) In general I picked the first song version that included the lyrics the Dead sang, but brief song histories are included in the notes so you can find and compare earlier versions.
Since many of the older songs were composed decades before appearing in print or recordings, the true chronological order of the “traditional” songs on the list is unknown. Given that, what were actually the oldest songs the Dead sang?
The two ballads from the British isles, ‘Peggy-O’ and ‘Jack-a-Roe,’ are easily the oldest, going back in their original forms to the early 1800s or even earlier. (They were considerably shortened after they reached America, though.) ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ follows in the mid-1800s – as a spiritual song, it was dignified enough to be printed early on, whereas few American collectors bothered printing non-religious “folk” songs until the early 20th century. Crime ballads like ‘Little Sadie’ and ‘Tom Dooley’ probably originated in the late 1800s; a few sentimental popular songs were also printed around the 1880s that, over the course of decades, may have changed into more familiar songs like ‘Goodnight Irene’ and ‘We Bid You Goodnight’.
Blues verses started coming into being around the turn of the century, so many primordial versions of blues songs may date back to that time. Unfortunately, the blues originated in darkness and obscurity, since the music was considered beneath notice, no whites at the time would bother recording it, and only a few song collectors printed any lyrics. (Appalachian music was also generally ignored until the 1910s, and not recorded until the ‘20s.) As a result, when the record companies finally discovered that blacks, ‘hillbillies,’ and other poor people actually bought records, they produced an apparent flood of “new” songs from the mid-‘20s onwards. It’s generally impossible to tell just how far back many of the songs go – but given how much songs could change even in the recording era, with different performers singing different verses, altering tunes, or patching different songs together as they pleased, I doubt that many songs had a “fixed” form much earlier than the first recordings.
The list starts with 1966. Covers played only in 1965 are not included here (except for the ones still being played in ‘66). Many of the songs brought back later had first been played that year (or by Mother McCree’s in 1964), which I’ll mention in the notes; but the Warlocks’ repertoire is discussed in a separate post:
For our purposes here, post-‘65 revivals (like ‘Satisfaction’ or ‘Little Red Rooster’ or ‘Gloria’ or ‘The Last Time’) will be counted in their revival years. But all the songs that snuck onto setlists or tapes in 1966 will be listed in 1966, even if they were dropped for years thereafter.
The year the Dead first covered a tune can be tricky sometimes. For instance, on 6/10/73 they played ‘That’s All Right Mama’ and ‘It Takes A Lot To Laugh’ with the Allmans, which would normally count as “guest covers;” the Dead didn’t play That’s All Right again til 1986 (and then just once), or the Dylan song until 1991. ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ is another example of a song played once in a 1978 quasi-Dead acoustic set, but not heard in a regular Dead show til 1987. ‘La Bamba’ entered the setlists in 1987, but the Dead had played a snatch of it back in 1970 and an instrumental rehearsal in 1966, neither complete. So I’m afraid the dates I chose may be inconsistent.
There is also a column listing the difference in years between the original song date and when the Dead covered it.
Here I only focus on when the Dead first played a song, without getting into its performance history, since that’s been covered elsewhere.
For more discussion of the complicated revival histories of Dead songs, see:
# OF TIMES PLAYED
Song counts are taken from deadlists. Prior to 1971, these often don’t match the number of performances actually on tape, but I made no attempt to correct these for mistakes or updated data, because the precise count for these covers can never be known. All the counts for songs introduced pre-1971 are totally inaccurate since we are missing hundreds of shows, so these numbers should be taken to indicate only in general how often a song was played.
Some of these songs had parallel lives in Garcia’s solo repertoire – but Garcia’s other bands are not noted here, except for a couple instances when a song was played in his pre-Dead bluegrass bands. Suffice to say, over thirty songs here were also done by Garcia’s sidebands at some point, often long before (or after) the Dead played them. (Garcia’s solo repertoire is a large topic in itself!)
It’s worth mentioning that Garcia played most of his folk and bluegrass repertoire outside of the Dead, with other acoustic bands. Most of the folk songs he knew were kept out of the Dead except for a few token examples. Perhaps he didn’t consider the Dead a good outlet for that kind of music (as opposed to, say, blues songs). Another possibility is that space for covers was limited in the Dead’s sets – Weir and Pigpen, too, only sang some of the songs they knew. Some songs were played hundreds of times, but many more quickly vanished or were rarely attempted. The band may have rejected songs over the years (and the decreasing amount of rehearsal time probably played a part too), but I think gradually the possible range of cover songs was narrowed down to a few ‘standards,’ favoring group arrangements, particular types of songs, and songs familiar to the audience.
The Dead played 190 cover songs, plus about 110 more covers with guests (including 20 songs only played in rehearsals with Dylan), along with a score of taped soundcheck songs (and probably many more not taped), a number of instrumental themes, and a few studio jams, not to mention about a dozen “lost” songs that we know of from unrecorded shows. The number of songs necessarily grows less specific when we get into the instrumentals, jams, and brief tuning noodles. At some point the line grows hazy as to when the Dead are actually “covering” a tune, and a few mysteries are listed below.
I made a few lists sorting the 190 covers the Dead played onstage. (These don’t include the guests, lost songs, soundchecks, rehearsals, studio jams, instrumental themes, or tunings.)
COVERS BY NUMBERS – LIST A
This is a list of the number of covers added each year.
It doesn’t reflect the covers re-introduced after a hiatus, only the first time played (the “lost” 1965 repertoire excepted).
YEAR – COVERS ADDED
1965-66 – 50+
1967 – 2
1968 – 2
1969 – 17
1970 – 27
1971 – 9
1972 – 5
1973 – 3
1974 – 1
1975 – 0
1976 – 1
1977 – 3
1978 – 6 (but 4 of them were only done in the 11/17/78 acoustic show)
1979 – 2
1980 – 3
1981 – 4
1982 – 1
1983 – 3
1984 – 6
1985 – 6
1986 – 4
1987 – 12
1988 – 5
1989 – 1
1990 – 4
1991 – 2
1992 – 3
1993 – 3
1994 – 2
1995 – 3
1965-66 of course had the most covers introduced into the Dead’s repertoire as the band defined themselves, with many of the songs only played briefly. The vast majority of these in 1966 were old folk and blues covers, with a few newer R&B numbers, and most of them were dropped by ‘67. As the Dead became more of an original improvisational band with new material in 1967-68, they introduced only a few new covers in those two years.
1969 saw a renewed quest for different material, though, and here the Dead started to lean towards country songs, along with a few additional R&B tunes (as well as reviving a number of their older covers). The Dead expanded into acoustic sets in 1970, leading to a massive intake of folk, country, and acoustic blues songs. But most of the songs the Dead picked up in this 1969-70 renaissance wouldn’t continue into the ‘70s, as they settled on just a few standards.
Shifting to a more mainstream rock format, the Dead’s new covers in 1971-72 tended to be electric country or ‘50s rock songs. “Oldies” rock nostalgia and the Bakersfield-country influence had been present in the Dead’s sets since ’69, but started to become more prevalent in the early ‘70s.
After 1973 we see a natural falling-off in new covers, as the Dead left the road and went on hiatus; but even when they returned in 1976, they brought only one new cover song with them (and a new arrangement for ‘Dancing’). The relatively few covers they introduced in the general period of 1973-77 are mixed in type, but come from their favored genres of folk, country, blues, and R&B.
1978 saw the Dead covering a new, contemporary song for the first time since 1970 – this was always rare for them after the mid-‘60s. It also saw an acoustic show with several songs that weren’t part of their repertoire, but came from the same old folk/blues sources they’d drawn from in 1970, illustrating a kind of “hidden” Dead repertoire that we might have heard more of if they’d played more acoustic shows. (Oddly, their official acoustic shows in 1980 had only one new cover song, a far cry from the song flood of 1970.)
From 1979 into the early ‘80s, we see a new trend: the re-introduction of electric Chicago blues into the Dead’s sets (mostly dormant since Pigpen’s day), and the nostalgic revival of a few ‘60s classic-rock songs. By 1984-85 this became a little flood of blues and ‘60s rock covers, as the Dead started to focus more on revisiting songs from the ‘60s rather than writing new material. Beatles songs, absent from the Dead’s shows before (except for one ’69 cover), started to appear more often. 1985-87 also saw a large influx of old ‘50s/60s rock and R&B songs, and in particular of Bob Dylan’s songs. (This Dylan element started in ’85, but touring with him in ‘87 added quite a few more songs.)
In 1988-89, the introduction of covers slowed to a trickle, now that the Dead were playing more new original songs again. 1990 onwards saw them adding a few more covers each year, but most of the Dead’s ‘90s covers can be summed up simply: more of the ‘60s. Beatles songs became increasingly common, as the Dead’s “classic rock” covers trend continued. There were a couple exceptions of the Dead reaching back into older blues, or newer rock songs, but the variety of earlier years had subsided into a rut of nostalgia.
COVERS BY NUMBERS – LIST B
This is a list of the years the original songs were first recorded.
It doesn’t take into account the later ‘50s/‘60s recordings that the Dead learned many pre-war songs from, a couple dozen songs in all (see the notes below).
YEAR – # OF SONGS
Pre-war – 36
1940s – 7
1952 – 2
1953 – 2
1954 – 2
1955 – 2
1956 – 5
1957 – 15
1958 – 9
1959 – 10
1960 – 10
1961 – 13
1962 – 2
1963 – 3
1964 – 12
1965 – 19
1966 – 10
1967 – 7
1968 – 7
1969 – 3
1970 – 3
Post-1970 – 11
The specific dating of the mostly traditional pre-WWII songs on the list is somewhat misleading since it’s mostly based on first recordings, so it doesn’t reflect either the actual composition date, or the dates of many of the Dead’s source records for these songs, which were much more recent. But grouped all together, it’s easy to see that a large part of the Dead’s cover repertoire (almost a quarter) came from traditional prewar folk & blues songs.
The Dead didn’t draw anything from the war years, but found a number of acoustic blues and country songs in the postwar era of the late ‘40s/early ‘50s. (And like most other rock bands, they completely ignored the mainstream “pop” songs of the ‘40s & ‘50s that they’d grown up on.)
In the mid-‘50s, particularly 1956, we start to see a larger number of electric blues and early rock songs that the Dead covered. This turns into a tidal wave of blues, rock, R&B and country songs in 1957 (the year Garcia got his first guitar), and this trend continues from 1958-61. Many of these are songs the Dead listened to on the radio in their teenage years, and their influence is clear – the Dead covered some 60 songs recorded in 1956-61 (and the number is higher if you include prewar songs they heard on ‘50s records), a third of their cover repertoire.
There’s a big dip in songs covered from 1962-63, apparently years of little interest to the Dead (Garcia was immersed in the folk & bluegrass scene at that time), but in 1964 we again see a large number of rock and R&B songs covered by the Dead. This is the period with the most immediate influence on the early Dead – from 1964-65, the Dead picked up about 30 more songs to cover. They would also do many songs from the later ‘60s as well, but by ’66 onwards we see a shift: the R&B covers mostly disappear, along with the “current” hits the Dead covered in their first year. Instead there’s a flood of Dylan and Beatles songs (mostly covered many years later), along with some country and the occasional rock tune that grabbed the Dead’s fancy.
The Dead covered very little music from after 1970. Other than a few songs they liked, they stopped covering any contemporary songs after the ‘60s (unless you count guest appearances) – they picked about a half-dozen non-Dylan songs from the ‘70s, and aside from Hornsby’s songs only one from the ‘80s. So while their original songs adapted to new styles over the decades, their choice of covers remained grounded in the music of their youth.
COVERS BY GENRE – LIST C
The Dead covered:
6 gospel songs,
13 traditional folk songs,
19 pre-war blues songs (including 7 jug-band songs),
22 post-war blues songs (including 5 solo-Pigpen blues songs by Hooker & Hopkins),
29 R&B songs (of which several shade into early rock),
13 early rock songs (pre-1965),
37 later rock songs,
23 country songs,
8 soul & Motown songs,
4 folk songs of the ‘60s,
5 songs which I’ll brush into the overall category of “Caribbean” (including calypso, reggae, and New Orleans funk),
3 instrumentals (which could be counted as R&B),
3 ‘pop’ songs of the ‘50s/60s (which could be counted as rock or country),
3 songs from various other genres (showtune, folk parody & Egyptian), and –
2 Jesse Fuller songs (uncategorizable, but could be counted as ‘60s folk).
Many songs could go into more than one category, so the numbers can be shifted around - for instance some R&B songs could be considered blues, others early rock, or others early soul - but this gives a good idea of the Dead’s favored genres.
Naturally, from their jug-band days they drew about seven songs from the Memphis Jug Band and Cannon’s Jug Stompers. Otherwise they learned pre-war songs from a wide variety of records old and new, as well as traditional songs still being played in the folk scene. The Dead’s strong preference was for blues over other types of old songs, and most of their pre-war covers were from the blues tradition, outnumbering the folk ballads. (Their gospel tunes generally came from either ‘blues-gospel’ or ‘bluegrass-gospel’ sources, instead of gospel records per se.)
