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Grateful Dead – Dark Star – 1968

About The Song

“Dark Star” is a psychedelic rock epic by the Grateful Dead, initially released in 1968. The song is known for its improvisational nature, evolving over the years in various live performances. Here are five facts about “Dark Star”:

  1. Origins and Release: “Dark Star” first appeared on the Grateful Dead’s second studio album, “Anthem of the Sun,” released in 1968. The studio version was relatively concise compared to the extended and exploratory live renditions that would become a hallmark of the song.
  2. Improvisational Nature: “Dark Star” is renowned for its improvisational structure, often serving as a launching pad for extended jam sessions during the Grateful Dead’s live performances. The band would take the song into uncharted territory, exploring different musical ideas and creating a unique experience for each performance.
  3. Lyricism: The lyrics of “Dark Star” are poetic and abstract, written by the band’s lyricist, Robert Hunter. The words evoke cosmic and surreal imagery, contributing to the song’s enigmatic and otherworldly atmosphere.
  4. Live Versions: Some of the most celebrated versions of “Dark Star” were performed live. One notable performance is from the Grateful Dead’s set at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. The song’s structure allowed for a free-flowing and experimental approach, making each live rendition distinct.
  5. Cultural Impact: “Dark Star” is considered a quintessential example of the Grateful Dead’s improvisational prowess and their ability to create a unique musical experience with each performance. The song has had a lasting impact on the jam band genre and remains a symbol of the band’s adventurous spirit.



Dark star crashes, pouring it’s light into ashes
Reason tatters, the forces tear loose from the axis
Searchlight casting for faults in the clouds of delusion

Shall we go, you and I while we can
Through the transitive nightfall of diamonds?

Mirror shatters in formless reflections of matter
Glass hand dissolving in ice petal flowers revolving
Lady in velvet recedes in the nights of good bye

Shall we go, you and I while we can
Through the transitive nightfall of diamonds?