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Grateful Dead — Playing in the Band
Album: Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses)
Avg rating:
6.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1727









Released: 1971
Length: 4:34
Plays (last 30 days): 3
Some folks trust to reason
Others trust to might
I don't trust to nothing
But I know it come out right

Say it once again now
Oh I hope you understand
When it's done and over
Lord, a man is just a man

Playing
Playing in the band
Daybreak
Daybreak on the land

Some folks look for answers
Others look for fights
Some folks up in treetops
Just look to see the sights

I can tell your future
Look what's in your hand
But I can't stop for nothing
I'm just playing in the band

Playing
Playing in the band
Daybreak
Daybreak on the land

Standing on a tower
World at my command
You just keep a turning
While I'm playing in the band

If a man among you
Got no sin upon his hand
Let him cast a stone at me
For playing in the band

Playing
Playing in the band
Daybreak
Daybreak on the land
Playing
Playing in the band
Daybreak Daybreak on the land
Comments (227)add comment
Whether a dead head or not, I encourage every one to check out this doc:

their best album?

yean yeah...baby baby. 
Loathe
 robspeds wrote:

Awesome-and remember this song is 50 years old!


This song still cranks. I was never a huge fan while they were around but the Dead's best work (including this) is quintessentially American. 
 idiot_wind wrote:
Is the GD the greatest American RnR band ever?   
 

R and R...no... Trad, Folk, Rock fusion...Yes
 MartiniSlacker wrote:
This is so much better without Donna screeching her atonal cat wail in the middle of this song....  Thank you.
 

Donna was a diversity hire, you bigot!
Ahh!!! Phil's Bass....Guess you had to be there. Too bad for those who missed it IRL.
 joko63808 wrote:
skip skip skip skip skip skip
 

BYE! Your loss...
 Bear9 wrote:

I hope that statement is simply a mindless off-hand comment rather than real animus. I was a Deadhead and made $100,000 annually before I retired with a $1 million nest egg. I don't think I want to start a thread comparing credit card statements, but we Deadheads were a pretty diverse group, and many of us turned out to be productive members of society, even if we like music you don't.
 
Indeed, most of my deadhead pals are lawyers & PhDs. Ppl who say otherwise embrace shortcuts to thinking. Much easier. 
Bought this album in 75 for 1.99 in the discontinued bin. Tried, just couldn't get into the Dead back then. Here we are, down the road, hearing it again for the first time (much better speakers help),  and I'm starting to really hear them...

Nice-
 cely wrote:
That song sounds like an outake.  So boring.  No idea why it's here.
 
Funny, I hold that opinion for every Dead song I've ever heard.
 Grayson wrote:
If you ever need to hate the Grateful Dead some more, this is the song for that! 
 
Too much hate on here already... I can't be arsed with that, just skip along and there's something different to hear.

RP brings us eclectic diversity - there's very little chance everyone is gonna love it all...
Awesome-and remember this song is 50 years old!
 ExploitingChaos wrote:
Im a simple man
I hear the Dead, I rate a 10
Why complicate these things
 

you talked me into it 9>10 (plus it Friday!)
If you ever need to hate the Grateful Dead some more, this is the song for that! 
skip skip skip skip skip skip
That song sounds like an outake.  So boring.  No idea why it's here.
Long live to the Dead! A solid 10!
 krich58 wrote:
Gryn wrote:
... I've lived in Eugene Oregon for more than 11 years.. Yes, I hate the Dead.
Wow, maybe you should move from Eugene. I mean, if it makes you hate things......
 
Approved!
Forever and always Grateful! Thanks Bill!
 
Wow...as this plays and I sing along I'm almost in tears of joy remembering all the times gone before when this ...well...you know if you too were there. What a wealthy store of memories.
 
