Grateful Dead – “Box of Rain” Live
Love Will See You Through!
“Box of Rain” was written by Phil Lesh and Robert Hunter. This song has become a crowd favorite since Lesh provided the vocals. It was drawn from country and some American folk musical roots. It’s also their first song which featured Lesh as the lead vocalist.
According to lyricist Hunter, Lesh “wanted a song to sing to his dying father and had composed a piece complete with every vocal nuance but the words. If ever a lyric ‘wrote itself,’ this did—as fast as the pen would pull.” Lesh practiced the song driving to the nursing home where his father lay with terminal cancer.
This track debuted on September 17, 1970 during an acoustic portion in their live show at the Fillmore East. They would often play this as a response when the audience begins to chant: “Let Phil sing!”
In describing the evolution of the song, he says he gave Hunter a tape with each syllable of the melody, and Hunter drafted words to go with the melody and the sense of the song as conveyed by Lesh.
Everything about this song is memorable — the lyrics, the back story and the melody. Everyone ends up thinking of something when they listen to it and that’s basically what happens with every Grateful Dead track.