From postwar blues, they took three songs each from Jimmy Reed and Muddy Waters, but Howlin’ Wolf was the strong favorite with six songs covered. (Pigpen was also a Lightnin’ Hopkins devotee, doing four of his songs, but mostly played them by himself.) Aside from these, they had an extensive collection of blues and R&B songs, the biggest genres covered, and where they felt most at home.
(For more discussion of the songs the Dead took from the black-music tradition overall, see the first chapter of David Malvini’s book Grateful Dead and the Art of Rock Improvisation.)
More on the “pop” side, the Dead also had a particular fondness for vocal groups like the Coasters and the Olympics, and (in a different genre) the Everly Brothers. This rubbed off on the Dead’s own work, as they sang a lot of harmonies – sometimes adding harmonies to their covers where only one singer had done the original. (On the other hand, it’s not often mentioned that the Dead played hardly any songs by female artists – there were a few, but sometimes even when a woman had written the song, the Dead knew only a man’s cover version. So the Dead’s cover repertoire was almost entirely masculine.)
Chuck Berry dominates their early rock covers with five songs; and they also covered three of the Rolling Stones’ originals (after 1965, that is) – and the New Riders also played a couple more Stones & Berry songs in 1970-71 Dead shows. Otherwise, aside from a couple Buddy Holly songs, the Dead didn’t play that much early rock & roll, and expressed little interest in it. (Garcia said in ‘67: “I don’t listen to that much rock and roll. I listen to almost everything but rock and roll.”) Their later rock covers are predominantly by the Beatles (11 songs) and Bob Dylan (14 songs) – I realize it’s arguable to call all the Dylan songs “rock,” but it’s notable that the Dead stayed away from Dylan’s actual “folk” period, drawing songs only from his electric albums. They also mostly stayed away from songs by other current rock bands, with only a few exceptions.
The Dead borrowed very little from the “new” folk music of the ‘60s, just a few songs – they turned more often to soul records and Motown for songs to cover. In country music, they got songs from a wide range of performers – George Jones was the favorite with three songs, followed by Merle Haggard and Porter Wagoner. Though the Dead nodded to bluegrass with a couple tunes associated with Bill Monroe or the Stanley Brothers, it was a minor element in their repertoire; and while they did some “classic” country, their covers were as often taken from recent hits on the country charts.
In early interviews, Garcia emphasized that most of the songs the Dead covered were traditional public-domain folk and blues material. He outlined a few of the sources for Mother McCree’s jugband in 1964
: “Jugband music is a sort of early blues-band music that was recorded during the '20s and '30s… That is one of our major areas of material, one of our sources. Another is early dixieland, you know, New Orleans jazz. We get some 1920s, 1930s popular music, and…a certain amount of more recent blues, from within the last 10 or 15 years, that includes some very recent, within the last 3 or 4 years, rhythm & blues songs.”
Once the band went electric, the Dixieland jazz and ‘20s/30s pop elements were discarded, but the Dead remained focused on the other types of material they’d been playing. Garcia said in November ’66
, “We have material that comes from all different kinds of areas… We do a lot of blues, but we also do a lot of traditional jug band music, and early blues, which is not the same as more recent blues, Chicago blues and stuff like that.”
Another difference with McCree’s was that the Dead were no longer trying to copy the original songs, but were rearranging them: “We don’t try and make it stylistically the way it originally was…What we do is attach our style to a particular song, and the style varies from song to song… The way we use songs at any rate, is mostly a matter of just taking the words and sort of the feeling of it, and then we sort of take liberties with it, because we don’t feel like we’re surrounded by traditional barriers that we have to follow.”
Garcia told Ralph Gleason in ’67 that the Dead had “four or five idioms that we work in – our music is more or less idiomatic – and we do material for the way it is… Our arrangements differ from song to song… Our ideas come from everywhere, and we have no bones about mixing our idioms or throwing stuff back and forth from one [style] to another.” (GD Reader p.22)
On TV that year
, Garcia also explained, “We're clever thieves, steal from a lot of places, and rearrange… Old blues - new blues - jugband music. We've been getting into stealing classical licks, and jazz - anything we can hear! …We're not trying to recreate anything… [We change songs around] freely. Like I say, any one song could have lots of stuff in it from lots of different sources, but it always comes out nothing like the original, and also nothing like anything else.”
The Dead’s practices differed over time – from the start they’d do some songs ‘straight’ (particularly blues), and give new rock arrangements to other folk & blues songs, reinventing some of them as Dead songs. But through the years, they grew more conservative in their covers and tended to play more songs the traditional way. 1976 was perhaps the last year when they did radical rearrangements of older songs (covers or their own originals), with a few later exceptions. In the ‘80s-90s, they took more of a bar-band approach to playing more or less faithful covers of increasing numbers of Chicago blues and classic rock songs.
THE COVER SONGS
In rough chronological order by song. (Dead song lists are typically alphabetical, but I thought ordering the covers by date would add a new perspective.)
Sometimes more than one Dead “debut” is given, if the earlier version is with a guest, or from a lost show or studio session, etc.
The numbers by the song titles refer to the endnotes below (which are alphabetical).
SONG – ORIGINAL ARTIST/YEAR – DEAD DEBUT
SWING LOW SWEET CHARIOT (101) – Fisk Jubilee Singers 1873 – 6/4/70
KC MOAN (56) – Traditional 1911 – 11/17/78
PEGGY-O / FENNARIO (84) – Traditional 1917 – 12/10/73
JACK-A-ROE (52) – Traditional 1917 – 5/13/77
IN THE PINES (47) – Traditional 1917 – 7/17/66
COLD RAIN AND SNOW (14) – Traditional 1917 – 3/25/66
GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD (27) – Traditional/Henry Whitter 1923 – 10/10/70
DEATH LETTER BLUES (17) – Traditional/Ida Cox 1924 – 10/30/68
C.C. RIDER (13) – Traditional/Ma Rainey 1925 – 12/1/79
BETTY AND DUPREE (8) – Traditional 1926 – (3/66) 12/1/66
SEE THAT MY GRAVE IS KEPT CLEAN / ONE KIND FAVOR (92) – Traditional/Blind Lemon Jefferson 1927 – (3/66) 7/29/66
NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE (75.1) – Traditional/Blind Willie Johnson 1927 – 7/3/66
SAMSON AND DELILAH / IF I HAD MY WAY (89) – Traditional 1927 – 6/3/76
ON THE ROAD AGAIN (81) – Memphis Jug Band 1928 – (1/7/66) “3/12/66”
OVERSEAS STOMP / LINDBERGH HOP (aka Lindy) (82) – Memphis Jug Band 1928 – 11/29/66
STEALIN' (99) – Memphis Jug Band 1928 – “3/12/66”
VIOLA LEE BLUES (108) – Traditional/Cannon's Jug Stompers 1928 – 1/66
BIG RAILROAD BLUES (10) – Traditional/Cannon's Jug Stompers 1928 – x/66 (9/7/69) 6/24/70
DON’T EASE ME IN (20) – Traditional/Henry Thomas 1928 – 7/16/66
CASEY JONES (aka Ballad of Casey Jones) (12) – Traditional/Mississippi John Hurt 1928 – 5/15/70
TELL IT TO ME (aka Cocaine Blues) (102) – Traditional/Grant Brothers 1928 – 7/12/70
MACK THE KNIFE (64) – Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weill 1928 – 11/30/81
HOW LONG BLUES (39) – Traditional/Frank Stokes 1929 – 7/12/70
TOM DOOLEY (104) – Traditional/Grayson & Whitter 1929 – 11/17/78
ROLLIN AND TUMBLIN' (87) – Traditional/Hambone Willie Newbern 1929 – 6/15/95
NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES (74) – Traditional/Noah Lewis Jug Band 1930 – 5/19/66
LITTLE SADIE (61) – Traditional/Clarence Ashley 1930 – 12/19/69
DEEP ELEM BLUES (18) – Traditional/Shelton Brothers 1933 – 12/1/66
GOODNIGHT IRENE (32) – Traditional/Leadbelly 1933 – 12/31/83
I KNOW YOU RIDER (43) – Traditional 1934 – (11/3/65) 1/66
AND WE BID YOU GOODNIGHT (4) – Traditional 1935 – 3/16/68
MAN SMART (WOMAN SMARTER) (66) – King Radio (Norman Span) 1936 – 7/2/81
WALKIN’ BLUES (109) – Son House/Robert Johnson 1936 – (4/8/67, 5/28/82) 6/16/85
GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOL GIRL (30) – Sonny Boy Williamson 1937 – 4/66
MATILDA, MATILDA (67) – King Radio (Norman Span) 1938 – 7/20/94
WININ’ BOY BLUES (115) – Jelly Roll Morton 1939 – (8/21/71) 11/17/78
I'VE BEEN ALL AROUND THIS WORLD (45) – Traditional 1946 – 12/19/69
KATIE MAE – Lightnin' Hopkins 1946 – 1/31/70
THAT’S ALL RIGHT MAMA (103) – Arthur Crudup 1946 – (6/10/73) 4/18/86
THE FROZEN LOGGER (22) – Earl Robinson 1947 – 5/7/70
GATHERING FLOWERS FOR THE MASTER’S BOUQUET (23) – Maddox Brothers & Rose 1948 – 12/26/69
BRING ME MY SHOTGUN – Lightnin' Hopkins 1948 – 4/18/70
ROSA LEE MCFALL (88) – Charlie Monroe 1949 – 7/11/70
YOU WIN AGAIN – Hank Williams 1952 – 11/14/71
KANSAS CITY (55) – Little Willie Littlefield 1952 – 10/28/85
MYSTERY TRAIN – Junior Parker 1953 – 11/8/70
IKO IKO (46) – Sugar Boy & the Cane Cutters 1953 – 5/15/77
I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU (41) – Muddy Waters 1954 – 11/29/66
A VOICE FROM ON HIGH (aka I Hear A Voice Calling) (2) – Bill Monroe/Stanley Brothers 1954 – 5/15/70
SEASONS OF MY HEART – George Jones 1955 – 8/2/69
MY BABE (73) – Little Walter 1955 – 11/8/70
WHO DO YOU LOVE (113) – Bo Diddley 1956 – (3/66)
SILVER THREADS AND GOLDEN NEEDLES (95) – Wanda Jackson 1956 – 5/19/66
SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING (97) – Howlin' Wolf 1956 – 11/19/66
DRINK UP AND GO HOME – Freddie Hart 1956 – 8/5/70
FEVER – Little Willie John 1956 – 9/13/87
SICK AND TIRED (94) – Chris Kenner 1957 – x/66, 5/19/66
GANGSTER OF LOVE – Johnny Guitar Watson 1957 – 7/3/66
I'M A KING BEE (44) – Slim Harpo 1957 – 1/8/66
SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD (96) – Mississippi Sheiks & others 1957 – 5/19/66
IT HURTS ME TOO (48) – Tampa Red/Elmore James 1957 – 5/19/66
NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME – Junior Parker 1957 – “3/12/66”
NOT FADE AWAY (76) – Buddy Holly 1957 – (2/66) 2/19/69
OH BOY (78) – Buddy Holly 1957 – (1/13/66?) 4/6/71
SEARCHIN' (91) – The Coasters 1957 – 8/29/69
WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE – Everly Brothers 1957 – 2/13/70
BIG RIVER – Johnny Cash 1957 – 12/31/71
ROCKIN’ PNEUMONIA AND THE BOOGIE WOOGIE FLU – Huey Smith 1957 – 5/23/72