And the way Phil puts that final bass note touch to bring the song to a conclusion. Beautiful.
 ExploitingChaos wrote:
Im a simple man
I hear the Dead, I rate a 10
Why complicate these things
 
I have a similar yet very different response. 
The Lyrics...fukingroovin'!  1st show '85 Maynor Downs...Left with a whole new perspective to Live Music!  
Always love a Dead tune First show 74
 ExploitingChaos wrote:
Im a simple man
I hear the Dead, I rate a 10
Why complicate these things
 

Well said!
 NickDanger wrote:
Why is the album cover image sideways? Or is it me? It is a double album so it opened up to the right side of the image. Great for cleaning pot back in the 70's!
 

Overplayed and boring at baseline
Im a simple man
I hear the Dead, I rate a 10
Why complicate these things
Not a GD fan, but do like this tune. Much like the way I enjoy Wilco in smaller doses. There's an unpretentiousness and easy flow to The Dead, which is appealing.
 pinto wrote:
 
Bear9, I think you proved the point Hoosfoos was trying to make.

 
I said "retired," not "unemployed." Retired is considered a desirable state. Unemployed is not, and I think Hoosfoos was attempting a gratuitous insult directed at people who like the Grateful Dead. But let's not go down this road, OK? I just like the music.
Why is the album cover image sideways? Or is it me?
  Hoosfoos wrote:
Deadheads are now simply unemployed.



Bear9 wrote:

I hope that statement is simply a mindless off-hand comment rather than real animus. I was a Deadhead and made $100,000 annually before I retired with a $1 million nest egg. I don't think I want to start a thread comparing credit card statements, but we Deadheads were a pretty diverse group, and many of us turned out to be productive members of society, even if we like music you don't.

 
Bear9, I think you proved the point Hoosfoos was trying to make.
Turn it up boyyyyyeeee
this is NSFW! (too groovy)
 alan278 wrote:
For those who don't know (and so most likely don't care but just in case....), this is one of those songs that was usually a springboard to the band's lengthy group improvisations - the thing that for me distinguished them from most other  bands.    This version is a great little number but it's "just a song" rather than an outstanding spontaneous group creative experience which many of the longer versions were.

 
This is so true - and very well said! I was at one concert where this song lead into 4 others, then back to the same place where they left off from "Playing in the Band" - something like 45 minutes or an hour later. But not before fading in and out to tease you before you knew, for sure, what was going on. As has been said here on other posts for The Dead - it was something to experience ; merely hearing about it or listening to one song doesn't give full appreciation.
 Garsh wrote:
Double down Jimmie Spheeris to the Dead whoa

 
And again this morning...followed by Ryan Adams "Cold Roses."

{#Clap}{#Notworthy}
Double down Jimmie Spheeris to the Dead whoa
For those who don't know (and so most likely don't care but just in case....), this is one of those songs that was usually a springboard to the band's lengthy group improvisations - the thing that for me distinguished them from most other  bands.    This version is a great little number but it's "just a song" rather than an outstanding spontaneous group creative experience which many of the longer versions were.
F an A!
With Bob's help, another consummate story teller, Robert Hunter, gives us this wonderful Dead staple.  
 
Wonderful in many ways. pxd
 LawrenceSheppard wrote:
I just never understood their popularity...

 
When they play this well, I totally get it it.

gif of Grateful Dead skeleton in zoot suit struttin' along 
I was totally blown away when the Dead closed the final show at Soldiers Field with Attics of My Life. Such a beautiful moving song for the Dead to send as an all encompassing message of love to the whole family of us. It was so incredibly beautiful and left me a bit teary and  choked up.
 Skydog wrote:
i don't understand the comments of "I don't get them"
 

 
Now that's funny. 

I don't get your comment.


 jimtyrrell wrote:

I ll love the Dead til I die!

 
And maybe if you're fortunate, after that.
i don't understand the comments of "I don't get them"
as if there is some sort of secrect or rite of passage to understand the Dead
it's just simple music, simply put
no need to archive any other level of awareness other than that, it's just good music
 
This is so much better without Donna screeching her atonal cat wail in the middle of this song....  Thank you.
 h8rhater wrote:

The "Day" went well past Woodstock.  Being in your 50s, you were in your late 20s/early 30s when they played their last show with Jerry Garcia.  You could have been on tour for nearly 15 years at that point Freddy. 


