Truckin' - The Grateful Dead

Rola: Truckin'
Traducción: Rolando
Intérprete: The Grateful Dead
Compositor: Bob Weir, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Robert Hunter
Disco: American Beauty - The Golden Road (1965 - 1973)
Productor: Grateful Dead, Steve Barncard


"Truckin'" is a song by the Grateful Dead, which first appeared on their 1970 album American Beauty. It was recognized by the United States Library of Congress in 1997 as a national treasure.

Written by band members Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and lyricist Robert Hunter, "Truckin'" molds classic Grateful Dead rhythms and instrumentation with lyrics that use the band's misfortunes on the road as a metaphor for getting through the constant changes in life. Its climactic refrain, "What a long, strange trip it's been," has achieved widespread cultural use in the years since the song's release.

* Key: E
* Time signature: 4/4 (12/8)
* Chords used: E, A, B, Bsus4, G, D, F#, Amaj7

"Truckin'" is associated with the blues and other early 20th century forms of folk music.

"Truckin'" was considered a "catchy shuffle" by the band members. Garcia himself commented that "the early stuff we wrote that we tried to set to music was stiff because it wasn't really meant to be sung ... the result of [lyricist Robert Hunter getting into our touring world], the better he could write ... and the better we could create music around it." The communal, shared-group-experience feel of the song is brought home by the participation of all four of the group's chief songwriters (Garcia, Weir, Lesh, and Hunter), since, in Phil Lesh's words, "we took our experiences on the road and made it poetry," lyrically and musically. He goes on to say that "the last chorus defines the band itself.

The song was taken from the American Beauty album and edited down in length from five to three minutes for release as a single. In addition to being shorter, the single version had some audible differences compared to the album version: it featured sections of lead guitar in places where it's faded down on the album version, and has a strongly processed verse vocal, different vocal track for the "Sometimes the lights…" portion, and is missing the album version's organ part.

The single reached number 64 on January 27, 1971 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart and stayed there for eight weeks. "Truckin'" was the highest-charting pop single the group would have until the surprise top-ten performance of "Touch of Grey" 17 years later.


Duración: 05:18
Año: 1970
Formato: 7"
A la venta: 01/11/1970
Lado B: Ripple
Disquera: Warner Bros.


Jerry Garcia – guitarra y voz
Mickey Hart – percusión
Phil Lesh – bajo, piano y voz
Bill Kreutzmann – batería
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan – armónica y voz
Bob Weir – guitarra y voz
Howard Wales – órgano


Lugar en 'Listas de popularidad'


Versión corta


Truckin' - got my chips cashed in
Keep Truckin - like the doodah man
Together - more or less in line
Just keep Truckin on

Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street
Chicago, New York, Detroit it's all on the same street
Your typical city involved in a typical daydream
Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings

Dallas - got a soft machine
Houston - too close to New Orleans
New York - got the ways and means
but just won't let you be

Most of the cats you meet on the street speak of True Love
Most of the time they're sittin and cryin at home
One of these days they know they gotta get goin
out of the door and down to the street all alone

Truckin - like the doodah man
once told me you got to play your hand
sometime - the cards ain't worth a dime
if you don't lay em down

Sometimes the light's all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it's been

What in the world ever became of sweet Jane?
She lost her sparkle, you know she isn't the same
Living on reds, vitamin C and cocaine
all a friend can say is "ain't it a shame"

Truckin' -- up to Buffalo
Been thinkin - you got to mellow slow
Takes time - you pick a place to go
and just keep Truckin on

Sitting and staring out of a hotel window
Got a tip they're gonna kick the door in again
I'd like to get some sleep before I travel
but if you got a warrant I guess you're gonna come in

Busted - down on Bourbon Street
Set up - like a bowling pin
Knocked down - it gets to wearing thin
They just won't let you be


1. "Box of Rain"
2. "Friend of the Devil"
3. "Sugar Magnolia"
4. "Operator"
5. "Candyman"

1. "Ripple"
2. "Brokedown Palace"
3. "Till the Morning Comes"
4. "Attics of My Life"
5. "Truckin'"

American Beauty is the fifth album by the Grateful Dead. It was recorded between August and September 1970 and originally released in November 1970 by Warner Bros. Records. The album continued the folk rock and country music explored on Workingman's Dead and features the lyrics of Robert Hunter prominently.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 258 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The band began recording American Beauty only a few months after the release of Workingman's Dead. An odd occurrence was that the band recorded the album without their sound crew, which was out on the road as part of the Medicine Ball Caravan tour (which the Dead were originally scheduled to join), and this led to staff engineer Stephen Barncard replacing Bob Matthews as producer -- "a move that irks Matthews to this day." Barncard mused that "I had heard bad stories about engineers' interactions with the Dead ... but what I found were a bunch of hardworking guys."

Both Workingman's Dead and American Beauty were innovative at the time for their fusion of bluegrass, rock and roll, folk music and, especially, country. Compared to Workingman's Dead, American Beauty had even less lead guitar work from Jerry Garcia, who instead filled the void with shimmering pedal steel guitar passages on both albums. It was during the recording of this album that Garcia would first collaborate with mandolinist David Grisman. "I just bumped into Jerry at a baseball game in Fairfax, and he said, 'Hey, you wanna play on this record we're doing?'" commented Grisman. Phil Lesh, in his autobiography, commented "the magnetism of the scene at Wally Heider's recording studio made it a lot easier for me to deal with Dad's loss and my new responsibilities. Some of the best musicians around were hanging there during that period; with Paul Kantner and Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane, the Dead, Santana, Crosby, Nash, and Neil Young working there, the studio became jammer heaven ... Thank the Lord for music; it's a healing force beyond words to describe."

