Throwing Stones

Lyrics: John Barlow
Music: Bob Weir

Picture a bright blue ball just spinning, spinning free
Dizzy with eternity
Paint it with a skin of sky, brush in some clouds and sea
Call it home for you and me
A peaceful place, or so it looks from space
A closer look reveals the human race
Full of hope, full of grace, is the human face
But afraid we may lay our home to waste

There's a fear down here we can't forget
Hasn't got a name just yet
Always awake, always around
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down
Ashes, ashes, all fall down

Now watch as the ball revolves and the night-time falls (note 1)
And again the hunt begins and again the blood wind calls (note 2)
By and by, again, the morning sun will rise
But the darkness never goes from some men's eyes
(Well I know)
It strolls the sidewalk and it rolls the streets
Staking turf, dividing up meat
Nightmare spook, piece of heat
It's you and me, you and me

Click flash blade in ghetto night
Rudy's looking for a fight
Rat cat alley, roll them bones
Need that cash to feed that Jones
And the politicians throwing stones
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down
Ashes, ashes, all fall down

Commissars and pinstripe bosses roll the dice
Anyway they fall, guess who gets to pay the price? (note 3)
Money green, or proletarian gray (note 4)
Selling guns instead of food today (note 5)
So the kids they dance and shake their bones
And the politicians throwing stones
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down
Ashes, ashes, all fall down

Heartless powers try to tell us what to think
If the spirit's sleeping then the flesh is ink
History's page will be neatly carved in stone
The future's here, we are it, we are on our own
On our own, on our own, we are on our own

If the game is lost, then we're all the same
No one left to place or take the blame
We will leave this place an empty stone
Or that shining ball of blue we call our home

So the kids, they dance, they shake their bones
And the politicians throwing stones
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down
Ashes, ashes, all fall down

Shipping powders back and forth
Singing black goes south and white comes north (note 6)
And the whole world full of petty wars
Singing I got mine and you got yours
While the current fashions set the pace
Lose your step, fall out of grace
The radical, he rant and rage
Singing someone got to turn the page
And the rich man in his summer home
Singing just leave well enough alone
But his pants are down, his cover's blown
And the politicians throwing stones
So the kids, they dance, they shake their bones
'Cause it's all too clear we're on our own
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down
Ashes, ashes, all fall down

Picture a bright blue ball just spinning, spinning free
It's dizzying, the possibilities

Ashes, ashes, all fall down
[Ashes, ashes, all fall down]
Ashes, ashes, all fall down
[Ashes, ashes, all fall down]
Ashes, ashes, all fall down
[Ashes, ashes, all fall down]
Ashes, ashes, all fall down
[Ashes, ashes, all fall down]
[etc]
Notes
(1) Bob Weir sometimes sang "... as the sphere revolves."
(2) Bob Weir seems to have sung some variations on this line. These include "The light goes on and off and the nightbird calls" and "Come close to the stars, celestial balls" (thanks to Dave Ellis for this).
(3) Bob Weir has sung variants on these two lines: eg "Any more the pinstripe bosses own the dice, Anyway they roll guess who gets to pay the price?" (thanks to Brian and Bill for this)
(4) Bob Weir sang this line as "Money green is the only way" on at least two occasions on The Dead's 2003 summer tour (thanks to Carrie for this)
(5) Bob Weir has sung this line as "Blood for oil, dropping bombs today," "Drop them bombs, grab that oil today" , "Sell them guns, rape the earth today" and "You can buy a whole goddamn company today" (thanks to Bill, Chuck, Brian and Ed for noting these).
(6) Bob Weir sometimes sang "... while white goes north" - which are the lyrics in the "In The Dark" songbook.

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     studio 1987 In The Dark
      1987 So Far (video only)
      4 Jul 1987 In The Dark (note 7)
     26 Jul 1987 View From The Vault IV (DVD & CD soundtrack) (note 8)
     31 Dec 1987 Ticket To New Year's (video/DVD only)
      1 Apr 1988 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 2
      9 Oct 1989 Warlocks Box
     15 Mar 1990 Terrapin Station (Limited Edition)
     21 Mar 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
     29 Mar 1990 Wake Up To Find Out (note 9)
      3 Apr 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
      8 Jul 1990 View From The Vault (video/DVD & CD soundtrack)
     20 Sep 1990 Road Trips Number 2, Volume 1
     20 Jun 1991 Download Series Vol 11
     25 Sep 1991 Dick's Picks Vol 17
     17 Dec 1992 Dick's Picks Vol 27

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section
 
Bob Weir Recordings Recordings
      fall 1988 Weir/Wasserman: Live Bob Weir and Rob Wasserman
      5 Sep 1989 Fall 1989: The Long Island Sound Bob Weir and Rob Wasserman

"The Dead" Concert Recordings

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs

Ratdoglive CDs and downloads

Phil Lesh and Friends Digital Download Series

Bob Weir Solo Acoustic Live!

Weir-Robinson-Greene Trio Live!
 
Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     2008 30 Years Jake's Leg

Notes
(7) issued as a bonus track in the box set Beyond Description (1973-1990)
(8) also on the compilation Weir Here: The Best Of Bob Weir
(9) also included as part of box set Spring 1990 (The Other One)


Futher 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 dead.net see Greatest Stories Ever Told
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com
For sheet music, see:
          In The Dark Songbook (piano arrangement)

 


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