Grateful Dead is a band that I’ve learned to love over the years, it has been a struggle. The reason for that is the not very good album collaboration with Bob Dylan (Dylan and The Dead, 1987). I bought it on casette and tried so hard to like it, but in my young and inexperienced ears this was all over the place and without energy. I like the album better now, but it is not among my favorite Dylan albums.
More important, it was unfair to judge Grateful Dead because of that record. I love American Beauty and I love Workingman’s Dead, and I think there are a lot of great live recordings of the band. With Bob Dylan and without Bob Dylan.
I think they are very skilful Dylan interpreters and they have even released an album with Bob Dylan’s songs.
Here are my top 10 Grateful Dead playing Bob Dylan:
Grateful Dead – Maggie’s Farm (19-09-1987)
Grateful Dead performs a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” for Farm Aid III live via satellite from Madison Square Garden. Introduction by Dick Clark.
Grateful dead – Knockin’ on Heaven’s door (07-07-1989)
FK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA
Grateful Dead – All Along The Watchtower (09-30-1989)
Grateful Dead – Visions Of Johanna (03-19-1986)
Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA:
Grateful Dead – Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (07-08-1990)
Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pa
Grateful Dead – Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (07-07-1989)
JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, PA
Grateful Dead – It’s All Over Now Baby Blue (12/28/83 – San Francisco):
Grateful Dead-Desolation Row (03-24-1990)
Albany, New York
Grateful Dead – Queen Jane Approximately (09-19-1988)
Grateful Dead – When I Paint My Masterpiece (07-26-1987)
Love the Madonne T-Shirt!
9 thoughts on “10 Favorite Bob Dylan cover versions by Grateful Dead”
Thanks for the hard work, Hallgeir. This was really a treat to watch The Grateful Dead performing Bob’s songs on a Sunday morn. I always loved when they collaborated, and I still think the Dylan & The Dead album was underrated. I wasn’t much of a Dead fan till that album. I think Bobby Weir & Jerry do just fine in interpreting Dylan tunes. Loved the feedback from Brian and Kevin, too. Cheers.
Oh, it is more fun than hard work, but thanks for the kind words
I wasn’t inferring “better” than Dylan; I wasn’t trying to broach a debate on Jerry vs. Bob. That would be ridiculous. I’ve just always had a problem with Weir’s delivery, often on his own songs as well, where he forgoes melody in favor of shouting out the words. I suppose is OK if wants to do that with his own songs — the worst of which are pretty tuneless — but I don’t like it when he does it with Dylan songs. That said, the top 10 should be all songs sung by Jerry, whether that be Grateful Dead or JGB, where Garcia really indulged his love of Dylan on the stage. His “Simple Twist of Fate” was always a standout, to name one tune.
I also like Garcia better than Weir, and I guess I was stating the obvious about Dylan covers being inferior to the original. Jerry Garcia sang some of Dylan’s song, but quite a few of those were not with Grateful Dead. Another thing is that I like Bob Weir better than you do (on Bob Dylan songs anyway), and I think his rendition should be presented.
Thanks for the feedback, always appreciated
As a singer, Bob Weir is one of the all-time worst Dylan interpreters. He simply does not have the capacity to grasp the subtleties and nuances required to sing a song like “Queen Jane Approximately,” for example. On the other hand, Jerry, always renders excellent interpretations of Dylan lyrics, always singing with feeling and heart.
I do agree with you, in the sense that no one besides Dylan himself “has the capacity to grasp the subtleties and nuances” of Dylan’s songs and singing.
That said, this is about finding good renditions of Dylan songs, not better, that can not be done…IMHO 🙂
Thanks for your comment
Considering all their concerts are available in Sound Board quality and for many years they sometimes did a least 2 Dylan covers each concert…it would take a life time to plough through and choose…saying that, apart from PFTH
that is about as good as it gets.
So true, and I did quite a bit of digging but I had to stop at one point.
Thanks for your comment
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