Stella Blue

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

All the years combine
They melt into a dream
A broken angel sings
From a guitar

In the end there's just a song
Comes crying up the night
Through all the broken dreams (note 1)
And vanished years

Stella Blue
Stella Blue

When all the cards are down
There's nothing left to see
There's just the pavement left
And broken dreams

In the end there's still that song (note 2)
Comes crying like the wind
Down every lonely street
That's ever been

Stella Blue
Stella Blue

I've stayed in every blue light cheap hotel
Can't win for trying
Dust off those rusty strings just one more time
Gonna make them shine (note 3)

It all rolls into one
And nothing comes for free
There's nothing you can hold
For very long

And when you hear that song
Come crying like the wind
It seems like all this life
Was just a dream

Stella Blue
Stella Blue
(1) Hunter's hand-written lyrics have this line as "From all the lonely streets" and early Grateful Dead versions have Garcia singing "Down all the lonely streets"
(2) in early versions, Garcia sang "There's still that same old song"
(3) in early versions, Garcia sang "Can't keep from crying" (this bridge doesn't appear in Hunter's hand-written lyrics)
(Thanks to Mike Chulick for spotting these)

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     21 Jul 1972 Download Series Vol 10
     25 Aug 1972 Dave's Picks Volume 24
     studio 1973 Wake Of The Flood
     28 Mar 1973 Dave's Picks Volume 16
      2 Apr 1973 Dave's Picks Volume 21
     24 Jun 1973 Pacific Northwest '73-'74
     19 Oct 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 19
     10 Nov 1973 Winterland 1973 - The Complete Recordings
     17 Nov 1973 Dave's Picks Volume 5
     20 Nov 1973 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 3
      2 Dec 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 14
      4 Dec 1973 Winterland 1973 - The Complete Recordings (bonus disc)
     19 Dec 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 1
     23 Feb 1974 30 Days Of The Dead (2016)
     21 May 1974 Pacific Northwest '73-'74
     18 Jun 1974 Road Trips Number 2, Volume 3
      5 Aug 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 31
     10 Sep 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 7
     17 Oct 1974 Grateful Dead Movie (video, DVD and CD)
     20 Oct 1974 Steal Your Face
     24 Sep 1976 Dave's Picks Vol 4
      2 Oct 1976 30 Days Of The Dead (2017)
     10 Oct 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 33
     30 Apr 1977 Download Series Vol 1
     13 May 1977 May 1977 Box Set
      4 Nov 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 12
     21 Apr 1978 So Many Roads (1965-1995)
     11 May 1978 Dick's Picks Vol 25
      3 Jul 1978 July 1978: The Complete Recordings
     16 Sep 1978 Rocking The Cradle: Egypt 1978
     21 Oct 1978 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 4 ("From Egypt With Love")
      4 May 1979 Live At The Coliseum
     16 May 1981 30 Trips Around The Sun
      5 Jul 1981 Long Strange Trip Soundtrack
      9 Dec 1981 Dave's Picks Volume 20
     14 Oct 1983 Dick's Picks Vol 6
     26 Jul 1987 View From The Vault IV (DVD & CD soundtrack)
      3 Apr 1989 Download Series Vol 9
     26 Oct 1989 30 Trips Around The Sun
     16 Mar 1990 Spring 1990
     24 Mar 1990 Dozin' At The Knick
      1 Apr 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
     27 Oct 1990 30 Trips Around The Sun
     14 Jun 1991 View From The Vault II (video/DVD & CD soundtrack)
     19 Jun 1991 Download Series Vol 11
     16 Dec 1992 Dick's Picks Vol 27
      1 Oct 1994 30 Trips Around The Sun
      4 Jul 2015 Fare Thee Well (CD and DVD)
(Plus live recordings by The Dead, Furthur, Dead & Company, Ratdog, Phil Lesh & Friends etc not listed here. See Grateful Dead Family Discography for a full list.)
Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1990 Box Of Rain Robert Hunter
     1994 Good Morning Mr Nobody Howth Castle
     1999 Laughing Water Jazz Is Dead
     2001 Built To Grass Grass Is Dead
     2003 Live At Bonnaroo Warren Haynes
     2006 Songbird Willie Nelson
     10 Mar 2006 Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, Denver, CO Zero (note 5)
     2007 Blue Light Cheap Hotel Wake The Dead
      2007 Dead Symphony Lee Johnson
     2008 30 Years Jake's Leg
     27 Jun 2009 Crystal Bay Live David Nelson Band
     25 Jul 2009 Jerry Jams for Rex Steve Kimock Crazy Engine (note 5)
     2010 Dead To The Core Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers
     2010 Songs Of The Grateful Dead Jesse McReynolds
     2011 Persuasions of the Dead The Persuasions
     2011 Dave's Way EP Volume 2 Moonalice
     2013 First Rehearsals Sycamore Slough String Band
     2013 Miles Away MOTU
     2015 It's A Hand-Me-Down David Gans
     2015 Songs Of Their Own John Scofield & John Medeski
     2016 Day Of The Dead Local Natives
     2016 Dead Giveaway Be Gulls
     2018 Cut The Dead Some Slack Stephen Inglis

(4) Stella Blue has also been played live by Ween but not recorded for an album.
(5) The list above includes only one illustrative example of the series of live recordings by these artists. For a full list see the Grateful Dead Family Discography.

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 Songbook Volume 2 (piano arrangement)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)


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