 
I ll love the Dead til I die!


 fredriley wrote:

...and play instruments they found in the garage. I've never 'got' the Dead, maybe because, in my 50s, I'm too young to have 'been there' in the day and have misty memories of being stoned senseless at Woodstock et al :(

 
The "Day" went well past Woodstock.  Being in your 50s, you were in your late 20s/early 30s when they played their last show with Jerry Garcia.  You could have been on tour for nearly 15 years at that point Freddy. 

I just never understood their popularity...
The only good song they ever produced. Sorry Dead Heads. Never cared for them.
 idiot_wind wrote:
Is the GD the greatest American RnR band ever?   

 

I think not.  But, I still love 'em.  Especially on a warm summer day, with a cold beer, floating on the Guadalupe.


Is the GD the greatest American RnR band ever?   
 hallogallo wrote:

Quintessential Dead tune.  More, please.

{#Cowboy}

 

 
dead more likely! 
Ah, the Grateful Dead. I can never hear too little of their stuff. 
Retire the band, retire this song with it.
one of my favorites live.
And following with Cold Roses...sweet!
 
what is known as a Novelty record. 
 Hoosfoos wrote:
Deadheads are now simply unemployed.

 
I hope that statement is simply a mindless off-hand comment rather than real animus. I was a Deadhead and made $100,000 annually before I retired with a $1 million nest egg. I don't think I want to start a thread comparing credit card statements, but we Deadheads were a pretty diverse group, and many of us turned out to be productive members of society, even if we like music you don't.

Quintessential Dead tune.  More, please.

{#Cowboy}

 
Suffered from serious GD overload my first two years of dorm life in college, but this is one of my favorites.

When my dorm mates wanted a break from The Dead, which was very rare, they played the New Riders. That's how bad it got, but I got over it and in time started to appreciate The Dead.
 bam23 wrote:
 Aw, give it a rest. You thronging multitudes who don't "get" the Dead and feel compelled to express the depths of your ignorance to anyone and everyone out there. My experience with those who do not like the band is that in many cases they never actually listened to the type of magic that erupted, spontaneously, in performances. There is no obligation to like anything; of this I am certain. But so often the dislike seems to come from somewhere other than a considered judgement. I was not stoned at Woodstock, for what it's worth. For someone who seems to listen with some discernment (based on various comments here), you are not demonstrating it here. 

 
Maybe the point is best summed up by Flakey Foont asking Mr. Natural "What does it all mean?" And his answer? "Doesn't mean sheee-it!" It's all just music whether you or they were there, or stoned, or not! You are free to think it's cool and listen or tune out, or spew rambling, juvenile philipics, as long as you HAVE A NICE DAY and watch out for the deadly yellow snow! There's bears around, you know...


Funny.... I'm reading Bill Kreutzmann's book at the moment, and Netflix is featuring a new documentary on Bob Weir. I think the version of this song (at least the singing) is better on Weir's Ace "solo" album.
I saw Bob Weir when he opened for the Avett Brothers at Red Rocks last summer and it was truly magical.  I was too young to really be a Dead Head but grew up around their music.  I never "got" it, but didn't dislike them necessarily.  Just wasn't obsessed.  However, when I saw Bob in concert I became mesmerized and realized how wonderful it must have been to hear the entire Grateful Dead play together and be encircled by zillions of others feeling the same passion!  Would have been amazing, for sure and for certain.
 fredriley wrote:

...and play instruments they found in the garage. I've never 'got' the Dead, maybe because, in my 50s, I'm too young to have 'been there' in the day and have misty memories of being stoned senseless at Woodstock et al :(

  Aw, give it a rest. You thronging multitudes who don't "get" the Dead and feel compelled to express the depths of your ignorance to anyone and everyone out there. My experience with those who do not like the band is that in many cases they never actually listened to the type of magic that erupted, spontaneously, in performances. There is no obligation to like anything; of this I am certain. But so often the dislike seems to come from somewhere other than a considered judgement. I was not stoned at Woodstock, for what it's worth. For someone who seems to listen with some discernment (based on various comments here), you are not demonstrating it here. 