"Truckin'" and "Ripple" were released as a single, and the songs "Box of Rain", "Sugar Magnolia", and "Friend of the Devil" also received radio play. In his book on Garcia, Blair Jackson noted that "if you liked rock'n'roll in 1970, but didn't like the Dead, you were out of luck, because they were inescapable that summer and fall." American Beauty peaked at #30 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart (North America), while the single, "Truckin'", peaked at #64 on the Pop Singles chart and achieved considerable FM rock radio airplay. It is the final album with Mickey Hart until his return to the band four years later in 1975.


The Grateful Dead: San Francisco

The Grateful Dead were an American rock band formed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space roc]—and for live performances of long musical improvisation. "Their music," writes Lenny Kaye, "touches on ground that most other groups don't even know exists." These various influences were distilled into a diverse and psychedelic whole that made the Grateful Dead "the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world." They were ranked 55th in the issue The Greatest Artists of all Time by Rolling Stone magazine.

The fans of the Grateful Dead, some of whom followed the band from concert to concert for years, are known as "Deadheads" and are known for their dedication to the band's music. Many referred to the band simply as "the Dead."

Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia were brought together by Gert Chiarito in 1964 to perform on The Midnight Special, her Saturday night radio program on KPFA, Berkeley.

The Grateful Dead began their career as the Warlocks, a group formed in early 1965 from the remnants of a Palo Alto jug band called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. The band's first show was at Magoo's Pizza in suburban Menlo Park, California on May 5, 1965. They were still known as the Warlocks although the Velvet Underground were also using that name on the east coast. The show was not recorded and not even the set list has been preserved. The band changed its name after finding out that another band of the same name had signed a recording contract (not The Velvet Underground who by then had also changed their name). The first show under the new name Grateful Dead was in San Jose, California on December 4, 1965, at one of Ken Kesey's Acid Tests. Earlier demo tapes have survived, but the first of over 2,000 concerts known to have been recorded by the band's fans was a show at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco on January 8, 1966. Later on that month, the Grateful Dead played at the Trips Festival, an early psychedelic rock show.

The charter members of the Grateful Dead were: banjo and guitar player Jerry Garcia, guitarist Bob Weir, bluesman organist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, the classically trained bassist Phil Lesh and drummer Bill Kreutzmann (who then used the stage name Bill Sommers.) Lesh was the last member to join the Warlocks before they became the Grateful Dead: he replaced Dana Morgan Jr. who had played bass for a few gigs. With the exception of McKernan, the core of the band stayed together for 30 years, until Garcia's death in 1995.

The name "Grateful Dead" was chosen from a dictionary. According to Phil Lesh, in his biography, "...[Jerry Garcia] picked up an old Britannica World Language Dictionary...[and]...In that silvery elf-voice he said to me, 'Hey, man, how about the Grateful Dead?'" The definition there was "the soul of a dead person, or his angel, showing gratitude to someone who, as an act of charity, arranged their burial." According to Alan Trist, director of the Grateful Dead's music publisher company Ice Nine, Garcia found the name in the Funk & Wagnalls Folklore Dictionary, when his finger landed on that phrase while playing a game of "dictionary". In the Garcia biography, Captain Trips, author Sandy Troy states that the band was smoking the psychedelic DMT at the time. The term "grateful dead" appears in folktales of a variety of cultures. In the summer of '69, Phil Lesh told another version of the story to Carol Maw, a young Texan visiting with the band in Marin County who also ended up going on the road with them to the Fillmore East and Woodstock. In this version, Phil said, "Jerry found the name spontaneously when he picked up a dictionary and the pages fell open. The words 'grateful' and 'dead' appeared straight opposite each other across the crack between the pages in unrelated text."

Other supporting personnel who signed on early included Rock Scully, who heard of the band from Kesey and signed on as manager after meeting them at the Big Beat Acid Test; Stewart Brand, "with his side show of taped music and slides of Indian life, a multimedia presentation" at the Big Beat and then, expanded, at the Trips Festival; and Owsley Stanley, the "Acid King" whose LSD supplied the tests and who, in early 1966, became the band's financial backer, renting them a house on the fringes of Watts and buying them sound equipment. "We were living solely off of Owsley's good graces at that time.... [His] trip was he wanted to design equipment for us, and we were going to have to be in sort of a lab situation for him to do it," said Garcia.

One of the group's earliest major performances in 1967 was the Mantra-Rock Dance—a musical event held on January 29, 1967 at the Avalon Ballroom by the San Francisco Hare Krishna temple. The Grateful Dead performed at the event along with the Hare Krishna founder Bhaktivedanta Swami, poet Allen Ginsberg, bands Moby Grape and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, donating proceeds to the Krishna temple. The band's first LP, The Grateful Dead, was released on Warner Brothers in 1967.

Classically trained trumpeter Phil Lesh played bass guitar. Bob Weir, the youngest original member of the group, played rhythm guitar. Ron "Pigpen" McKernan played keyboards and harmonica until shortly before his death in 1973 at the age of 27. Garcia, Weir and McKernan shared the lead vocal duties more or less equally; Lesh only sang a few leads but his tenor was a key part of the band's three-part vocal harmonies. Bill Kreutzmann played drums, and in September 1967 was joined by a second drummer, New York native Mickey Hart, who also played a wide variety of other percussion instruments.

The year 1970 included tour dates in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the band performed at The Warehouse for two nights. On January 31, 1970, the local police raided their hotel on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, and arrested and charged a total of 19 people with possession of various drugs. The second night's concert was performed as scheduled after bail was posted. Eventually the charges were dismissed, with the exception of those against sound engineer Owsley Stanley, who was already facing charges in California for manufacturing LSD. This event was later memorialized in the lyrics of the song "Truckin'", a single from American Beauty which reached number 64 on the charts.

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