Days Between

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

There were days, and there were days
And there were days between
Summer flies and August dies
The world grows dark and mean
Comes the shimmer of the moon (note 1)
On black infested trees
The singing man is at his song
The holy on their knees
The reckless are out wrecking
The timid plead their pleas
No one knows much more of this
Than anyone can see
Anyone can see

There were days, and there were days
And there were days besides
When phantom ships with phantom sails
Set to sea on phantom tides
Comes the lightning of the sun
On bright unfocused eyes
The blue of yet another day
A springtime wet with sighs
A hopeful candle lingers (note 2)
In the land of lullabies
Where headless horsemen vanish
With wild and lonely cries
Lonely cries

There were days, and there were days
And there were days I know
When all we ever wanted
Was to learn and love and grow
Once we grew into our shoes
We told them where to go
Walked halfway around the world
On promise of the glow
Stood upon a mountain top
Walked barefoot in the snow
Gave the best we had to give
How much we'll never know
We'll never know

There were days, and there were days
And there were days between
Polished like a golden bowl
The finest ever seen
Hearts of Summer held in trust
Still tender young and green
Left on shelves collecting dust
Not knowing what they mean
Valentines of flesh and blood
As soft as velveteen
Hoping love would not forsake
The days that lie between
Lie between
(1) sometimes "Comes the lightning of the moon"
(2) sometimes "A lonesome candle flickers"

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     18 Feb 1993 So Many Roads (1965-95) (rehearsal)
     27 Mar 1993 30 Trips Around The Sun
     18 Oct 1994 Long Strange Trip Soundtrack (note 1)
     11 Dec 1994 Ready Or Not
      5 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
     2004 20 Degrees Of Solitude The Grass Is Dead
     2013 Move Me Brightly Bob Weir et al (DVD)
      2017 Some Climb SomeRiseSomeFall
      2018 Cut The Dead Some Slack Stephen Inglis
     Jun 2021 Live In Colorado Bob Weir & Wolf Bros

(1) also released for download on 30 Days Of The Dead (2016)


Hunter discussed the genesis of the song in an interview:
"I wrote a verse while Jerry was working out something on piano. I gave it to him, he said he liked the rhyme scheme and idea, and began working out the melody. As he was doing that I wrote the rest of the verses. An hour's work."
In an interview in 1993 Garcia referred to Days Between whilst talking about working with Hunter;
"... I feel like I can discuss anything with Hunter, any idea, without any difficulty at all. And we are both very comfortable with each other on the level of changing stuff. Sometimes I insist that he do something over and over ..... One of the songs we wrote recently was The Days Between. I had an idea there - it had to do with the length of the phrases and how I wanted the phrases to work. I had a hard time communicating it. But with Hunter it's a matter of finding the key. I'll sort of scat sing the way I want it to work."
Later in the interview he discusses the repetition of words in the song;
"The phantom thing was funny, because the first line went, When ships with phantom sails set to sea on phantom tides. I said that I wanted it to be 'When something ships with phantom sails set to sea on phantom tides. I want another two syllables.' So Hunter came up with a bunch of things, but then he said, 'What about phantom, use phantom again.' Yeah, right, When phantom ships with phantom sails set to sea on phantom tides. It worked perfectly. It has this ghostly, hollow quality - it's skeletal. So singing that song is like, ooh, it works for me. I get chills. It's that happy marriage of setting and sense. Hunter - he's so good at that. We're really hitting some nice spaces lately."

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


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