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Is There a Better Song Than...

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833
Stella Blue? Hunter's lyrics are as mysterious yet beautiful as ever. Garcia's composition surrounding it is dark, and deeply melancholy, but with a glimmer of hope. Everything just falls into place at the right time. Willy Nelson did his cover of it, and proved that the song at its core is beautiful, no matter how stripped down. Sco and Medeski showed us that it is more than okay as an instrumental. Even if you don't like the Grateful Dead, you have to love it.

Original:

Covers:

Lyric Annotation:
http://artsites.ucsc.edu/GDead/agdl/stella.html

GSET:
http://www.dead.net/features/greate...greatest-stories-ever-told-stella-blue?page=1

Edit: Don't get caught up in the title. This was intended as general appreciation. Hyperbole has been generously applied.
 
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DrumBob

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,755
Not all of us here are vociferous Deadheads. Declaring some song of theirs as "nothing better" puts you in the class of extreme fanboy. If you're OK with that, more power to you.
 

Jack Gilvey

Member
Messages
4,063
Beautiful song. Not a 'head so I don't have a zillion covers/versions but I did find a very clean original vinyl of WOTF at a used record store a few years ago and love to take it for a spin occasionally.
 
Messages
833
Not all of us here are vociferous Deadheads. Declaring some song of theirs as "nothing better" puts you in the class of extreme fanboy. If you're OK with that, more power to you.
Figurative language. I'm sure there are better out, and waiting to be written. I was using hyperbole to express my appreciation for its beauty. I loved the song prior to getting deep into the Grateful Dead, and it's been in my personal top 5 since I heard it.


You don't need to be a Deadhead to love it, but if you don't, that's fine, as tastes are ultimately subjective.
 

bobbyatomic

Senior Member
Messages
1,331
I'm not entirely sure how I've got to 45 years of age without ever hearing A Grateful Dead song before, but that really wasn't what I was expecting, I liked it, I wouldn't say it was the best song I've ever heard but it certainly made me want to hear more.

Also the only real qualification for the quality of a song is to determine how much you like it, if it's your favorite song, then to you it's the best song regardless of how anyone else feels about it, I doubt you'll ever get everyone to agree on what the best song is, even though it's obviously God Only Knows by the Beach Boys.
 

Laurence

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,201
It's a great song, especially sitting within the context and collection of Wake Of The Flood. Best song on that album, maybe their best of the coming decade (maybe), but if there is a best ever (even for the GD) Stella is probably not it.

Gotta add...the really cool thing about the melody and chord progression is the slinky moves between maj, min and sus to maj chords in the song. That is memorable, and probably why Willie and others have covered it. It's a puzzle worth exploring...
 
Messages
833
Gotta add...the really cool thing about the melody and chord progression is the slinky moves between maj, min and sus to maj chords in the song. That is memorable, and probably why Willie and others have covered it. It's a puzzle worth exploring...
The whole E to Emaj7 to Asus4 to A to Em to C7 to B7 thing is great. I remember this being the first song I tried to analyze the changes to, many a year ago, and being profoundly confused.

I'm actually a big WOTF fan, which is unusual, I know. Weather Report Suite is a beast, Eyes of the Word showed potential (which was exploited generously live), Mississippi Uptown Half Step Toodeloo was fairly memorable.
 

Laurence

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,201
The whole E to Emaj7 to Asus4 to A to Em to C7 to B7 thing is great. I remember this being the first song I tried to analyze the changes to, many a year ago, and being profoundly confused.

I'm actually a big WOTF fan, which is unusual, I know. Weather Report Suite is a beast, Eyes of the Word showed potential (which was exploited generously live), Mississippi Uptown Half Step Toodeloo was fairly memorable.
Next up on that LP is Row Jimmy. It could've been a single with those two songs and almost had the same effect.
 
Messages
833
I'm not entirely sure how I've got to 45 years of age without ever hearing A Grateful Dead song before, but that really wasn't what I was expecting, I liked it.
If you are interested in more in that general (less jam, more songcraft) vein, the Grateful Dead have a lot of great things to choose from. American Beauty is an absolute must for that kind of thing, as is Workingman's Dead. For the Jam stuff, Live/Dead is one of very few Robert Christgau A+, and a great intro. For somewhere in between, Skull and Roses, Steal Your Face, and Europe 72.

The songwriting teams of Jerry Garcia with Robert Hunter and Bob Weir with John Perry Barlow were very different. Garcia/Hunter has infinitely better lyrics (Bob Dylan chose Robert Hunter to collaborate with on an album). Weir/Barlow gets more complex (the prelude to the Weather Report Suite was based on “Bourée” from Bach’s Lute Suite no. 1 in E minor).

I'll leave you with 2 Garcia/Hunters and a Weir/Barlow


Edit: Okay, I couldn't help myself.

Edit Again: I'm sorry, but these are beautiful
(The day I was born, oddly enough...)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CFsbAuX9P4w
 
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Messages
833
Next up on that LP is Row Jimmy. It could've been a single with those two songs and almost had the same effect.
You're probably right, but I'm not sure I could do without the Prelude Section to the Weather Report Suite, but I'm a complete Bobby stalker.
 






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