The Wheel

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann

Chorus 1
The wheel is turning and you can't slow down
You can't let go and you can't hold on
You can't go back and you can't stand still
If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will

Chorus 2
Won't you try just a little bit harder
Couldn't you try just a little bit more
Won't you try just a little bit harder
Couldn't you try just a little bit more

Round, round, Robin run around
Gotta get back where you belong
Little bit harder, just a little bit more
Little bit further than you gone before

[chorus 1]

Small wheel turning by the fire and rod
Big wheel turning by the grace of God
Every time that wheel turn round
Bound to cover just a little more ground

[chorus 1]

[chorus 2(note a)
(a) in Dead & Company performances, while the chorus is being repeated, John Mayer has improvised lines from "Stay (Just A Little Bit Longer)" by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs and from "Call Me Al" by Paul Simon.

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     12 Jun 1976 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 5
     14 Jun 1976 June 1976 Box Set
     15 Jun 1976 June 1976 Box Set
     18 Jun 1976 Download Series Vol 4
     22 Jun 1976 Download Series Vol 4
     29 Jun 1976 So Many Roads (1965-1995)
     16 Jul 1976 Dave's Picks Volume 18 (bonus disc)
     28 Sep 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 20
      3 Oct 1976 30 Trips Around The Sun
     10 Oct 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 33
     26 Feb 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 29
     22 Apr 1977 30 Days Of The Dead (2021)
     29 Apr 1977 30 Days Of The Dead (2012)
      7 May 1977 May 1977: Get Shown The Light Box
     19 May 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 29
     25 May 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 1
     2 Oct 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 45
      7 Oct 1977 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 2
      3 Feb 1978 Dick's Picks Vol 18
     30 Nov 1980 Dave's Picks Volume 8
     10 Mar 1981 In And Out Of The Garden
      7 Aug 1982 Dick's Picks Vol 32
      9 Sep 1982 Jerry Garcia: The Collected Artworks (note 1)
     25 Apr 1983 Dave's Picks Volume 39
     19 Apr 1984 Dave's Picks Volume 35
      2 Apr 1989 Download Series Vol 9
     17 Jul 1989 Downhill From Here (video/DVD only)
      8 Oct 1989 Warlocks Box
     26 Oct 1989 30 Trips Around The Sun
     18 Mar 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
     24 Mar 1990 Dozin' At The Knick
     29 Mar 1990 Wake Up To Find Out (note 6)
     23 Jun 1990 Dave's Picks Volume 44
     20 Jun 1991 Download Series Vol 11
     27 Mar 1993 30 Trips Around The Sun
     11 Jun 1993 (official YouTube video only)
      3 Jul 2015 Fare Thee Well (CD and DVD)
Jerry Garcia Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     studio 1972 Garcia Jerry Garcia (note 2)
     studio 1972 Garcia (alternate take #1) Jerry Garcia (note 3)
     studio 1972 Garcia (alternate take #2) Jerry Garcia (note 3)
Phil Lesh and Friends Recordings
     18 May 2006 Live At The Warfield
(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
     1994 Cool In The Furnace Ember
     1996 New Morning Toni Brown
     1997 Keeper Of The Key David Nelson Band
     1997 Vineyard Sound Vol 3 Mischief
     1997 Fire On The Mountain Vol 2
(Reggae Celebrates The Grateful Dead)
 The Congos
     1999 Tie-Die Yippie Ki Yay McEuen & Salazar
     2000 Wake The Dead Danny Carnahan et al
     2000 Pickin' On The Grateful Dead Vol 2 David West et al
     2000 Live At The Maritime Hall The Congos
     2001 Pickin' On Jerry Garcia David West et al
     2001 Live At Twenty North Jake's Leg
     2003 Live From Berkeley David Nelson and Friends (note 4)
     2004 20 Degrees Of Solitude The Grass Is Dead
     2005 Retrospective Railroad Earth (note 5)
     2010 Songs Of The Grateful Dead Jesse McReynolds
     31 Dec 2010 Jerry Jams for Rex II Railroad Earth
     2011 The Wheel: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia Jesse McReynolds, David Nelson et al
     2012 Live At The 2012 Peach Music Festival Dark Star Orchestra
     14 May 2015 Dear Jerry: Celebrating The Music Of Jerry Garcia Phil Lesh & Communion
(1) included on a limited edition CD with advance copies of the book
(2) also on the compilation The Best Of Jerry Garcia; also plays on the soundtrack of the Grateful Dead Movie
(3) bonus tracks on the version of the album reissued in the box set All Good Things. The reissue also includes a track titled "Study for The Wheel"
(4) a live CD from KPFA featuring performances on "Dead To The World," issued as a fund-raiser
(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.
(6) also included as part of box set Spring 1990 (The Other One)

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 online chords and TAB see
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 2 (piano arrangement)
          Garcia Songbook (piano arrangement)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)


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