Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

I had a hard run
Running from your window
I was all night running, running
Lord, I wonder if you care
I had a run in
Run around and a run down
Run around the corner, corner
Lord, I ran smack into a tree

I had to move
Really had to move
That's why if you please
I am on my bended knees
Bertha, don't you come around here any more

Dressed myself in green
Lord I went down unto the sea
Try to see what's going down
Lord, try to read between the lines
I had a feeling I was falling, falling, falling
Lord, I turned round to see
Heard a voice a-calling
Lord you was coming after me (note a)


Ran into a rain-storm
Ducked into a bar door
(note b)
It's all night pouring, pouring rain
Lord but not a drop on me
Test me, test me, test me, test me, test me
(note c)
Why don't you arrest me
Throw me in the jail house
Lord, until the sun go down

(a) these are the lyrics in "Box of Rain" and in the sheet music. But Garcia sang "Lord you was running back to me" at least in the version on Skull & Roses. (Thanks to Eric McKay for pointing this out)
(b) The lyrics on are "Ducked back into Novato" but I think that's a mistake (thanks to Phil Hubbard for pointing this out)
(c) two "test me"s in "Box of Rain", four in the sheet music, but five is what Jerry sings on "Skull & Roses." (thanks to Mike Scroggins for pointing this out)

There has been an oft-repeated story that the song derived from an electric fan in either the Grateful Dead's offices or their rehearsal studios. The fan used to act up and 'walk' around the space. In an interview in March 1978 with Denis McNamara for 92.7 WLIR-FM Garden City, New York for the "Sunday At 9:00" program, Robert Hunter addressed this story:
Interviewer: What about Bertha? Is it true she was a fan? An electrical fan?

Robert Hunter: No, this was after the fact.I don't know where that story ... I think they started calling this fan in the office that would run around and try and catch everyone and cut their fingers off. They started calling it Bertha. But no, this is not true. Bertha, I think, is probably some vaguer connotation of birth, death and reincarnation. Cycle of existences, some kind of such nonsense like that. I wouldn't be surprised, but then again, it might not be. I don't remember.

Grateful Dead Recordings

Covers By Other Artists

Further Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For information on references in the lyrics see David Dodd's Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
For David Dodd's discussion of this song on see Greatest Stories Ever Told
For online chords and TAB see
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Grateful Dead Authentic Guitar Classics Volume 2 (guitar TAB)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)


Home | Find words/phrases| Find Song lyrics| Dead originals| Dead covers|