I find few GD songs truly listenable. This is one of them. It still exhibits some sloppy playing but it's got verve and harmony and passion. Go for it. 
 Kaisersosay wrote:

I think I'm at work now,,,,,,,,,wait man,,, is this work ,,,,or am I just thinking I'm working,,, wait ,,I can't remember man...

 
{#Roflol}
 zenhead wrote:
i'd prefer to hear songs by musicians who can sing and play music. these guys are like a garage band that never got out of the garage.

 
...and play instruments they found in the garage. I've never 'got' the Dead, maybe because, in my 50s, I'm too young to have 'been there' in the day and have misty memories of being stoned senseless at Woodstock et al :(
They will play one more time: July 3,4,5 at Soldier Field in Chicago. The last time!

20 years since Jerry died.

Should be a crazy time on the lake. Could be a "happening".   
You may not care for the singing, even the songwriting, but the sound I'm hearing is exquisite. Alembic did a very good thing, to assist these dudes in creating a very unique sound…and I saw them live  at Wembly Pool, London in 1972…still alive to tell this tale. This song still sounds great to me!
{#Cool}
 zenhead wrote:
i'd prefer to hear songs by musicians who can sing and play music. these guys are like a garage band that never got out of the garage.

 
Yes, their recorded stuff just isn't as good as seeing them live. If you've never seen them... well I wouldn't blame you for not liking them as much. Just the opposite of Steely Dan who's studio stuff was fantastic but live.. ehh.
 kcar wrote:
Sometimes I love the Dead, sometimes I subtly look at my watch when they come on...but this one still works. 

Worthy of GIF, Jerry:

GIF of skeleton surrounded by blooming and expanding flowers 

 
... had the same feeling looking at some of the cover jacket art
unpretentious 
 Hoosfoos wrote:
Deadheads are now simply unemployed.

 
I think I'm at work now,,,,,,,,,wait man,,, is this work ,,,,or am I just thinking I'm working,,, wait ,,I can't remember man...
Deadheads are now simply unemployed.


Some of the best marketing in the music business!
Sometimes I love the Dead, sometimes I subtly look at my watch when they come on...but this one still works. 

Worthy of GIF, Jerry:

GIF of skeleton surrounded by blooming and expanding flowers 
 zenhead wrote:
i'd prefer to hear songs by musicians who can sing and play music. these guys are like a garage band that never got out of the garage.

 
LOL!  Hilarious.  Well, this 'garage band' became one of the biggest cult bands in NA in modern music history.  We even have damn dead heads up here in Canada. 

What can I say?  Back in the period, the music was sometimes a little self-indulgent, perhaps? 
One of my favs. Saw Mickey Hart band perform Playing in the Band last spring, original style, very cool. Live music.

Read a few of the comments.

I understand when folks just absolutely want nothing to do with a particular band or any of their stuff. I sorta get that way when the setlists go on and on in emo just let me slit my wrists one more time mode.

Playing in the Band is one of the most universally affirming tunes I know of. Sorry guys, I think you're missing something quite... lovely. IMHO.

{#Group-hug}
i'd prefer to hear songs by musicians who can sing and play music. these guys are like a garage band that never got out of the garage.
Nice transition from Ryan Adam's Cold Roses
 zenhead wrote:
if i never heard another grateful dead song, it'd be just fine with me. these guys are a good argument for laying off the dope.

 
Yeah,it's like when you open your Christmas present from your elderly Aunt and you know it's gonna be socks.
 Nice!!!

caregiver wrote:
                                                                               
                                    {#Drummer}                           {#Drummer}
                          {#Bananajam}                     {#Bananajam}                 {#Bananajam}       {#Bananapiano}


 


This is a commanding performance of one of their best. Good choice!
 zenhead wrote:
if i never heard another grateful dead song, it'd be just fine with me. these guys are a good argument for laying off the dope.

 
Me thinks your name is a bit of a misnomer. And, IMO, I find your comment and general attitude to be a good argument for pulling another hit. Just sayin'. I think I'll stick with my good laid back friends. Jam a bit to the Dead, and leave the negativity to you. You can have it all, it's yours. 

