Shut Up And Listen

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: David Gans

A new Hunter lyric recorded on David Gans' CD "Solo Acoustic"

You're so busy talkin'
You never find out
What ev'ryone else
Is keepin' quiet about
You're so busy knockin'
You don't understand
The door's wide open
Don't go breakin' your hand

Shut up & listen
A minute or two
Shut up & listen
You could pick up a clue
Shut up & listen
Doot' n doo doo
Shut up & listen
I'm talkin' to you

Shut up and listen
Or you may never learn
Why pigs don't fly
Why water don't burn
Why you can't find a cop
When it's a cop you need
Why you can't grow gators
From crocodile seed


Walking in a storm
With an ear to the blast
Thinkin each moment
Could be my last
A small still voice
Seemed to beckon within
So quiet in there
You'd hear the drop of a pin
I asked what it wanted
Said what do you crave?
It said: nothin' but the first dance
On your grave
I ran for the faucet
And I turned off the storm
Crawled under the bed
To consider reform


You don't pay attention
You don't analyze
An ounce of prevention's
Worth a ton of surmise
Shut up and listen
And it may come clear
Why the key to your hope is
The very thing you fear
Why if you pick at a scab
you prolong the pain
Why you can't find a cab
in New York in the rain

David Gans gave this account of the writing of the song in an online interview on The Well:
"Shut Up and Listen" presents an interesting problem. Basically, it's Hunter's response to audiences that made his last tour a painful one, shouting for "Dark Star" in the middle of his quiet songs and stuff like that.

At first, I gave it a very gentle, sweet musical setting to counteract the acerbic quality of the lyric. Hunter heard that on the webcast of a Musicians for Mewdical Marijuana show from the Great American Music Hall (August something, 2000), and although he was kind in his response I got the feeling he wanted me to power that fucker out for him.

I replied that my musical setting is "scaleable," meaning it would work as a delicate fingerpicked thing and also in a more urgent form.

Later in the year, I had occasion to use the song in a manner more in keeping with the lyricist's apparent intention. Opening shows for large rock bands in front of audiences that came to hear Grateful Dead music and weren't much interested in what I was doing ...
     Date Album Recorded By
     2001 Solo Acoustic David Gans
     2015 You Are Here (EP) David Gans

Further Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography


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