HEY BO DIDDLEY (35) – Bo Diddley 1957 – 5/23/72
GOT MY MOJO WORKING (33) – Ann Cole/Muddy Waters 1957 – 4/22/77
LOUIE LOUIE (63) – Richard Berry & the Pharaohs 1957 – (5/18/67, 9/7/69) 4/5/88
I KNOW IT’S A SIN (aka It's A Sin) (42) – Jimmy Reed 1958 – (2/66) 5/19/66
DARK HOLLOW (15) – Traditional/Bill Browning 1958 – 2/14/70
AROUND AND AROUND (5) – Chuck Berry 1958 – 11/8/70
RUN RUDOLPH RUN – Chuck Berry 1958 – 12/4/71
JOHNNY B. GOODE (53) – Chuck Berry 1958 –  (9/7/69) 1/22/71
OH BABE, IT AIN’T NO LIE (77) – Elizabeth Cotton 1958 – 9/25/80
WILLIE AND THE HAND JIVE (114) – Johnny Otis 1958 – (2/12/86) 3/23/86
GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY (28) – Little Richard 1958 – 9/9/87
LA BAMBA (58) – Traditional/Ritchie Valens 1958 – (2/66, 11/11/70) 9/7/87
THERE IS SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND – Big Jay McNeely 1959 – 11/29/66
I'M A HOG FOR YOU BABY – The Coasters 1959 – 1/8/66
BIG BOY PETE (9) – Don & Dewey 1959 – 11/29/66
BLACK SNAKE (11) – John Lee Hooker 1959 – 4/18/70
TUPELO BLUES (aka The Mighty Flood) (105) – John Lee Hooker 1959 – 4/18/70
SHE’S MINE – Lightnin' Hopkins 1959 – (4/19/70) 5/15/70
SAWMILL (90) – Mel Tillis 1959 – 1/31/70
EL PASO – Marty Robbins 1959 – 7/11/70
(BABY) HULLY GULLY (0) – The Olympics 1959 – 10/16/81
BABY WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO (6) – Jimmy Reed 1959 – (9/7/69, 12/31/82) 2/18/85
HEY LITTLE ONE – Dorsey Burnette 1960 – “3/12/66”
DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY (16) – Traditional/Rev. Gary Davis 1960 – 1/8/66
BIG BOSS MAN – Jimmy Reed 1960 – (3/66) 7/3/66
NEW ORLEANS (75) – Gary US Bonds 1960 – 8/29/69
SO SAD (TO WATCH GOOD LOVE GO BAD) – Everly Brothers 1960 – 7/11/70
JORDAN (aka Cold Jordan) – Stanley Brothers 1960 – 5/1/70
AIN’T IT CRAZY (The Rub) (3) – Lightnin' Slim/Lightnin' Hopkins 1960 – 4/18/70
LET IT ROCK – Chuck Berry 1960 – 6/23/74
SPOONFUL (98) – Howlin' Wolf 1960 – 10/15/81
I FOUGHT THE LAW (40) – The Crickets 1960 – 3/14/93
HEADS UP – Freddy King 1961 – 3/12/66
HIDE AWAY (37) – Freddy King 1961 – 11/7/71
YOU DON’T LOVE ME (116) – Bo Diddley/Willie Cobbs 1961 – 12/1/66
TURN ON YOUR LOVE LIGHT (106) – Bobby Bland 1961 – 7/23/67
TWIST AND SHOUT (107) – The Top Notes 1961 – 2/12/66
LONG BLACK LIMOUSINE (62) – Vern Stovall 1961 – 12/19/69
OLE SLEW FOOT (aka Slewfoot) (79) – Johnny Horton 1961 – (6/11/69) 6/21/69
BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE (7) – Jesse Fuller 1961 – 4/66
MONKEY AND THE ENGINEER (71) – Jesse Fuller 1961 – 12/19/69
LITTLE RED ROOSTER (60) – Howlin' Wolf 1961 –  8/19/80
WANG DANG DOODLE (111) – Howlin' Wolf 1961 – 8/26/83
I AIN’T SUPERSTITIOUS – Howlin' Wolf 1961 – 10/31/84
DOWN IN THE BOTTOM (21) – Howlin' Wolf 1961 – 11/3/84
MORNING DEW (72) – Bonnie Dobson 1962 – 3/18/67
GREEN ONIONS – Booker T & the MGs 1962 – 6/30/88
PAIN IN MY HEART (83) – Irma Thomas/Otis Redding 1963 – 7/16/66
WALKING THE DOG (110) – Rufus Thomas 1963 – (2/66) 3/21/70
OLD, OLD HOUSE – George Jones 1963 – 6/21/69
EMPTY HEART – Rolling Stones 1964 – x/66
HI-HEEL SNEAKERS (38) – Tommy Tucker 1964 – 11/19/66
THE SAME THING – Muddy Waters 1964 – 11/19/66
DANCING IN THE STREET – Martha & the Vandellas 1964 – 7/3/66
PROMISED LAND (85) – Chuck Berry 1964 – (2/66) 5/29/71
ME AND MY UNCLE (68) – John Phillips 1964 – 11/29/66
THE RACE IS ON (86) – George Jones 1964 – (6/11/69) 12/31/69
IT’S ALL OVER NOW (51) – Bobby Womack & the Valentinos 1964 – 9/6/69
HOW SWEET IT IS (TO BE LOVED BY YOU) – Marvin Gaye 1964 – 3/25/72
GLORIA (26) – Them 1964 –  (1/30/68, 4/16/79) 11/9/79
DEVIL WITH THE BLUE DRESS ON (19) – Shorty Long 1964 – 9/9/87
GOOD TIMES (aka Let The Good Times Roll) (31) – Sam Cooke 1964 – 4/30/88
EARLY MORNING RAIN – Gordon Lightfoot 1965 – (11/3/65) 11/29/66
DON’T MESS UP A GOOD THING – Fontella Bass & Bobby McClure 1965 – 7/3/66
JUST A HAND TO HOLD (aka He Was A Friend Of Mine) (54) – Traditional/Mark Spoelstra 1965 - 7/3/66
IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR – Wilson Pickett 1965 – 1/66
GOOD LOVIN' (29) – Limmie Snell/The Olympics 1965 – 5/19/66
GREEN GRASS OF HOME (34) – Johnny Darrell/Porter Wagoner 1965 – 5/31/69
I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER – Stonewall Jackson 1965 – 12/5/71
(I’M A) ROAD RUNNER – Junior Walker & the All-Stars 1965 – 3/21/86
IT’S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE – Bob Dylan 1965 – (1/7/66) 5/19/66
MAGGIE’S FARM – Bob Dylan 1965 – (7/19/87) 9/19/87
SHE BELONGS TO ME (93) – Bob Dylan 1965 – (1/7/66) 4/4/85
IT TAKES A LOT TO LAUGH, IT TAKES A TRAIN TO CRY (49) – Bob Dylan 1965 – (6/10/73) 5/12/91
JUST LIKE TOM THUMB’S BLUES – Bob Dylan 1965 – 3/27/85
DESOLATION ROW – Bob Dylan 1965 – 3/25/86
BALLAD OF A THIN MAN – Bob Dylan 1965 – (7/4/87) 3/27/88
QUEEN JANE APPROXIMATELY – Bob Dylan 1965 – (7/4/87) 9/8/87
(I CAN’T GET NO) SATISFACTION (1) – Rolling Stones 1965 –  11/26/80
THE LAST TIME (59) – Rolling Stones 1965 –  2/25/90
DAY TRIPPER – The Beatles 1965 – 12/28/84
LET ME IN – Porter Wagoner 1966 – 7/4/69
IT’S A MAN’S, MAN’S, MAN’S WORLD (50) – James Brown 1966 – 4/9/70
ARE YOU LONELY FOR ME BABY – Freddie Scott 1966 – 3/25/72
YOU AIN’T WOMAN ENOUGH (TO TAKE MY MAN) – Loretta Lynn 1966 – 2/15/73
GIMME SOME LOVIN’ (25) – Spencer Davis Group 1966 – 11/2/84
VISIONS OF JOHANNA – Bob Dylan 1966 – 3/19/86
STUCK INSIDE OF MOBILE WITH THE MEMPHIS BLUES AGAIN – Bob Dylan 1966 – (7/4/87) 3/17/88
RAIN – The Beatles 1966 – 12/2/92
TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS – The Beatles 1966 – 5/19/92
I WANT TO TELL YOU – The Beatles 1966 – 7/1/94
LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS – The Beatles 1967 – 3/17/93
I SECOND THAT EMOTION – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 1967 – 4/8/71
STIR IT UP (100) – Bob Marley 1967 – 3/26/88
SING ME BACK HOME – Merle Haggard 1967 – 4/5/71
DEAR MR. FANTASY – Traffic 1967 – 6/14/84
THE MIGHTY QUINN (QUINN THE ESKIMO) (70) – Bob Dylan 1967 – 12/30/85
ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER – Bob Dylan 1967 – 6/20/87
HEY JUDE (36) – The Beatles 1968 – 2/11/69
REVOLUTION – The Beatles 1968 – 10/12/83
WHY DON’T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD – The Beatles 1968 – 6/27/84
BLACKBIRD – The Beatles 1968 – 6/23/88
THE WEIGHT (112) – The Band 1968 – 3/28/90
HARD TO HANDLE – Otis Redding 1968 – 3/15/69
MAMA TRIED (65) – Merle Haggard 1968 – (6/11/69) 6/21/69
ME AND BOBBY MCGEE (68) – Kris Kristofferson 1969 – 11/29/70
GET BACK (24) – The Beatles 1969 – 1/28/87
IT’S ALL TOO MUCH – The Beatles 1969 – 3/18/95
TOMORROW IS FOREVER – Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton 1970 – 9/24/72
KEEP ON GROWING – Derek and the Dominos 1970 – 6/14/85
THAT WOULD BE SOMETHING – Paul McCartney 1970 – 9/25/91
BABA O’RILEY – The Who 1971 – 5/19/92
WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE – Bob Dylan 1971 – 6/13/87
KNOCKIN’ ON HEAVEN’S DOOR (57) – Bob Dylan 1973 – 11/17/78
HEY POCKY A-WAY – The Meters 1974 – 9/9/87
TAKE ME TO THE RIVER – Al Green 1974 – 4/1/95
OLLIN ARRAGEED (80) – Hamza el Din 1978 – 9/14/78
WEREWOLVES OF LONDON – Warren Zevon 1978 – 4/19/78
CALIFORNIA EARTHQUAKE – Rodney Crowell & Seldom Scene 1978 – 10/20/89
BROKEN ARROW – Robbie Robertson 1987 – 2/23/93
VALLEY ROAD – Bruce Hornsby 1988 – 10/22/90
STANDER ON THE MOUNTAIN – Bruce Hornsby 1990 – 10/28/90
Ballad of Casey Jones – see Casey Jones
Cocaine Blues – see Tell It To Me
Cold Jordan – see Jordan
He Was A Friend Of Mine – see Just A Hand To Hold
Hully Gully – see (Baby) Hully Gully
I Hear A Voice Calling – see A Voice From On High
It’s A Sin – see I Know It’s A Sin
Let the Good Times Roll – see Good Times
Lindy – see Oversteas Stomp
The Mighty Flood – see Tupelo Blues
One Kind Favor – see See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
Quinn the Eskimo – see The Mighty Quinn
The Rub – see Ain’t It Crazy
Slewfoot – see Ole Slew Foot
Unless otherwise noted, the Dead got the song from the performers listed above; but alternate sources are mentioned in the notes.
0. (BABY) HULLY GULLY – possibly played by the Warlocks in 1965.
1. (I CAN’T GET NO) SATISFACTION – had been played by the Warlocks in 1965.
2. A VOICE FROM ON HIGH – Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers each recorded this in 1954; the Dead could have used either version.
3. AIN’T IT CRAZY – also played by Mother McCree’s in 1964. The song actually predates 1960, but I couldn’t find the earliest recording; Hopkins based it on Lightnin’ Slim’s 1957 song ‘It’s Mighty Crazy,’ but the rubbing theme goes back to ‘30s blues songs, particularly Sam Theard’s 1934 hit ‘Rubbin’ On The Darned Old Thing (Rub That Thing).’ (One of the blues jams with the harmonica player in the 10/10/68 Hartbeats show is also labeled “The Rub Jam.”)
4. AND WE BID YOU GOOD NIGHT – the Dead got this from Joseph Spence & the Pindar Family’s 1965 release, but that’s actually a late version. Alan Lomax had recorded the song in the Bahamas in 1935. It was earlier an English hymn, ‘Sleep On Beloved,’ which originated as ‘The Christian’s Good Night’ (lyrics by Sarah Doudney 1871/music by Ira Sankey 1884); but when it entered the Bahamas the song was entirely changed except for the lead verse. (Lonnie McIntorsh recorded ‘Sleep On, Mother, Sleep On’ in 1928, showing the song midway between the old hymn and the Bahamian version. I couldn’t find an earlier recording.) Coincidentally, the Incredible String Band’s version was released a few months after the Dead started playing it; but the Dead learned it straight from Jody Stecher’s recording of Spence & the Pindars.
5. AROUND AND AROUND – covered by the Stones in 1964; the Warlocks may have played it in 1965.
6. BABY WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO – also played with Hot Tuna on 9/7/69, and with Etta James on 12/31/82, before the Dead started doing it themselves in 1985.
7. BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE – had been played by Mother McCree’s in 1964.
8. BETTY AND DUPREE – written in the 1920s; first printed by Odum in 1926; first recorded 1930 by various artists as ‘Dupree Blues.’ Frequently performed by blues, R&B, and folk singers; the lyrics often vary, so I don’t know what the Dead’s source was, but Garcia omits the robbery that’s usually the center of the song! Pigpen also sang an alternate version in 1964.
9. BIG BOY PETE – covered by the Olympics in 1960. Was likely played by the Warlocks in 1965. Also played in the 3/26/95 soundcheck.
10. BIG RAILROAD BLUES – played live in 1966; also played 9/7/69; revived in 1970. One of a number of jugband songs that the Dead apparently learned directly from the old records.
