Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

In the studio outtakes released on "The Angel's Share", the working title of this song was "Hand Me Down", becoming "Ripple" when the album American Beauty was released.

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine (note 1)
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near, as it were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken (note 2)
Perhaps they're better left unsung
I don't know, don't really care (note 3)
Let there be songs to fill the air (note 3) (note 4)

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of man

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go, no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall, you fall alone
If you should stand, then who's to guide you?
If I knew the way, I would take you home
(1) in Humter's handwritten lyrics, this line was originally "If my tongue were guilded ..." (crossed out).
(2) Humter's handwritten lyrics have "words" crossed out and "thoughts" substituted
(3) this line was originally "long as there's music to fill the air".

(4) on the version on Reckoning, Jerry Garcia says "That's Otis" at this point, referring to Bob Weir's dog who had wandered onstage

In his blog Documenting The Dead Nicholas Meriwether has posted the typescript of the lyrics to "Ripple" with an additional final verse, never played by the Dead:
The wisest man is but a pilgrim
He will not claim to know the way
He will not promise dreams of glory
His words are few and his ways are kind
Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     studio 1970 American Beauty (note 2) (note 6) (note 7)
     21 Feb 1971 Workingman's Dead (50th Anniversary Edition)
     29 Apr 1971 Ladies And Gentlemen ... The Grateful Dead
      4 Oct 1980 Reckoning (note 11)
      9 Oct 1980 The Warfield, San Francisco, CA 10/9/80 & 10/10/80
     10 Oct 1980 The Warfield, San Francisco, CA 10/9/80 & 10/10/80
     23 Oct 1980 Reckoning (note 3)
     31 Oct 1980 Dead Ahead (video/DVD)
      3 Jul 2015 Fare Thee Well (CD and DVD)
Jerry Garcia Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     10 Apr 1982 [none] Jerry Garcia solo acoustic (note 12)
     27 Jan 1986 GarciaLive Volume 14 Jerry Garcia/John Kahn
     28 Feb 1986 Pure Jerry: Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium Jerry Garcia/John Kahn
     29 Aug 1987 Electric On The Eel Jerry Garcia Band
     31 Oct 1987 Pure Jerry 2: Lunt-Fontanne Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band
      4 Dec 1987 Almost Acoustic Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band
Other Dead-related Recordings
      Dec 1990 Box Of Rain Robert Hunter
      Aug 1993 Live In Japan New Riders Of The Purple Sage (note 4)
     31 Dec 2006 Live: New Year's Eve New Riders Of The Purple Sage
     31 Dec 2018 Rising Up To Paradise Big Swell
     Jun 2021 Live In Colorado Bob Weir & Wolf Bros
(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.)
Tribute Albums
     Date Album Recorded By
     1991 Deadicated Jane's Addiction
     1996 Long Live The Dead Billy & Terry Smith
     1997 Pickin' On The Grateful Dead David West et al
     2000 Might As Well The Persuasions (note 9)
     2000 Dead Grass Vassar Clements
     2001 Gratefully Yours Jim Hudak
     2001 Blues Tribute To The Grateful Dead Various (Langhorne Slim)
     2001 Gifts From The Dead Gifts From The Dead
     2002 Electronic Tribute To The Grateful Dead Various (Motor Industries)
     2002 Buckdancer's Choice Wake The Dead
     2003 Ukelele Summit 5 Various (Rick Cunha)
     2003 Grateful Guitar David Cullen
     2005 Jerry Jams, Jerry Cares Gregg Cagno
     2005 Deadgrass Deadgrass
     2007 At Fine Arts Center, UMass The American Beauty Project
     2009 Yoga Tribute To Grateful Dead Yoga Pop Ups (note 10)
     2010 Songs Of The Grateful Dead Jesse McReynolds
     2010 At Page Auditorium, Duke University The American Beauty Project
     2011 The Wheel: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia Jesse McReynolds, David Nelson et al
     2013 Harpin' On The Dead Anela Lauren
     2015 The Promised Land: Acoustic Sessions Sagol 59 & Ami Yares
     2016 Songs To Fill The Air (WFMU Pledge Drive) Sarah Louise
     2016 Day Of The Dead The Walkmen
     14 May 2015 Dear Jerry: Celebrating The Music Of Jerry Garcia Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann et al
     2015 Songs Of Their Own Playing For Change
     2017 Dead Songs Vol 1 Barton Hills Choir
     2018 Cut The Dead Some Slack Stephen Inglis
     2018 Grateful Dub Roots of Creation
Covers By Other Artists
     Date Album Recorded By
     1982 Morning Sky Chris Hillman
     1992 The Rock Bottom Remainders Robert Fulghum (video)
     1995 We Were All Babies Laurie McClain
     1998 What If I Told You Andru Branch
     2000 One Endless Night Jimmy Dale Gilmore
     2000 Solid Sender Sex Mob (note 5)
     2000 Times Like These Rick Danko
     2003 Along The Way Roger Kardinal
     2005 No Time Like Now Shelley Laine
     2005 Shawangunk Rolf Sturm
     12 Nov 2005 For Rex: The Black Tie Dye Ball Zen Tricksters plus friends
     2006 Live Butter, Dec 15 2006 Hot Buttered Rum
     2006 God, Love and Angels Kristen Vigard
     2006 MTO Vol 1 Steve Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orcestra
     2007 Midnight Tea Andy Hill, Renee Safier & Brian Michael Tracy
     2007 Live at Bearsville Theater Dar Williams
     2008 Merlfest, April 26 2008 Ollabelle
     2008 Piano Expressions Lore Constantine
     2008 As Time Goes By Gregg Hansen
     2008 Ithica 30 Years Later Dark Star Orchestra
     2010 The Ripple Sessions John Firmin & Dick Fegy Project
     2010 2nd Day Jeff Umbehauer
     2011 [single] Built To Spill
     2011 Piano Tribute To Jane's Addiction Piano Tribute Players
     2011 Like A Road Leading Home Sofia Laiti
     2013 Cello Cafe Billy The Celloist
     2013 Live At Mr. Ricci's Coconut Tree Lounge Trailer Trash
     2004 On The Road July 31 2015 String Cheese Incident
     2014 Nov 4 2015 State Theater, State College, PA The Infamous Stringdusters
     2015 Black Beauty Elana James
     2018 Music Of Our People Darol Anger
     2018 Humanities David Ake
(2) this version is also on the compilations What A Long Strange Trip, The Very Best Of The Grateful Dead, and The Best Of The Grateful Dead, as well as on the soundtrack of The Grateful Dead Movie
(3) additional version issued as a bonus track in the box set Beyond Description (1973-1990)
(4) also on the compilation "Relix's Best Of The New Riders Of The Purple Sage"
(5) also on the compilation "Stolen Roses"
(6) the version of "Ripple" issued as a single is included as a hidden track on the remastered version of the album, first issued as part of the Rhino box set The Golden Road (1965-1973). Also released as the Grateful Dead 7" single volume 6.
(7) also plays on the soundtrack of the Grateful Dead Movie
(8) also on the compilation The Best Of Jerry Garcia
(9) re-released in 2011 on "Persuasions of the Dead"
(10) also released as "Lullaby Versions of Grateful Dead"
(11) also on the compilation The Best Of The Grateful Dead Live
(12) made available as a download by Jerry Garcia Music Arts.

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)
          Grateful Dead Authentic Guitar Classics Volume 1 (guitar TAB)
          Grateful Dead Songbook Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Jerry Garcia Songbook (vocal line and chords)
          Very Best Of The Grateful Dead (guitar TAB)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)


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