Can You Complete the Lyrics to These Grateful Dead Songs?

John Miller

Image: Chris Stone

About This Quiz

In 1965, as the Sixties era raged throughout the United States, a new rock band emerged from Palo Alto, California. With its extensive tours and powers of improvisation, the Grateful Dead quickly became a popular act, drawing hardcore “Deadhead” fans who loaded up their VW camper vans and followed the group for months, years, and even decades. In this patchouli-scented quiz, if we give you some of the words to these famous Grateful Dead songs, can you complete the lyrics?

The Dead were a strange breed, even for the oddball era in which they rose to fame. The band gathered influences from all over the musical world and then integrated them into sprawling songs that sometimes lasted for half an hour during live shows. Not all of those tunes were Billboard hits. But from “Casey Jones” to “Truckin’,” to “Around and Around,” these songs were major triumphs during momentous concerts. Do you think you know your Dead lyrics well enough to complete this entire quiz?.

“So come on baby, squeeze me tight / Don't you want your daddy to be all right? I said baby, now it's for sure, I've got the _____, you got the cure.” Think you know the answer to that blank word? Is it A) fever B) money or C) syphilis … or is it a trick question with no correct answer? The right word, of course, is “fever,” and those lyrics are from a popular song called “Good Lovin’.”

Dig that old tie-dye bandana and join the ghost of Jerry Garcia in this tough lyrics quiz! Are you a true Deadhead, or should you just go back to your old BeeGees albums?

"I set out running but I take my time / A friend of the ____ is a friend of mine."

In "Friend of the Devil," the Dead cast the characters of one of their best-known songs. "I set out running but I take my time / A friend of the devil is a friend of mine."

"Come hear _______by the riverside / Got some things to talk about, here beside the rising tide."

On 1970's "Workingman’s Dead," we're treated to "Uncle's John's Band," one of the group's iconic tunes. "Come hear Uncle John's band by the riverside / Got some things to talk about, here beside the rising tide."

"It must be getting early, clocks are ______."

On "Touch of Grey," the first two lines are, "It must be getting early, clocks are running late / Paint-by-number morning sky looks so phony."

"Driving that train, high on cocaine. ______ you better watch your speed."

It's a precautionary tale for anyone, really, and "Casey Jones" is easily one of the group's most memorable songs. "Driving that train, high on cocaine, Casey Jones you better watch your speed. Trouble ahead, trouble behind. And you know that notion just crossed my mind."

"She wore ______ tucked into her curls / I knew right away she was not like other girls."

"She wore scarlet begonias tucked into her curls / I knew right away she was not like other girls." "Scarlet Begonias" is a mid-tempo song that often transformed into a very long live jam.

"Last fair deal in the country / Last fair deal in the ____."

In "Loser," we hear the tale of a deadbeat gambler who always fritters his money away. "Last fair deal in the country / Last fair deal in the town."

"California, preaching on the _____."

On "Estimated Prophet," the Dead sing, "don't worry about me, no." Later, the lyrics go, "California, preaching on the burning shore / California, I'll be knocking on the golden door."

"Saint Stephen with a _____ / In and out of the garden he goes."

"St. Stephen" is a famous song from 1969's "Aoxomoxoa." "Saint Stephen with a rose / In and out of the garden he goes." Later, he gets stoned to death, and this is where you insert the hippie joke of your choice.

"_____, I'm a goin' home. Whoa whoa baby, back where I belong."

It's all about life on the road, something the Dead knew a bit about. "Truckin' I'm a goin' home. Whoa whoa baby, back where I belong."

"Almost ablaze still you don't feel the heat / It takes all you got just to stay on the ______."

On 1978's "Shakedown Street," the Dead unleashed, "Fire on the Mountain," which became a major live hit. "Almost ablaze still you don't feel the heat / It takes all you got just to stay on the beat."

"I fall in love just a little / Oh, little bit every day with _____."

"Drums" was one of Dead's best live songs. "I fall in love just a little / Oh, little bit every day with someone new."

"____ from Wichita / Cut his buddy down / Dug for him a shallow grave / And laid his body down."

In "Jack Straw," two outlaws are running from the cops … but only one of them will make it. "Jack Straw from Wichita / Cut his buddy down / Dug for him a shallow grave / And laid his body down."

"But I'll still sing you love songs, written in the letter of your name / The rain is gonna come, oh it surely looks like ____."