11. BLACK SNAKE – only played by Pigpen on 4/18/70. The song comes from a long tradition of “black snake” songs going back to the ‘20s; but it’s from John Lee Hooker’s song, not Lightnin’ Hopkins’ ‘I’m A Crawling Black Snake,’ or for that matter Hooker’s ‘Crawlin’ King Snake’
12. CASEY JONES – there were multiple Casey Jones songs almost as soon as Casey died. The original popular ballad was first published in 1909, first recorded 1910 and covered frequently thereafter. It had the melody later used for ‘Monkey and the Engineer,’ but otherwise the Dead never played it. The Dead got their ballad from Mississippi John Hurt’s version, recorded in 1928 (unissued & lost) and again in 1963. John Hurt’s song has a different melody and lyrics than the popular ballad, and was apparently distinct to the black-music tradition; there’s no earlier recording of it, though Furry Lewis recorded some verses of it in his unique 1928 ‘Kassie Jones,’ and similar verses were printed by Odum in 1911, an older version of the song. Verses are also shared with other railroad songs (like Jimmie Rodgers' 1927 'Ben Dewberry's Final Run' and Charlie Poole's 1930 'Milwaukee Blues'). In the '60s, John Hurt performed yet another unrelated but remarkable Casey Jones song, called 'Talking Casey.'
[As an aside, I believe that Hurt's variant Casey Jones blues ballad probably came from a widespread tradition, but the reason it was all but unrecorded in the '20s was because record producers considered Casey Jones a white ballad and wouldn't release it on "race" records - Hurt's version wasn't released, Lewis' song was retitled "Kassie Jones," and no other black artists at the time recorded any Casey Jones songs, despite their popularity. For a thorough discussion of this and other railroad songs, see Norm Cohen's book Long Steel Rail.]
13. CC RIDER – a traditional blues song first recorded by Ma Rainey in 1925, and extremely common thereafter, so I don’t know what the Dead’s direct source was. A variation was sung as ‘Easy Rider’ by Spencer Davis on 12/10/89
14. COLD RAIN AND SNOW – first printed 1917 as ‘Rain and Snow;’ but never recorded or heard of again until Obray Ramsey’s 1961 recording. (Ken Frankel says
he learned the song directly from Ramsey and taught it to Garcia.) As he sometimes did, Garcia edited the lyric to make it more vague, omitting the murder in the song!
15. DARK HOLLOW – partly traditional; Bill Browning based his 1958 song on the “dark hollow” verse sung in many ‘20s songs, for instance Buell Kazee’s 1927 ‘East Virginia’ or Clarence Ashley’s 1929 ‘Dark Holler Blues.’ A line also came from the Delmore Brothers' 1935 'Blow Your Whistle, Freight Train.'
16. DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY – Davis based his song on traditional gospel verses; an earlier version with similar lyrics was printed in 1926 as ‘Death Come To My House, He Didn’t Stay Long.’ The Dead got it directly from Davis. Also briefly soundchecked on 7/2/95.
17. DEATH LETTER BLUES – only played at the 10/30/68 Hartbeats show. This song came from older traditional blues verses; I think Ida Cox was the first to record it in 1924, but many ‘20s blues songs share similar verses. Son House recorded one variant in 1930 (as ‘My Black Mama’), and re-recorded a well-known version in 1965; Leadbelly also recorded it in 1935; but I don’t think Garcia used either of these as a source, since his lyrics differ.
18. DEEP ELEM BLUES – ‘Deep Elm Blues’ was first recorded by the Lone Star Cowboys (aka the Shelton Brothers) in 1933, but an earlier version with different lyrics, ‘Georgia Black Bottom,’ was recorded by the Georgia Crackers in 1927. Was also played by Garcia in 1962-63; as a widespread country song he could have picked it up from anywhere.
19. DEVIL WITH THE BLUE DRESS ON – the Dead got it from Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels’ 1966 version.
20. DON’T EASE ME IN – Henry Thomas also re-recorded this song as ‘Don’t Leave Me Here’ (and it’s debatable whether he actually ever sang “don’t ease me in,” or the record company couldn’t understand him!). Harvey Hull & Cleve Reed had recorded ‘Don’t You Leave Me Here’ in 1927; but the song is basically the same as ‘Alabama Bound,’ recorded by Papa Charlie Jackson in 1925 and based on much older traditional verses. (There was even an instrumental version recorded by Prince’s Band in 1910.)
21. DOWN IN THE BOTTOM – Buddy Moss recorded a song in 1934 with similar lyrics, ‘Oh Lordy Mama;’ Bumble Bee Slim covered it the next year as ‘Hey Lawdy Mama,’ then redid it with some new lyrics in 1936 as ‘Meet Me in the Bottom;’ Willie Dixon took that song and, with some lyric changes and a new tune, it became ‘Down in the Bottom’ for Howlin’ Wolf in 1961.
22. FROZEN LOGGER – written by James Stevens and first performed by Ivar Haglund for a radio show, this soon became a folk favorite. Weir never sang the whole song.
23. GATHERING FLOWERS FOR THE MASTER’S BOUQUET – this song was also done by the Stanley Brothers and Kitty Wells, but I don’t know the Dead’s source.
24. GET BACK – had also been played in a soundcheck on 10/21/71.
25. GIMME SOME LOVIN’ – the Spencer Davis Group took the riff for this song from Homer Banks’ 1966 ‘(Ain’t That) A Lot of Love.’
26. GLORIA – had been played in 1965, and one lost version may have been played in 1968. The Dead also did this in an April ’79 rehearsal with Brent, as well as two Gloria jams in fall ’79, before singing the song live again on 10/16/81.
27. GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD – first recorded by Henry Whitter in 1923 as ‘Lonesome Road Blues,’ though the floating verses are probably much older. A very widespread song; Garcia said he got it from Delaney Bramlett in 1970, but he must have known other versions of the song earlier.
28. GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY – released first by the Valiants in 1957, however they were covering Little Richard’s earlier recording. In any case the Dead covered Mitch Ryder’s 1966 version as part of ‘Devil with the Blue Dress On.’
29. GOOD LOVIN’ – originally recorded by Limmie Snell (aka ‘Lemme B. Good’) in 1965, then redone with new lyrics by the Olympics, then that version was covered by the Rascals in 1966.
30. GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL – numerous blues musicians did this song, but the Dead got it from Junior Wells’ 1965 version. Also played in the 3/26/95 soundcheck.
31. GOOD TIMES – Garcia added a verse to sing when the Dead covered this.
32. GOODNIGHT IRENE – Gussie Davis originally wrote ‘Irene, Good Night’ in the 1880s, published 1892, but through the “folk process” the song changed considerably by the time Leadbelly sang it, with completely different ‘traditional’ verses and tune; possibly Davis had based his song on an even older folk song. (Deadbase says this was also rehearsed with Bruce Hornsby at Club Front in September ’90.)
33. GOT MY MOJO WORKING – an earlier version with different lyrics was also released by Ann Cole in 1957.
34. GREEN GRASS OF HOME – Darrell recorded first, but Porter Wagoner had the first hit with this in 1965.
35. HEY BO DIDDLEY – Garcia sings lines from ‘Bo Diddley’ (a separate song) along with this chorus. (Also briefly teased in the 11/11/70 NFA jam; and Garcia accidentally starts singing this at the start of the 10/27/91 ‘Mona.’)
36. HEY JUDE – Wilson Pickett also had a hit with this in 1968, but it doesn’t sound like the Dead are covering his version. Notable as the only Beatles song the Dead attempted until ’84. When they started doing it again in ’85, it was as a reprise in ‘Dear Mr Fantasy,’ an idea the Dead probably got from the Al Kooper/Mike Bloomfield live version of the medley in ’68.
37. HIDE AWAY – also played in the 4/2/75 studio rehearsal.
38. HI-HEEL SNEAKERS – also played with guests at a couple shows in August ’69, and in the 3/26/95 soundcheck.
39. HOW LONG BLUES – the versions the Dead did acoustic in 1970, and with Spencer Davis in 1989, are two separate songs with this title. The 1970 acoustic song was Frank Stokes’; the 1989 song was based on Leroy Carr’s (which in turn was based on Ida Cox & Papa Charlie Jackson’s 1925 ‘How Long, Daddy, How Long’). The two songs are related and both probably descend from traditional blues verses. I’m not sure whether the Dead got Stokes’ song from the original recording, but I don’t know anyone else who covered it; all the other covers of ‘How Long Blues’ I know of come from Carr’s song.
40. I FOUGHT THE LAW – the Dead used the Bobby Fuller Four’s 1964 version.
41. I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU – covered by the Stones in 1964; the Dead’s version is also fast-paced, but their arrangement is so different they may be covering someone else, or perhaps rearranged it themselves.
42. I KNOW IT’S A SIN – an instrumental rehearsal was recorded in early ’66. Also played in a Hartbeats show, 10/10/68.
43. I KNOW YOU RIDER – first printed by Alan Lomax as ‘Woman Blue’ in 1934; first recorded in 1960 by Tossi Aaron. (She learned it from Bob Coltman, who got it from Lomax’s book.) It soon became a folk standard, so the Dead could have picked it up from lots of singers. The “I wish I was a headlight” verse comes from the traditional blues song ‘Blues Jumped a Rabbit’ which was being sung in folk circles, though it’s unknown where the Dead heard it.
44. I’M A KING BEE – covered by the Stones in 1964, and played by the Warlocks in 1965.
45. I’VE BEEN ALL AROUND THIS WORLD – the first commercial recording was by Grandpa Jones in 1946, but some verses are heard in earlier ‘20s-‘30s folk songs, and may have been floating around in various songs for decades. (A different version of this song was sung by Justus Begley in 1937.) It’s not known where Garcia got the song from.
46. IKO IKO – originally released by ‘Sugar Boy’ Crawford as ‘Jock-A-Mo,’ the Dixie Cups’ 1964 version became the most well-known.
47. IN THE PINES – first printed 1917; first recorded by Dock Walsh in 1926 and done by many artists, but became best known through ‘40s recordings by Leadbelly and Bill Monroe. Very widespread, so I’m not sure what the Dead’s immediate source would have been. Also played by the Black Mountain Boys in 1964.
48. IT HURTS ME TOO – Tampa Red’s 1940 song was based on earlier blues songs (particularly a group of songs with the same melody line recorded in ’28-31: ‘How Long, How Long,’ ‘You Got To Reap What You Sow,’ ‘Sitting on Top of the World,’ and ‘Things About Coming My Way’). Tampa Red re-recorded it in 1949; but the Dead used Elmore James’version, which had new lyrics and became the standard. James first recorded it in 1957, but his re-recording became a hit in 1965, which is the one the Dead drew on.
49. IT TAKES A LOT TO LAUGH – the Dead performed this in 1973 with the Allmans, but didn’t make it part of their own sets until 1991.
50. IT’S A MAN’S, MAN’S, MAN’S WORLD – also rehearsed in the 2/24/94 soundcheck. Phil & Jerry had praised this song in a 1967 radio show.
51. IT’S ALL OVER NOW – covered by the Stones in 1964, most likely the Dead’s source. Probably played by the Warlocks in 1965; but other than a couple performances in ’69-70, it didn’t enter their sets until 1976.
52. JACK-A-ROE – a version close to the Dead’s was printed in 1917, but many earlier variants were printed under various titles going back to the early 1800s. This English ballad started out much longer and was shortened over time. The earliest recording I know of was by Tom Paley in 1953; it was later done by a number of folk singers including Joan Baez, but it’s hard to say where the Dead got it from.
53. JOHNNY B. GOODE – probably played by the Warlocks in 1965; also played on 9/7/69.
54. JUST A HAND TO HOLD – the Dead used a couple verses of Mark Spoelstra’s song, which was partly based on the earlier traditional song ‘He Was A Friend Of Mine,’ widely done in early-‘60s folk circles. (It was first recorded by Smith Casey in 1939 – derived from the earlier blues song ‘Shorty George’ – released on a Library of Congress folk music album, and revived by Rolf Cahn & Eric von Schmidt in 1961. Different singers often changed the lyrics.) Spoelstra’s song was covered by a couple other people at the time, but has remained so obscure that people have long assumed the Dead were just doing their own variation of ‘He Was A Friend Of Mine.’
55. KANSAS CITY – Originally recorded as ‘K.C. Lovin’’ by Little Willie Littlefield in 1952, it became a hit for Wilbert Harrison and other acts as ‘Kansas City’ in 1959. (The song is by Lieber & Stoller and distinct from Jim Jackson’s 1927 ‘Kansas City Blues,’ which was a huge hit in the ‘20s and may have inspired them.)
56. KC MOAN – the song comes from older, floating traditional verses, shared between blues and country musicians. Weir learned it from the Memphis Jug Band’s well-known 1929 recording, but Jim & Andrew Baxter had recorded it earlier in 1927 as ‘KC Railroad Blues,’ and it had been printed by Odum in 1911 as 'Thought I heard that KC whistle blow' (with more verses). The Dead played this in the 11/17/78 and 9/24/94 acoustic sets – neither billed as “Dead” shows.
