The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)

Lyrics: Grateful Dead
Music: Grateful Dead

From the Grateful Dead's first album. It was credited on the original LP to McGanahan Skjellyfetti, a pseudonym for the Grateful Dead. On the CD in the box set "The Golden Road (1965-1973)" it is credited to Bill Kreutzmann/Phil Lesh/Ron McKernan/Bob Weir - no Garcia. On the 50th Anniversary version it is (I think correctly) credited to Garcia/Weir/McKernan/Lesh/Kreutzmann.

Garcia gave a couple of accounts of the writing of this song:

"After we recorded the album they said, 'We still haven't got anything here that'd be a strong single.' So we said, 'Ah, a strong single, sure!' So we went home and wrote a song.'Wow, this'll be a good single.'"
"This was recorded after we recorded the body of the album, and [it's] a new song; we were thinking specifically of a single, so we just played around, and came up with some nice changes and cooperated on the entire thing, and came up with the Golden Road, which is a good song; I mean it's like really fun to sing and fun to play ... and it seems like a good single, whatever that is - we thought it could be a single."
See that girl barefooting along
Whistling and singing, she's a-carrying on
Got laughing in her eyes, dancing in her feet
She's a neon light diamond, she can live on the street

Hey, hey, come right away
Come and join the party every day
Hey, hey, come right away
Come and join the party every day

Well, everybody's dancing in a ring around the sun
Nobody's finished, we ain't even begun
So take off your shoes, child, and take off your hat
Try on your wings and find out where it's at


Take a vacation, fall out for a while
Summer's coming in and it's going outa style
Well, lie down smoking, honey, have yourself a ball
'Cause your mother's down in Memphis, won't be back till the fall

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     studio 1967 The Grateful Dead (note 1) (note 2) (note 4)
      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.)
In a 1967 episode of the BBC's Whicker's World titled "The Love Generation" there is film at about 15:30 of the Grateful Dead playing The Golden Road. It looks like a live performance but might be the Dead miming to the studio version. (thanks to Chris Jones for pointing this out to me)
Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1994 The Infinite Summer Of Love The Beast
     1994 The Bobs Cover The Songs Of ... The Bobs (note 3)
     2005 Jerry Jams, Jerry Cares One Cat Left
     2013 Yoga Tribute To Grateful Dead Vol 2 Yoga Pop Ups
     2013 The Scoops Are On Their Way Frankenstein 3000
     2019 Chip's Picks Vol 2 High Time
(1) also on the compilations Skeletons From The Closet, The Very Best Of The Grateful Dead and The Best Of The Grateful Dead.
(2) also plays on the soundtrack of the Grateful Dead Movie
(3) also on the compilation "Stolen Roses"
(4) also released as the Grateful Dead 7" single volume 2.

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)
          Very Best Of The Grateful Dead (guitar TAB)


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