Relive The Time Jerry Garcia & John Kahn Performed “Friend Of The Devil” Back In 1976
via Music Vault/YouTube
Jerry Garcia & John Kahn performed the classic track “Friend of the Devil” on July 6, 1976 at an unknown location. The lyrics were written by the Grateful Dead’s full-time lyricist Robert Hunter while the music was penned by Jerry Garcia and John Dawson. It’s from the band’s fifth studio album “American Beauty.”
It’s a largely acoustic number and one of their most covered songs which is why Hunter later said “that was the closest we’ve come to what may be a classic song.”
Hunter further explained, “We got to talking about the tune and John said the verses were nifty except for ‘it looks like water but it tastes like wine,’ which I had to admit fell flat. Suddenly Dawson’s eyes lit up and he crowed “How about ‘a friend of the devil is a friend of mine.’ Bingo, not only the right line but a memorable title as well!
“We ran back upstairs to Nelson’s room and recorded the tune. I took the tape home and left it on the kitchen table. Next morning I heard earlybird Garcia (who hadn’t been at the rehearsal – had a gig, you know) wanging away something familiar sounding on the peddle [sic] steel. Danged if it wasn’t ‘Friend of the Devil.’ With a dandy bridge on the ‘sweet Anne Marie’ verse. He was not in the least apologetic about it. He’d played the tape, liked it, and faster than you can say dog my cats it was in the Grateful Dead repertoire.”
Check out the performance below.