57. KNOCKIN’ ON HEAVEN’S DOOR – another 11/17/78 rarity, this didn’t enter the Dead’s regular sets until 1987.
58. LA BAMBA – a Mexican folk song of unknown antiquity, first recorded in 1938 and often covered in the ‘40s-50s; but Ritchie Valens introduced it to rock music. Los Lobos’ cover was a hit when the Dead played this in 1987. The Dead also played an instrumental version in a 1966 rehearsal, and a brief one-minute snippet on 11/11/70, so the date for this could be moved back.
59. THE LAST TIME – also played by the Warlocks in 1965. The Stones based their song on the Staples Singers’ 1954 version of the gospel song ‘This May Be The Last Time.’
60. LITTLE RED ROOSTER – Willie Dixon’s song ‘The Red Rooster’ was partly based on the old ‘rooster’ theme in blues songs (including lines from Charley Patton’s 1929 ‘Banty Rooster Blues,’ Memphis Minnie’s 1936 ‘If You See My Rooster,’ and Margie Day’s 1950 ‘Little Red Rooster’). Covered by the Stones in 1965, and played by the Warlocks that year, but dropped until 1980.
61. LITTLE SADIE – this folk song may date back to the late 1800s, with verses collected in 1922 as ‘Bad Lee Brown;’ a similar early version was recorded by Buddy Baker in 1928 as ‘Penitentiary Blues.’ Clarence Ashley released the song in 1930, but Garcia most likely got the song from Ashley’s 1963 version with Doc Watson.
62. LONG BLACK LIMOUSINE – first recorded by Wynn Stewart in 1958, but his version was not released until much later.
63. LOUIE LOUIE – also played on 5/18/67 (lost), 9/7/69, and teased on 6/7/70.
64. MACK THE KNIFE – only one verse played on 11/30/81, more of a tease than a performance. (Weir says, “We’ll work that up for next time.”) Originally from the Threepenny Opera, 1928, in German; the most common English translation was by Marc Blitzstein, 1954; and among many versions, the most popular was by Bobby Darin, 1959.
65. MAMA TRIED – was also played in the New Riders’ sets in 1970.
66. MAN SMART (WOMAN SMARTER) – first recorded by author Norman Span (as King Radio, with Gerald Clark & his Caribbean Serenaders) in 1936, it became a hit for Harry Belafonte in 1952, most likely the Dead’s source.
67. MATILDA, MATILDA – King Radio recorded this in 1938, but again, the most popular version was done by Harry Belafonte in 1953.
68. ME AND BOBBY MCGEE – first released by Roger Miller in 1969; Kristofferson himself didn’t release it until 1970. The Dead learned it together with Janis Joplin on the Festival Express tour. Also done with the New Riders on 11/6/70, and with Joan Baez in December 1981.
69. ME AND MY UNCLE – first recorded by Judy Collins in 1964, it became a common “folk” song, and the Dead picked it up from Dino Valente or another Bay Area musician. Was also played in the New Riders’ sets in 1970.
70. THE MIGHTY QUINN (QUINN THE ESKIMO) – Dylan first recorded it in 1967, but that wasn’t released til the ‘80s; Manfred Mann released it first in 1968, then Dylan put out a live version in 1970. (The two titles are often reversed; they’re interchangeable.)
71. THE MONKEY AND THE ENGINEER – also played by Mother McCree’s in 1964.
72. MORNING DEW – first done by Bonnie Dobson in 1962, Fred Neil did a more well-known, slightly rewritten version in 1964, and Tim Rose did the most popular version in 1967. Almost all subsequent rock versions follow Tim Rose’s arrangement, but the Dead based theirs on Fred Neil. Garcia added the ending line, “I guess it doesn’t matter anyway.”
73. MY BABE – Willie Dixon based the melody for this on the old gospel song ‘This Train Is Bound For Glory.’ Possibly played by the Warlocks in 1965; was also played in the 5/21/68 Carousel jam.
74. NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES – Cannon’s Jug Stompers had originally recorded a ‘Minglewood Blues’ in 1928, but the Dead based their cover on Noah Lewis’ rewritten ‘New Minglewood Blues’ from 1930, which was in turn based on older ‘floating’ blues verses used in other ‘20s songs.
75. NEW ORLEANS – possibly played by the Warlocks in 1965. Pigpen sang an improv based on this song on 2/12/66 (nothing in common except the drumbeat and “yeah” chorus), perhaps because the Dead couldn’t remember the song.
75.1 NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE – presumed to be a traditional song, but surprisingly I can’t find any recordings or printings before Blind Willie Johnson recorded it in 1927. We know Garcia listened to Johnson, so he probably got this directly from the original.
76. NOT FADE AWAY – the Dead did a demo of this song in 1966, so they probably played it live that year, but then dropped it til 1969. Their main inspiration was the Stones’ 1964 cover.
77. OH BABE IT AIN’T NO LIE – written by Elizabeth Cotten in the early 1900s, but not recorded until 1958. Garcia recorded it in the studio in 1976. (There's a very brief tease of this on 7/21/72.)
78. OH BOY – possibly performed in 1965-66; ‘All of My Love’ is reported on a 1/13/66 setlist. Was also played with Joan Baez in 1981, and in the rehearsals with Bob Dylan in 1987.
79. OLE SLEW FOOT – the title has several variations; it just appears on Dead tapes as ‘Slewfoot.’ First released in 1961, with uncertain composer credits, it quickly became a bluegrass standard, so the Dead might have heard any number of artists do it, but their most likely source was Porter Wagoner’s 1966 single.
80. OLLIN ARAGEED – this was usually done with guest/composer Hamza el Din (in Sept/Oct 1978, and some later appearances), but the Dead also played it without him a couple times, on 11/18 & 11/23/78. (If you discount his appearances, this should perhaps be moved to the instrumental-jams section, but it’s a borderline case – unlike other ‘guest’ songs the Dead played this repeatedly.)
81. ON THE ROAD AGAIN – also played by Mother McCree’s in 1964. The chorus line "I'm a natural born eastman on the road again" was printed by Odum in 1911 (though with different verses), and was also used by Furry Lewis in his 1928 'Kassie Jones.' Garcia softened the lyrics a bit.
82. OVERSEAS STOMP – also played by Mother McCree’s in 1964. (Sometimes titled ‘Lindy.’)
83. PAIN IN MY HEART – Otis Redding’s song was closely based on Irma Thomas’ 1962 ‘Ruler of My Heart;’ he was sued and the writing credit changed. The Dead most likely based their version on the Stones’ 1965 cover.
84. PEGGY-O – originally a Scottish ballad, ‘The Bonnie Lass o’Fyvie,’ first published in broadsides of the 1790s/early 1800s; the first American ‘Pretty Peggy-O’ lyric was printed in 1917, altered from the older ballad. It was apparently an obscure song for most of the last century, first recorded by John Strachan in 1951, but starting in the ‘60s the song became widespread. The Dead’s source could have been any number of folk singers.
85. PROMISED LAND – the Dead did a demo of this in 1966, and likely played it live in 1965-66, but then dropped it til 1971.
86. THE RACE IS ON – Jimmie Gray supposedly recorded this song first in 1963, but I can’t find any evidence that his version was ever actually released. Was also played in the New Riders’ sets in 1970.
87. ROLLIN’ AND TUMBLIN’ – a traditional blues tune, with a melody based on Cannon’s Jug Stompers’ original 1928 ‘Minglewood Blues.’ First recorded 1929 as ‘Roll and Tumble Blues’ with many subsequent versions, but the Dead were probably most familiar with Muddy Waters’ 1950 version.
88. ROSA LEE MCFALL – also played by the Black Mountain Boys in 1964. The New Lost City Ramblers released their cover that year, but Garcia most likely got the song from Monroe’s original (which was released on a 1963 album, Early Bluegrass Music).
89. SAMSON AND DELILAH – Though Blind Willie Johnson’s 1927 version (‘If I Had My Way, I’d Tear the Building Down’) is the best-known early recording, it had been recorded earlier that year by various Reverends (T.E. Weems, T.T. Rose, J.M. Gates), had been printed as ‘Samson Tore the Building Down’ sometime early in the century, and was based on older traditional verses (for instance, some similar Samson verses were used in earlier recordings of the gospel song ‘My Soul Is A Witness for My Lord’). Anyway, the Dead learned the song from Rev. Gary Davis, who recorded it at various times from 1960 onwards.
90. SAWMILL – also played in the New Riders’ sets in 1970.
91. SEARCHIN’ – the Warlocks likely played this in 1965. Also played at the 12/30/80 acoustic soundcheck.
92. SEE THAT MY GRAVE IS KEPT CLEAN – possibly the title phrase originated with Gus Williams’ 1876 ‘See That My Grave’s Kept Green,’ which has the line, “This one little wish I ask of you, see that my grave’s kept green,” but otherwise no resemblance; possibly Williams took the line from an already-current folk song. Blind Lemon Jefferson recorded the first definitive version, and may have put the song together from earlier traditional verses (like “dig my grave with a silver spade”), but all later versions apparently come from his record.
93. SHE BELONGS TO ME – the Dead also played this in 1965-66.
94. SICK AND TIRED – the Dead took it from Fats Domino’s 1958 hit cover.
95. SILVER THREADS AND GOLDEN NEEDLES – this quickly became a country standard, so the Dead could have taken it from any number of versions.
96. SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD – though this was originally written as a blues song by the Mississippi Sheiks in 1930 (Howlin’ Wolf would do a well-known cover), the original verses were different, and the Dead used the faster-paced rewritten country version, as done by Bill Monroe and Carl Perkins in 1957-58. Garcia had also played this song in 1963.
97. SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING – although Howlin’ Wolf recorded his canonical version in 1956, he had recorded an earlier version in 1951 (titled ‘Crying at Daybreak,’ but the same song with some different lyrics and a different guitar line), and the song was older than that, drawing lines from various ‘30s songs by Tommy Johnson, the Mississippi Sheiks, and Charley Patton.
98. SPOONFUL – Willie Dixon wrote the Howlin’ Wolf song, but the theme was an older one used in ‘20s blues songs, for instance Papa Charlie Jackson’s 1925 ‘All I Want Is A Spoonful’ and Charley Patton’s 1929 ‘Spoonful Blues.’
99. STEALIN’ – the chorus lines of the song were “floating” verses that had appeared in earlier ‘20s songs. The Dead learned this song from the original Memphis Jug Band record, and Garcia added a verse. Was also played in the rehearsals with Bob Dylan in 1987 (Dylan had sung it back in 1962).
100. STIR IT UP – Marley first recorded this song in an obscure rock-steady version in 1967; Johnny Nash had a hit with it in 1972, followed by Marley’s classic version in 1973. The Dead only attempted vocals once.
101. SWING LOW SWEET CHARIOT – composed by Wallace Willis in the mid-1800s, and given to the Fisk Jubilee Singers; first published 1873; first recorded 1909. I don’t know what the Dead’s source was, presumably a bluegrass band.
102. TELL IT TO ME – I’m not sure where the Dead picked up this old song, but it may have been from David Grisman, who’d played it with the New Lost City Ramblers. (It’s not the same as the ‘Cocaine Habit Blues’ done by Mother McCree’s in 1964, which was a 1930 Memphis Jug Band song.)
103. THAT’S ALL RIGHT MAMA – Covered by Elvis Presley in 1954; the Dead probably knew both versions. The Dead played it with the Allmans on 6/10/73, but only once by themselves, 13 years later. (Its 1973 placement in the list is arbitrary.) On 4/18/86, for the first verse Jerry sings a combination of ‘Cannonball Blues’ (Carter Family) and ‘My Baby Left Me’ (Arthur Crudup), probably forgetting the lyrics!
103a. THERE IS SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND - first recorded by Big Jay McNeely in 1959, but the version Pigpen covered was Bobby Marchan's 1960 remake, which added the raps in the middle.
104. TOM DOOLEY – only played in the 11/17/78 acoustic show. The song goes back to the 1860s, and was first recorded in 1929. It’s best-known from the Kingston Trio hit, but the Dead would have gotten it from a more traditional source such as the New Lost City Ramblers.
105. TUPELO BLUES – also called ‘The Mighty Flood.’ Only done on 4/18/70; Pigpen also sings a verse from another 1959 John Lee Hooker song, ‘I Rowed A Little Boat,’ based on Bessie Smith’s 1927 song about the flood, ‘Backwater Blues.’
106. TURN ON YOUR LOVE LIGHT – picked up by the Dead after hearing the James Cotton Blues Band play it (Cotton’s version was released in 1967.) The song seems to quote the old gospel song, 'Let Your Light Shine On Me.'
107. TWIST AND SHOUT – better known from the superior covers by the Isley Brothers in 1962 and the Beatles in 1963. The Dead played this once (that we know of) at an Acid Test, and it was also played on 9/7/69.