Love goes bad in "Looks Like Rain," a Bob Weir songs with lyrics by John Perry Barlow. "But I'll still sing you love songs, written in the letter of your name / The rain is gonna come, oh it surely looks like rain."

"I have seen where the ____ has slept by the silver stream."

In "Cassidy," the Dead sing, "I have seen where the wolf has slept by the silver stream." And later, "Close the gap of the dark years in between / You and me, Cassidy."

"Gotta get down to the _____ mine / That's where I mainly spend my time."

On "Cumblerland Blues," the guys sing about the tough, impoverished life of labor in the mines. "Gotta get down to the Cumberland mine / That's where I mainly spend my time."

"Crazy ____ peekin' through a lace bandanna / Like a one-eyed cheshire, like a diamond-eye jack."

It's about as psychedelic as Dead songs get. "China Cat Sunflower," they often played it to start their second sets. "Crazy cat peekin' through a lace bandanna / Like a one-eyed cheshire, like a diamond-eye jack."

"I had to move / Really had to move / That's why if you please / I am on my bended knees / _____ don't you come around here anymore."

"Bertha" is chockful of organ … perhaps as a funereal nod to a broken relationship. "I had to move / Really had to move / That's why if you please / I am on my bended knees / Bertha don't you come around here anymore."

"Sun going up and then the sun going down / Shine through my window and my _____ they come around."

The Dead sang about death … a lot. "Sun going up and then the sun going down / Shine through my window and my friends they come around."

"Wake up to find out that you are the _____ of the world."

In "Eyes of the World," we find hear, "Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world," and that you need to "wake up." The song is from '73's, "Wake of the Flood."

"Now I'm payin' for those happy hours I spent there in her arms / With a lifetime's worth of the _____, yeah."

It's a love affair gone wrong in "Mexicali Blues." "Now I'm payin' for those happy hours I spent there in her arms / With a lifetime's worth of the Mexicali Blues, yeah."

"As the full moon pales and climbs / Am I living truth or rank deceiver? Am I the ____ or the crime?"

Perhaps rehab is in order for the character in "Victim or the Crime." "As the full moon pales and climbs / Am I living truth or rank deceiver? Am I the victim or the crime?"

"Stella Blue / I've stayed in every blue-light cheap _____."

Broken dreams and sadness dominate the lyrics, another song that was in heavy rotation during live Dead shows. "Stella Blue / I've stayed in every blue-light cheap hotel."

"_____ in still water."

Those waters will be still no more. "Ripple in still water," is one of the most memorable lines from "Ripple," which appears on "American Beauty.

"But I can tell your future / Well, just look what's in your hand / But I can't stop for nothing / I'm just playing in the _____."

"But I can tell your future / Well, just look what's in your hand / But I can't stop for nothing / I'm just playing in the band." The Dead tuned their guitars for "Playing in the Band" more than 700 times for live shows.

"If you're down in Memphis, you best stop down Minglewood / When I take a walk down there, all the _____ sure look good."

"If you're down in Memphis, you best stop down Minglewood / When I take a walk down there, all the women sure look good." "New Minglewood Blues," has few lyrics, but it ends by emphasizing, "We all need each other, well you know it's true."

"I told _____ I was feeling lost."

It's a Shakespearean reference of the hippiest kind. "I told Althea I was feeling lost / Lacking in some direction." And later, "I told Althea, I'm a roving sign / That I was born to be a bachelor…"

"I'll tell you where the four winds dwell / In Franklin's _____ there hangs a bell."

"I'll tell you where the four winds dwell / In Franklin's tower there hangs a bell." Jerry Garcia's guitar work on "Franklin's Tower" stands as a testament to his deft musicianship.

"______ crashes, pouring its light into ashes / Reason tatters, the forces tear loose from the axis."

At some shows, "Dark Star" went on for half an hour … or even longer. "Dark star crashes, pouring its light into ashes / Reason tatters, the forces tear loose from the axis."

"Me and my _____ went ridin' down / To South Colorado, west Texas bound."

"Me and my uncle went ridin' down / To South Colorado, west Texas bound." A lot of Dead songs are about roaming and adventure, and "Me and My Uncle," is the story of a journey gone wrong.

"I know you, ____, gonna miss me when I'm gone / Gonna miss your baby, from rolling in your arms."

"I know you, rider, gonna miss me when I'm gone / Gonna miss your baby, from rolling in your arms." "I Know You Rider" was another strong live song, one that was played at hundreds of concerts over the years.

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