{#Devil_pimp} 
 zenhead wrote:
if i never heard another grateful dead song, it'd be just fine with me. these guys are a good argument for laying off the dope.

 
Maybe true -- and I'd be fine with a GD moratorium, as they always seemed a triumph of cult and charisma over real, high-energy musical chops -- but to my ears they do have a handful of really fine, definitive songs that work musically and lyrically. And this is one of them. 
if i never heard another grateful dead song, it'd be just fine with me. these guys are a good argument for laying off the dope.
how bout country joe next?
 
 gjeeg wrote:      Precisely.... Ryan Adams doing a heartfelt tribute sound to the Dead. Seemless transition. 

softjeans wrote:

Yep.
 


+1 Nice Transition.  Was thinking that the Ryan Adams song sounded like the dead and it led me here.
 gjeeg wrote:
Precisely.... Ryan Adams doing a heartfelt tribute sound to the Dead. Seemless transition.

 
Yep.
Precisely.... Ryan Adams doing a heartfelt tribute sound to the Dead. Seemless transition.
 lily34 wrote:
hippies
 
Yes?
down
What a bunch of crap.
hippies
 fredriley wrote:

Yup. Both sucko-barfos. That explains why the Ryan Adams track grated on my ears so badly. And the mute goes on, and on, and on... Still, I have faith in RP and I'm sure a goodie will come along very shortly, and until a quarter hour ago there was a good stretch.

 
Yup indeed. 
What a kind, kind song selection!   Thanks for playing.
                                                                               
                                    {#Drummer}                           {#Drummer}
                          {#Bananajam}                     {#Bananajam}                 {#Bananajam}       {#Bananapiano}

Love this.  I understand many don't like the Dead, and bet none of them saw them live back in the day. 
This was the first Dead song I ever heard,  back in the day, and I'm glad I did.  Awesome!

 Jelani wrote:
I'm so glad I got not to hear that.
 
amen
good tune too!

I'm so glad I got not to hear that.
 Weblizard wrote:
Good follow to that Ryan Adams track (Cold Roses) that I mistook for the Dead at first..
 
Yup. Both sucko-barfos. That explains why the Ryan Adams track grated on my ears so badly. And the mute goes on, and on, and on... Still, I have faith in RP and I'm sure a goodie will come along very shortly, and until a quarter hour ago there was a good stretch.

 Weblizard wrote:
Good follow to that Ryan Adams track (Cold Roses) that I mistook for the Dead at first..
 
Yeah, I just commented the same thing on the Cold Roses page! 
Good follow to that Ryan Adams track (Cold Roses) that I mistook for the Dead at first..
First Walking on the Moon, now Playing in the Band.........must be Friday, only one thing missing, that will come later!!
 Gednabb wrote:
yet another classic band that does nothing for me.
 
Ditto.

Sorry but to me the Dead were at best an average touring on the road bar band that played so so tunes.{#Lol}
FRIDAY just officially began for me with this track!
{#Clap}

Yes!
 Huey wrote:
Sux..Sorry
 
".. if a man among you, got no sin upon his hand... let him cast a stone on me for playing in the band..."

I completely understand how many people don't like the dead... but to me no group has ever pulled as much emotion and feeling out with their music.

Godlike! 
GREAT Album!  More Dead is BETTER...  Bumper Stickers Should Be Issued!

{#Clap}
 Papernapkin wrote:

Maybe because they suck.
 
Ah papernapkin... you are not a moron like all the others say.  A douche for sure, but a moron, nah.

 natalita wrote:
don't be sorry.  i completely agree. very dated group. 

 
Huey wrote:
Sux..Sorry
 
 
Unlike Billie Holiday and Nina Simone?!? {#Rolleyes}
don't be sorry.  i completely agree. very dated group. 

 
Huey wrote:
Sux..Sorry
 


 More_Cowbell wrote:
Sweet wonderful Dead!
 
all smiles....RP, can't you get ahold of the music from the last tour...(w/ Warren Haynes)?? Some special stuff!!

Sweet wonderful Dead!
Great, now everything will be in 10/4 time today.