108. VIOLA LEE BLUES – the song uses traditional blues verses that were also sung in other songs in the ‘20s, such as Kansas Joe McCoy’s 1929 ‘Joliet Bound.’ Note that Cannon’s Jug Stompers recorded two versions – one has the “I mailed a letter, I mailed it in the air” verse, the other has a different last verse. The Dead may have picked it up from Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band (whose version wasn’t released til later in 1966), but likely heard the original as well.
109. WALKIN’ BLUES – Son House originally recorded this in 1930 (but it wasn’t released until 1985). Robert Johnson took the theme, and some verses from various other blues songs, and put them to the music of Son House’s 1930 ‘My Black Mama.’ Muddy Waters later recorded several versions, but in this case the Dead went back to Johnson’s lyrics, while using the Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s 1965 arrangement. Also played with Boz Scaggs & John Cipollina on 5/28/82, three years before Weir sang it. The Dead also played a snippet on TV back in 1967, but it’s unclear whether it was in their repertoire at the time.
110. WALKIN’ THE DOG – covered by the Stones in 1964, and played by the Warlocks in 1965.
111. WANG DANG DOODLE – had also been played at a soundcheck on 10/23/73.
112. THE WEIGHT – the New Riders had played this at Dead shows in 1970-71.
113. WHO DO YOU LOVE – the Dead recorded a demo in 1966, so it’s likely they played it live that year. A verse is sung in the 11/11/70 Not Fade Away jam with Hot Tuna, and Pigpen also briefly sings a verse in a couple 1972 Cautions.
114. WILLIE & THE HAND JIVE – the New Riders had played this at Dead shows in 1971.
115. WININ’ BOY BLUES – one of the 11/17/78 rarities; also done by Hot Tuna. Weir also sings this in the 8/21/71 session.
116. YOU DON’T LOVE ME – based on Bo Diddley’s 1955 ‘She’s Fine, She’s Mine.’ The Dead got this from Junior Wells’ 1965 album “Hoodoo Man Blues.”
UNKNOWN BLUES INSTRUMENTAL, 3/12/66 – I think it’s just a generic blues jam, but it could be a specific tune. (It’s been labeled the “Stormy Monday jam,” but I doubt that.) It’s about the same as the “blues jam with Jorma & Jack” at an unknown ’66 show.
UNKNOWN INSTRUMENTAL, 3/25/66 – This could be an original, but it’s possible some obscure R&B instrumental has slipped by Dead listeners all these years.
UNKNOWN BLUES SONG, 4/9/67 – Just a snippet; Garcia sings the repeated lyric “I’ll buy you everything,” which is all that survives. (This is a line in ‘Betty and Dupree,’ but the song sounds completely different.) Misidentified as ‘Yonders Wall’ in the past.
I left some of Pigpen’s songs out of the main list:
I’M A LOVIN’ MAN – written by Clancy Carlile and recorded in 1969; one witness says the Dead played it at a Family Dog show that year. As far as I know, nobody else recorded it. The Dead also recorded an instrumental version of Buck Owens’ 1964 song ‘I DON’T CARE (JUST AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME),’ which was called “Buckeye’s Theme” when it circulated on tape, but doesn’t appear to be available online.
ROBERTA, 4/18/70 – long thought to be the Leadbelly song, it turned out to be an unknown Lightnin’ Hopkins-style song, possibly improvised by Pigpen. I think Pigpen made up this song from ‘floating’ traditional lyrics, but it’s possible there’s a direct source that hasn’t been found.
I’M A MAN/MANNISH BOY – done by both Bo Diddley & Muddy Waters in 1955 (Pigpen sings briefly in Lovelight, 12/15/71)
STILL A FOOL (aka TWO TRAINS RUNNING) – Muddy Waters 1951 (Pigpen sings briefly in Lovelight, 2/27/70 & 12/15/71)
[“Walk Down the Street” – this was a title on the old setlist for 4/18/70, but it was a mistake for ‘Bring Me My Shotgun,’ which has the lyric “Walk down on the street.”]
[“Come Back Baby” – a mislabel for Tastebud, 5/19/66.]
THE DEAD’S SOURCES
In many cases, the Dead learned prewar songs from records made many years later. Here’s a list showing the difference in dates:
Original Song / Dead Source
Casey Jones - 1928 / 1963
Cold Rain & Snow - 1917 / 1961
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl - 1937 / 1965
I Know You Rider - 1934 / 1960s
Little Sadie – 1930 / 1963
Man Smart (Woman Smarter) - 1936 / 1952
Matilda Matilda - 1938 / 1953
Rollin' & Tumblin' - 1929 / 1950
Samson & Delilah - 1927 / 1960
We Bid You Goodnight - 1935 / 1965
(There are also a number of ‘50s/‘60s songs that the Dead took not from the original recordings, but from covers done a few years later; but this doesn’t make a significant difference.)
In other cases, we don’t know where the Dead learned older traditional songs from, but it was most likely from recent records or other folk performers – some songs were so widespread it’s impossible to name a specific source:
Betty & Dupree
Death Letter Blues (not from Son House)
Deep Elem Blues
Goin' Down the Road (Garcia sings different verses than Delaney Bramlett did)
I've Been All Around This World
In The Pines
See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Tell It To Me
Winin' Boy Blues
There were other early blues and jugband songs that the Dead learned from the original records, or at least reissues of them. (It’s unclear how many of these, if any, were actually taken from covers by other current jug bands like Jim Kweskin’s or the Even Dozen.)
Big Railroad Blues
Don't Ease Me In
How Long Blues (probably)
New Minglewood Blues
Nobody's Fault But Mine
On the Road Again
Viola Lee Blues
NOT THE SAME SONG
Many blues and traditional songs share the same titles, so sometimes researchers in the past have mistaken other songs recorded in the ‘20s or ‘30s as being predecessors to the Dead’s songs. Here’s a (partial) list of misleading song titles.
‘Casey Jones’ – numerous covers of this ballad were recorded in the ‘10s/‘20s, but John Hurt’s song is unique.
‘Diamond Ring Blues,’ by Walter Taylor 1930 – not ‘Betty and Dupree.’
‘Deep Elm Blues,’ by Ida May Mack 1928 & Texas Bill Day 1929 – different song.
‘Down in the Bottom,’ by Augustus Haggerty 1934 & Gabriel Brown 1943 – different songs.
‘If You Don’t Believe I Love You, Look What A Fool I’ve Been,’ by Clarence Williams 1921/Leona Williams 1922/Essie Whitman 1922 – not ‘Stealin,’ but a line commonly used in ‘20s blues songs.
‘Katie May,’ by Guitar Slim 1937 & Arthur Crudup ‘40s – different song.
‘Muddy Water Blues,’ by many artists in the ‘20s/‘30s – not related to ‘I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water’ (but it does have the “I’d rather drink muddy water” verse that the Dead sang in early versions of ‘I Know You Rider’).
‘My Little Sadie,’ by Bill & Cliff Carlisle 1939 – different song. (Deadbase says Charlie Poole also did ‘Little Sadie,’ but he didn’t.)
‘Rain and Snow,’ by Shorty Bob Parker 1938 – different song.
‘Red Rooster Blues,’ by Sonny Scott 1933 – another song in the rooster blues tradition, based on older verses.
‘Same Thing,’ by Arthur Adams 1962 – different song.
‘Same Thing the Cats Fight About,’ by Bo Carter 1930 – different song.
‘Tain’t Nobody’s Fault But Yours,’ by Clara Smith 1925 – not related to ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine.’
‘That’s All Right Baby,’ by Big Bill Broonzy 1939 – not ‘That’s All Right Mama.’ (Deadbase says he did an ‘Alright Mama Blues’ in 1932, but he didn’t.)
‘Walkin’ Blues,’ by Ma Rainey 1923 (and many others) – different song.
COVERS WITH GUESTS
(formerly at https://www.scribd.com/doc/305962207/Dead-Guest-Covers)
This list includes the cover songs that were only played with guests – all chosen by the guests, presumably. (Songs that were otherwise played by the Dead aren’t included.)
The spreadsheet is chronological by date performed, but you can download it and sort it as you like. When a song was played more than once, only the first date is listed.
Songs only done in the rehearsals with Bob Dylan are included in the spreadsheet & graph – I realize this is totally inconsistent, but it’s an interesting group of songs!
I wasn’t as diligent about finding original recording dates or digging up song histories for these songs.
Here is a handy compilation of many of the Dead’s guests:
Alphabetically this time:
ALABAMA BOUND – traditional/Papa Charlie Jackson 1925 (David & the Dorks 12/16/70 rehearsal) [May also have been played at the 3/28/93 soundcheck.]
BAD MOON RISING – Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969 (John Fogerty 11/3/91)
BANANA BOAT SONG (DAY-O) – Traditional, Edric Connor 1952/Harry Belafonte 1956 (Neville Brothers 1987)
BANKS OF THE OHIO – Traditional, first recorded 1927 (Joan Baez 12/31/81)
BARBARA ALLEN – Traditional, first recorded 1922? (Joan Baez 12/12/81)
BLACK QUEEN – Stephen Stills 1970 (Stephen Stills 1969/1983)
BLUE MOON – Hart/Rodgers, first recorded 1935 (Hot Tuna 9/7/69)
BO DIDDLEY – Bo Diddley 1955 (Bo Diddley 3/25/72) [Not ‘Hey Bo Diddley.’]
BORN ON THE BAYOU – Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969 (John Fogerty 11/3/91)
THE BOXER – Simon & Garfunkel 1970 (Joan Baez 12/12/81)
BYE BYE LOVE – Everly Brothers 1957 (Joan Baez 12/81)
CHECKIN’ UP ON MY BABY – Sonny Boy Williamson 1965 (Wayne Ceballos 6/6/69) [The title phrase of this was apparently based on the first Sonny Boy Williamson’s 1944 ‘Check Up On My Baby.’]
CHILDREN OF THE EIGHTIES – Joan Baez (Joan Baez 12/81)
CHINESE BONES – Robyn Hitchcock 1988 (Suzanne Vega 9/24/88)
COME BACK BABY – Walter Davis 1940/Lightnin’ Hopkins 1948 (Hot Tuna 11/11/70)
COWBOY MOVIE – David Crosby 1970 (David & the Dorks 12/16/70)
DARLING COREY – Traditional/first recorded 1927 (Hot Tuna 11/20/70) [Garcia also played this in 1961.]
DO YOU WANNA DANCE – Bobby Freeman 1958 (Neville Brothers 12/31/87)
DROP DOWN MAMA – Traditional/Sleepy John Estes 1935 (David & the Dorks 12/16/70)
EIGHT MILES HIGH – Byrds 1966 (David & the Dorks 12/16/70 rehearsal)
EVERY TIME YOU GO AWAY – Hall & Oates 1980 (Hall & Oates 9/24/88)
FLIBBERTY JIB – Ken Nordine 1957 (Ken Nordine 3/11/93)
FOREVER YOUNG – Bob Dylan 1973 (Neil Young 11/3/91)
GREEN RIVER – Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969 (John Fogerty 11/3/91)
HELP ME RHONDA – Beach Boys 1965 (Beach Boys 4/27/71)
HOW LONG BLUES – Leroy Carr 1928 (Spencer Davis 2/12/89)
I GOT A MIND TO GIVE UP LIVIN’ – BB King 1965 (Boz Scaggs/John Cipollina 5/28/82) [The BB King song was originally titled ‘All Over Again,’ but the Paul Butterfield Blues Band renamed it on their 1966 album East-West.]
I’M A MAN – Bo Diddley 1955 (Bo Diddley 3/25/72)
I’M A MAN – Spencer Davis Group 1967 (Spencer Davis 12/10/89)
I’VE SEEN THEM ALL – Bo Diddley (Bo Diddley 3/25/72)
THE ISLAND – Ken Nordine 1979 (Ken Nordine 3/11/93)
IT’S MY OWN FAULT – BB King 1965 (Unknown, 12/1/66)
JOHN’S OTHER – Hot Tuna 1971 (Hot Tuna 11/11/70)
LADY DI AND I – Joan Baez (Joan Baez 12/81)
LAUGHING – David Crosby (David & the Dorks 12/16/70)
LONG TALL SALLY – Little Richard 1956 (John Fogerty & Huey Lewis 3/12/88)
LOOK ON YONDER WALL – James Clark 1945 (Unknown singer, 12/1/66 & 10/10/68) [Originally named “Get Ready To Meet Your Man,” this was later recorded by many other blues artists. The Dead’s version is perhaps closest to Elmore James’, and not much like Paul Butterfield’s. I think the guest singer, “Marvin,” is the same at both Matrix shows since the singing & playing are so similar.]
LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH – Stephen Stills 1970 (Stephen Stills 4/17/83)
LUCIFER’S EYES – Joan Baez (Joan Baez 12/81)
MARRIOTT USA (aka You Won’t Find Me) – Joan Baez (Joan Baez 12/12/81)
MONA – Bo Diddley 1957 (Bo Diddley 3/25/72 / Gary Duncan & Carlos Santana 10/27/91)
MOTHERLESS CHILDREN – traditional/Blind Willie Johnson 1927 (David & the Dorks 12/16/70)
MOUNTAIN JAM – Allman Brothers 1972 (Allman Brothers 7/28/73)
NEIGHBORHOOD GIRLS – Suzanne Vega 1985 (Suzanne Vega 9/24/88)
NOTHING’S BOY – HP Lovecraft 1968 (Ken Nordine 3/11/93)
ODE FOR BILLY DEAN – Jorma Kaukonen 1972 (Hot Tuna 11/11/70)
OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE – Merle Haggard 1969 (Beach Boys 4/27/71)
PEGGY SUE – Buddy Holly 1957 (Hot Tuna 9/7/69)
POLLUTION – Bo Diddley 1971 (Bo Diddley 3/25/72)
PRISONER OF LOVE (aka Prisoner Blues) – Percy Mayfield/Elvin Bishop 1969 (Elvin Bishop/Hartbeats 10/68)
PROUD MARY – Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969 (John Fogerty 11/3/91)
RIOT ON CELL BLOCK #9 – The Robins 1954 (Beach Boys 4/27/71)
SAY BOSS MAN (aka Eighteen Children) – Bo Diddley 1957 (Bo Diddley 3/25/72)
SGT. PEPPER’S BAND (aka Where Have All The Heroes Gone) – Joan Baez (Joan Baez 12/12/81)
TAKE IT ALL OFF – Bo Diddley 1972 (Bo Diddley 3/25/72)
TELL MAMA – Clarence Carter 1966 (‘Tell Daddy’)/Etta James 1967 (Etta James 12/30-31/82)
THAT’S ALL RIGHT (aka Who’s Loving You Tonight) – Jimmy Rogers 1950 (Elvin Bishop 6/8/69)
THE THINGS I USED TO DO – Guitar Slim 1954 (Elvin Bishop 6/8/69)
TRIAD – David Crosby/Jefferson Airplane 1968 (David & the Dorks 12/16/70)
UNCLE SAM BLUES – Hot Tuna 1970 (Hot Tuna 11/11/70)
THE WALL SONG – David Crosby 1972 (David & the Dorks 12/16/70 – also played in the 8/21/71 session)
WARRIORS OF THE SUN – Joan Baez (Joan Baez 12/12/81)
WHAT’S GOING ON – Marvin Gaye 1971 (Hall & Oates 9/24/88)
YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU SO (aka Wow Wow Hey Hey) – Bo Diddley 1960 (Bo Diddley 3/25/72)
“COWBOY SONG” – probably an improv, but it could be based on a real song. (unknown singer 4/9/70)
“SLOW BLUES” – unidentified Bo Diddley song (Bo Diddley 3/25/72)
“SURF JAM” – kind of a cross between Wipeout (the Surfaris 1963) and Pipeline (the Chantays 1963), but not really either; I don’t think it’s a specific tune unless someone can place the riff. (Hot Tuna 9/7/69) [The 3/26/75 studio rock jam is in a similar style.]
“WAKE ME SHAKE ME” – partly an improv based on the Blues Project’s 1966 song. (unknown singer 3/8/70)
“JAM” – this is a brief minute-long fingerstyle-blues tune played by Jorma Kaukonen on 11/20/70 between songs; the Dead join in. It sounds to me like a specific tune, almost Liz Cotten-ish – I can’t identify it but people familiar with Jorma’s repertoire probably could.
Eighteen Children – see Say Boss Man
Prisoner Blues – see Prisoner of Love
Where Have All The Heroes Gone – see Sgt. Pepper’s Band
Who’s Loving You Tonight – see That’s All Right
Wow Wow Hey Hey – see You Know I Love You So
You Won’t Find Me – see Marriott USA
A note on Elvin Bishop: he played several instrumentals on the 10/8/68 Matrix tape, I believe with members of his own band and not with the Hartbeats. On 10/30/68 he returned and played two instrumentals with the Hartbeats, along with a repeat of ‘Prisoner of Love.’ While I suspect Bishop’s instrumentals are actual songs that were in his repertoire (they sound like specific, rehearsed themes), I made no attempt to identify them.
Note on 9/7/69: I believe this tape has Garcia and Mickey Hart playing with Hot Tuna; I’m not sure if any other Dead members are present. We only have an excerpt from the tape of the full show, so we don’t even know whose show it was. Strictly speaking, it’s not the Dead and should probably be filed as a Garcia guest appearance (like, say, Weir’s appearance with Hot Tuna in the 12/31/70 encore, which includes several of the Dead’s covers and Hot Tuna’s arrangement of ‘Rock Me Baby’). But since it generally circulates as a Dead show, I’ve sided with convention and included it as one. Hopefully more of 9/7/69 will come out someday and we’ll know more about the show.
Note on 7/28/73: Garcia played in several songs with The Band in the 7/28/73 encore – Have You Ever Been Mistreated, Da Di De Day, and Warm & Tender Love – but I don’t think the rest of the Dead are involved, so these songs probably belong on a Garcia list instead, and aren’t included here. (In any case, they never circulated with the Dead’s set.)
For songs done on 8/21/71 with John Cipollina, see the Studio section.
BOB DYLAN 1987
ALL I REALLY WANT TO DO – Dylan 1964 (rehearsal)
BALLAD OF FRANKIE LEE & JUDAS PRIEST – Dylan 1967
BALLAD OF IRA HAYES – Peter La Farge 1962/Johnny Cash 1964 (rehearsal)
BLUES STAY AWAY FROM ME – Delmore Brothers 1949 (rehearsal)
THE BOY IN THE BUBBLE – Paul Simon 1986 (rehearsal)
CHIMES OF FREEDOM – Dylan 1964
DEAD MAN, DEAD MAN – Dylan 1981
DON’T THINK TWICE, IT’S ALRIGHT – Dylan 1962
FOLSOM PRISON BLUES – Johnny Cash 1955 (rehearsal)
THE FRENCH GIRL – Ian & Sylvia 1966 (rehearsal)
GO AHEAD BABY (aka Don’t Keep Me Waiting Too Long) – Luke McDaniel 1956 (rehearsal)
GONNA CHANGE MY WAY OF THINKING – Dylan 1979 (rehearsal)
GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY – Dylan 1979
HEART OF MINE – Dylan 1981
HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED – Dylan 1965
I WANT YOU – Dylan 1966
I’LL BE YOUR BABY TONIGHT – Dylan 1967
I’M FREE – Rolling Stones 1965 (rehearsal)
I’M SO LONESOME I COULD CRY – Hank Williams 1949 (rehearsal)
IF NOT FOR YOU – Dylan 1970 (rehearsal)
IN THE SUMMERTIME – Dylan 1981 (rehearsal)
JOEY – Dylan 1976
JOHN BROWN – Dylan 1962
JOHN HARDY – Traditional; recordings go back to 1924 (rehearsal) (also played by the Black Mountain Boys in 1964)
MAN OF PEACE – Dylan 1983
MR. TAMBOURINE MAN – Dylan 1965
PLEDGING MY TIME – Dylan 1966 (rehearsal)
RAINY DAY WOMEN #12 & 35 – Dylan 1966 (also done 10/17/94)
ROLL IN MY SWEET BABY’S ARMS – Buster Carter & Preston Young 1931 / Monroe Brothers 1937 / Flatt & Scruggs 1951 (rehearsal) (also played by the Wildwood Boys in 1963)
SENOR (TALES OF YANKEE POWER) – Dylan 1978 (rehearsal)
SHELTER FROM THE STORM – Dylan 1975
SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE – Dylan 1975
SLOW TRAIN – Dylan 1979
TANGLED UP IN BLUE – Dylan 1975
THEY KILLED HIM – Kristofferson 1986 (rehearsal)
THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ – Dylan 1964
TOMORROW IS A LONG TIME – Dylan 1962
UNDER YOUR SPELL – Dylan 1986 (rehearsal)
UNION SUNDOWN – Dylan 1983 (rehearsal)
WALKIN’ DOWN THE LINE – Dylan 1962 (rehearsal)
WATCHING THE RIVER FLOW – Dylan 1971
WICKED MESSENGER – Dylan 1967
The date of the soundcheck is listed. Only a few soundchecks were taped that we know of, so this gives us just a glimpse of all the songs that might have been played over the years.
AIN’T THAT PECULIAR – Marvin Gaye 1965 (6/25/93)
BLUE SUEDE SHOES – Carl Perkins 1955 (12/1 + 12/12/73)
A DAY IN THE LIFE – The Beatles 1967 (7/26/94)
HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAN – Muddy Waters 1954 (7/2/95)
LINDA LU – Ray Sharpe 1959 (4/79 Brent rehearsal)
NEIGHBOR NEIGHBOR – Jimmy Hughes 1965 (3/26/95) [had been part of the Garcia/Saunders repertoire in the ‘70s]
[ONE WAY OUT – Sonny Boy Williamson 1961 (3/26/95 – not really played, just a brief suggestion)]
PAPERBACK WRITER – The Beatles 1966 (3/26/95 – a brief tease)
PEANUT BUTTER – The Marathons 1961 (5/18/76) – This tape still isn’t circulating digitally!
RIP IT UP – Little Richard 1956 (12/12/73)
THAT’LL BE THE DAY – Buddy Holly 1957 (8/12/75 – also played on 9/7/69)
THIRTY DAYS – Chuck Berry 1955 (12/12/73)
TOUGH MAMA – Bob Dylan 1974 (5/24/95) [had been part of Garcia’s solo repertoire]
WATCHING THE WHEELS – John Lennon 1980 (3/7/95) [was in the Taper’s Section]
WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN – Percy Sledge 1966 (3/26/95 – a brief joke)
WHISKEY IN THE JAR – traditional Irish song, dating back to the 1700s; first printed 1855; first known recording 1951 (2/93 studio rehearsal & 3/93 soundchecks) [Garcia had played it with David Grisman.]
WORKIN’ MAN BLUES – Merle Haggard 1969 (12/1/73) [Had been played by the New Riders in 1970-71 Dead shows. The Dead also used the arrangement of this song for their cover of ‘Big River.’]
YOUNG BLOOD – The Coasters 1957 (12/30/80, acoustic)
NOT ON TAPE
ASHOKAN FAREWELL - Jay Ungar 1982 (often in 1994, per Garcia) [No tape exists.]
I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE – Gladys Knight & the Pips 1967 (3/23/86) [No tape exists, but listed in Deadbase.]
INTO THE MYSTIC – Van Morrison 1970 (6/24/95) [Rumored, but no tape.]
MEAN WOMAN BLUES – Elvis Presley 1957 (7/2/95) [Rumored, but not on tape.]
RIVER DEEP, MOUNTAIN HIGH – Ike & Tina Turner 1966 (12/31/76) [No tape exists, but listed in Deadbase.] (This song was on the 1975 Keith & Donna album, and had also been praised by Phil in a 1967 radio show.)
START ME UP – Rolling Stones 1981 (9/16/94) [Supposed date, but not on tape or listed anywhere.]
YELLOW BIRD - Norman Luboff Choir 1957, also done by Harry Belafonte as 'Don't Ever Love Me' (6/3/78 soundcheck, per witnesses)
[Note: the 3/26/95 soundcheck is on the Archive as 3/28/95, a date the Dead had off. It’s uncertain which date it was recorded; it’s unusually long for a soundcheck.]
These were only played while jamming around in studio sessions.
BYE BYE BLUES (instrumental) – written 1930/from Doc Watson 1968? (8/21/71 session w/ Cipollina)
“COWBOY SONG” – a short instrumental; the Dead are thinking of cowboy movies, Phil sings a half-remembered snatch of something at the start, and Garcia announces “Along the Navajo Trail” at the end, but it doesn’t sound like the 1945 Roy Rogers tune. Actually it turns out to be "A Cowboy Needs A Horse,"
from a 1956 Disney cartoon short. (2/21/92 studio rehearsal)
GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY (instrumental) – Stan Jones 1948/many ‘surf-rock’ instrumental versions from 1961 on, including the Ramrods, Dick Dale, and the Ventures (8/21/71 session w/ Cipollina)
THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA – written by Jobim/Moraes 1962; US single by Getz/Gilberto 1964 (2/28/75 studio – a loose instrumental jam)
I’M TORE DOWN – Freddy King 1961 (8/21/71 session w/ Cipollina)
JUST KISSED MY BABY – The Meters 1974 (2/28/75 studio – loose instrumental riffing) [Garcia had played it with Merl Saunders.]
TOPSY, PART 1 – Benny Goodman 1938/Cozy Cole 1958 (2/21/92 studio rehearsal)
These are jams played inside other songs or Spaces that quote a familiar tune (or sometimes just a chord progression). Some of these were played many times, some only once - the dates given are not meant to be complete, or to list first times played, just to indicate well-known versions.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS THEME – John Williams 1977 (1/22/78 – Garcia quoted a few times in late ‘77/early ‘78)
DARKNESS, DARKNESS – Youngbloods 1968 (9/19/70, in NFA – played a few times in 1970-71)
DEAR PRUDENCE – Beatles 1968 (12/30/91, in post-Saint jam with Airto Moreira)
FEELIN’ GROOVY – Simon & Garfunkel 1966 (2/13/70, in Dark Star – played from 1969-74)
FOXY LADY – Jimi Hendrix 1966 (4/21/69 – only time played)
GREENSLEEVES - traditional c.1580/John Coltrane 1961 (10/30/68, in Clementine - Phil played Coltrane's bass line in several Clementines and in later jams through 1972)
HANDSOME CABIN BOY – traditional; Ewan MacColl/AW Lloyd 1957 (9/22/87, 9/12/90, 3/17/93, in Space) [Deadbase labels this as Two Soldiers, a very similar tune that Garcia/Grisman also did, but that had a slightly different melody.]
SHENANDOAH – traditional, probably from the early 1800s; first printed as ‘Shanadore’ in 1882; first recorded c.1903 (6/20/92, in Space – quoted several times in 1992)
SO WHAT – Miles Davis 1959 (3/27/88, in Space – only time played)
SOULFUL STRUT – Young/Holt Unlimited 1968 (10/31/71, in Dark Star – played from 1969-71)
[NOTE: This has commonly been identified as TIGHTEN UP (Archie Bell & the Drells 1968), but it also resembles the intro to BEGINNINGS (Chicago 1969).]
STAYIN’ ALIVE – Bee Gees 1977 (4/21/78, in Space – just teased other times in ‘78)
TUBULAR BELLS – Mike Oldfield 1973 (9/13/93, in Space – only time played)
TWILIGHT ZONE THEME – Marius Constant 1960 (3/9/85, in Space with Merl Saunders – only time played)
YOUR MIND HAS LEFT YOUR BODY – Paul Kantner 1973 (10/19/73, in Dark Star – presumed to be the inspiration for the “Mind Left Body Jam,” played from 1972-74)
These are simply short musical quotes within another song, not full-fledged jams. I've only taken note of a few so far. 'Accidental' quotes just a few seconds long aren't included.
FOOTPRINTS - Wayne Shorter 1966 (4/11/72 Other One)
JESU, JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING – Bach 1723 (Garcia often quoted it briefly within jams from ’73-95)
LOVE IS ALL AROUND - The Troggs 1967 (2/8/70 Lovelight) [uncertain attribution]
A LOVE SUPREME - John Coltrane 1965 (6/12/76 Let It Grow)
MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME - Stephen Foster 1853 (6/18/74 BIODTL)
TAKE FIVE - Dave Brubeck Quartet 1959 (possibly a jam quote in 1972-76 - I haven't found a concrete example, but the Dead often play similar lines)
THERE IS A MOUNTAIN – Donovan 1967 (2/14/68 – briefly quoted in Alligators 1967-68)
This is the most complete list of “tunings” available. These are little tunes that would be played in between songs – most of these are very short and inconsequential, and often intentionally played badly. Sometimes it’s just Garcia quickly noodling the tune. Some were played only once, some lots of times. The dates are not at all comprehensive, I just listed some examples that are easy to find.
BEER BARREL POLKA – Czech song composed 1927; first recorded by Will Glahe & his Musette Orchestra 1939 (5/1/77, after Brown-Eyed Women)
CAMPTOWN RACES – written Stephen Foster 1850; first recorded 1911? (5/4/81, before Playing)
COUNTRY GARDENS (aka In An English Country Garden) – Percy Grainger 1918 (7/14/90, during Take A Step Back before Eyes)
DIXIE – Daniel Emmett 1860; first recorded 1895 (11/19/72, after Jack Straw)
FAR ABOVE CAYUGA’S WATERS – Cornell’s alma mater, written c.1870, first recorded by the Cornell University Glee Club 1914 (5/7/80, during Take A Step Back after Jack Straw)
FRENCH SUITE 5 ALLEMANDE – Bach 1725 (12/11/69 after Mama Tried, played by Constanten) [I’m not sure this is the right piece.]
FUNICULI FUNICULA – Luigi Denza 1880 (6/7/77, after Peggy-O)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY – written c.1890s (8/14/71, before Johnny B Goode)
ITSY BITSY SPIDER – traditional, first published 1910 (5/3/87, after Row Jimmy)
LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO – traditional, origin unknown (5/3/87)
JINGLE BELLS – written by James Lord Pierpont 1857; first recorded by the Edison Male Quartette 1898 (12/27/81, after Sugaree)
THE MERRY-GO-ROUND BROKE DOWN (aka Loony Tunes) – written & recorded in 1937, and done by several big bands but more commonly known from the Looney Tunes cartoon version. (9/30/69, after Rider)
MEXICAN HAT DANCE – the Jarabe Tapatio, composed by Jesus Gonzalez Rubio in the early 1800s; recorded by many bands from the 1920s onward. (5/24/72 after Black Peter, 7/26/72 after Cold Rain)
MUSIC! MUSIC! MUSIC! (PUT ANOTHER NICKEL IN) – written by Stephen Weiss & Bernie Baum, and released by Teresa Brewer in 1949; Deadbase calls it "Nickelodeon." (11/19/72, after Rider)
THE SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK – written in the 1890s; first recorded 1895 (3/28/72, before Saturday Night)
SLEIGH RIDE – music written by Leroy Anderson 1948; first recorded by Arthur Fiedler & the Boston Pops Orchestra 1949 (12/12/73 soundcheck – brief Garcia tease) [After that, Keith & Garcia riff on what might be STAY (Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs 1960), but could be something else.]
SPRING SONG – composed by Felix Mendelssohn in the 1840s (Weir would typically play a snatch of this as a tag to another tune, for instance the Merry-Go-Round at the start of 2/19/71)
THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER – music by J.S. Smith 1780, lyrics by F.S. Key 1814 (1/8/66, 11/7/69 – not actually played by the Dead either time)
STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER – written & recorded by John Philip Sousa 1897 (11/19/72, after Box of Rain)
SWEET BETSY FROM PIKE - written & printed by John Stone 1858; shares a melody with the 1853 British tune 'Villikins and His Dinah' and other songs; first recorded 1928 (4/2/75 studio, in tuning after Help>Slipknot - haven't found in a live show yet)
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME – written by Jack Norworth & Albert Von Tilzer 1908, first recorded by Edward Meeker 1908 (9/30/69 & 11/7/69 after other tunings)
TEDDY BEAR’S PICNIC – music by John Walter Brannon 1907, lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy 1932; first recorded by Edison Symphony Orchestra 1908 (5/19/66 before Sittin’, 6/7/70 after Sittin’)
TICO TICO – composed by Zequinha de Abreu 1917, first recorded by the Orquestra Colbaz 1931 (4/2/73, after Brown-Eyed Women; 2/28/75, in track 9)
“VAUDEVILLE CHORUS” – I don’t know the name of this tune, but it was sometimes an end-of-show ditty early on. (11/29/66, mislabeled as Merry-Go-Round; 9/15/67, sung)
YANKEE DOODLE – traditional; first printed 1750s; first recorded 1897 (8/12/87, after Sugaree)
YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS - traditional, first published 1853, first recorded 1927? (10/18/72, before El Paso)
ZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DAH – written by Allie Wrubel & Ray Gilbert 1946 (4/26/72, after You Win Again) [also 11/26/72 after Playing, per Deadbase, but not on circulating copy]
One show where the Dead go wild with these is 11/7/69 – after someone plays Star-Spangled Banner on a slidewhistle, they go through Merry-Go-Round, Spring Song, and Take Me Out to the Ballgame all in a row.
One recently surfaced studio rehearsal from 9/17/69 features the Dead jamming for almost a half-hour on a number of tuning themes, with Garcia on pedal steel: the Merry-Go-Round Broke Down, Merrily We Roll Along (the Merrie Melodies theme), the tag of Spring Song, the Mickey Mouse Club theme, Teddy Bear's Picnic, and a snatch of Take Me Out to the Ballgame, among others:
(They also jam a little cartoon "chase sequence" at the start of track 5, and an extended carousel tune midway through track 5. I don't know whether the Merrie Melodies theme was ever actually played in a show.)
On occasion the Dead would tease a more recent rock number:
26 MILES (SANTA CATALINA) – Four Preps 1958 (9/26/72, before Johnny B Goode)
UP FROM THE SKIES – Jimi Hendrix 1967 (10/30/70, after Cold Rain) [uncertain attribution]
WHITE RABBIT – Jefferson Airplane 1967 (8/15/71, brief tease after Sugaree)
The Dead also did a few TV-show themes:
ADDAMS FAMILY THEME – Victor Mizzy 1964 (9/20/87, before Jack Straw – and frequently in late ‘87)
ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS THEME – ‘Funeral March of a Marionette,’ Charles Gounod 1872/TV show 1955 (10/9/76, before St Stephen)
MICKEY MOUSE CLUB THEME – Jimmie Dodd 1955 (8/1/94, before Picasso Moon)
In 1969-70 there was a little fingerstyle-blues phase:
AIN’T NOBODY’S BUSINESS IF I DO – Anna Meyers & the Original Memphis Five 1922/John Hurt 1928 as ‘Nobody’s Dirty Business’ (12/31/69, after Cumberland) [Correction: I don't think this is the tune they play anymore. Others have identified it as BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY, though that's also uncertain.]
DEEP RIVER BLUES – traditional?/Doc Watson 1964 (10/26/69, first 20 seconds)
STACK O’LEE BLUES – traditional c.1890s; first published 1911; first recorded 1923; John Hurt 1928 (11/8/70, after Friend of the Devil) [Weir says, “Sorry, that one hasn’t passed the hotel-room stage yet. We don’t know all the words.” Oddly, this instrumental fragment was the only time the Dead played a ‘Stack O’Lee’ song onstage before writing their own.]
One tune in this style was also done at the very end of the 9/27/69 tape (after a bit of Take Me Out to the Ballgame), but has not been identified. It’s a nice tune:
Another little unidentified instrumental was played on 4/8/71, coming out of the Merry-Go-Round bit after Loser:
And another unidentified instrumental tune is done at length a couple times in 1969 – in 5/7/69 (very sloppy), and at the start of 10/26/69, while they wait out technical troubles. This could be a Dead original, or a cover that hasn’t been caught:
There are very likely to be other unknown instrumentals I haven’t caught.
A couple other tunes have been named as tuning ditties, but I haven’t been able to find what shows they were played in:
THE ENTERTAINER (Scott Joplin 1902) - briefly teased by Hornsby on 3/6/92, during tuning at the start of the show.
TOCATTA AND FUGUE IN D MINOR (Bach)
Most of these songs come from just a couple shows that we know the setlists for. It’s unlikely that the Dead played any of these regularly – the 6/11/69 show was a special occasion, and probably the only time those songs were played live.
ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM – Everly Brothers 1958 (6/11/69)
‘ALL OF MY LOVE’ – probably Buddy Holly’s Oh Boy (1/13/66)
‘BIG BREASA’ – unknown (Pigpen blues, 4/19/70)
CATHY’S CLOWN – Everly Brothers 1960 (6/11/69 & 4/17/70)
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY – Joe South 1968 (6/11/69)
I’LL GO CRAZY – James Brown 1960 (1/7/66)
I’VE GOT A TIGER BY THE TAIL – Buck Owens 1964 (6/11/69)
I’VE JUST SEEN A FACE – Beatles 1965 (6/11/69)
LET IT BE ME – Everly Brothers 1960 (6/11/69) [Note: This was actually based on a French song from 1955, “Je t’appartiens,” which was done in English by Jill Corey in 1957. But the Dead would have known the Everlys’ version.]
PARCHMAN FARM – either Bukka White 1940, or more likely Mose Allison 1957 (1/7/66)
RAILROADING ON THE GREAT DIVIDE – Carter Family 1952 (6/11/69)
WABASH CANNONBALL – first printed as ‘The Great Rock Island Route’ 1882; rewritten as ‘Wabash Cannonball’ 1904; first recorded in 1929 by Hugh Cross and the Carter Family; most well-known from Roy Acuff’s 1938 cover (6/11/69)
WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN – written by Ada Habershon & Charles Gabriel 1907; first recorded by William McEwan 1912; rewritten & recorded by the Carter Family 1935 (5/10/70, with the Allman Brothers – most likely as an instrumental)
NO DEAD INVOLVEMENT
ANJI (Duane Allman 11/21/70)
GOOD VIBRATIONS (Beach Boys 4/27/71)
I GET AROUND (Beach Boys 4/27/71)
Please Please Please – James Brown 1956 (rumored to be on the 3/26/95 soundcheck, but not played)
Sugar Shack – Jimmy Gilmore & the Fireballs 1963 (supposedly played 12/19/73)
“Your Love At Home” (there’s no such song - supposedly played 1/2/72)
There are bound to be some mistakes and omissions here – please comment if you spot any! I’ll add corrections.