Tangled Up In Blue

Lyrics: Bob Dylan
Music: Bob Dylan

Played by Dylan with the Grateful Dead (and more recently with The Dead), as well as by Jerry Garcia with the JGB; but not by the Grateful Dead on their own. Covered in 2012 by Phil Lesh & Friends.

Early one morning the sun was shinin'
I was layin' in bed (note 1)
Wondering if she'd changed at all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said that our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like Mama's home-made dress
Papa's bank book wasn't big enough
And I was standing on the side of the road
Rain falling on my shoes
Heading out for the old east coast
Lord knows I've paid some dues (note 2)
Getting through
Tangled up in blue

She was married when we first met (note 3)
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam I guess
But I used a little too much force
We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out west
Split up on the docks that night
Both agreeing it was best
She turned around to look at me
As I was walking away
I heard her say over her shoulder
We'll meet again some day
On the avenue
Tangled up in Blue

I had a job in the great north woods (note 4)
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the axe just fell
So I drifted down to New Orleans
My luck it was to be employed
Workin' for a while on a fishing boat
Right outside of Delacroix
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind
And I just grew
Tangled up in blue

She was working in topless place (note 5)
And I stopped in for a beer
I just kept looking at the side of her face
In the spotlight so clear
And later on when the crowd thinned out
I was just about to do the same
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me Don't I know your name
I muttered something underneath my breath
She studied the lines on my face
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces
Of my shoe
Tangled up in blue

She lit a burner on the stove
And offered me a pipe
I thought you'd never say hello she said
You look like the silent type
Then open up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century
And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burning coal
Pourin' off of every page
Like it was written in my soul
From me to you
Tangled up in blue

I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air
Then he started dealing in slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside
And when finally the bottom fell out (note 6)
I became withdrawn
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keeping on
Like a bird that flew
Tangled up in blue

So now I'm going on back again
I got to get to her somehow
All the people we used to know
They're an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenters wives
Don't know how it all got started
I don't know what they do with their lives
But me, I'm still on the road
Headin' for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point
Of view
Tangled up in blue

Tangled up in blue
Tangled up in blue

(1) Dylan sang "He" instead of "I" in the first four verses with the Grateful Dead. He also did that when the song was first being developed - see below for more variants.
(2) Dylan sang "Ready now to pay some dues."
(3) Dylan sang this verse out of sequence - after the verse "She lit a burner on the stove."
(4) Dylan screwed up this verse completely:starting half way through, then repeating himself.
(5) Dylan missed out this verse.
(6) Dylan sang "When it all came crashing down."

Jerry Garcia Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     30 Jul 1977 Pure Jerry 1: Theater 1839 Jerry Garcia Band
     studio 1982 Run For The Roses Jerry Garcia Band (note a)
     29 Aug 1987 Electric On The Eel Jerry Garcia Band
     25 Oct 1987 Pure Jerry 3: Lunt-Fontanne: Best Of The Rest Jerry Garcia Band
     28 Oct 1987 On Broadway: Act One Jerry Garcia Band
     10 Jun 1989 Electric On The Eel Jerry Garcia Band
      1 Sep 1989 Pure Jerry 5: Merriweather Post Pavilion Jerry Garcia Band
      6 Sep 1989 Fall 1989: The Long Island Sound Jerry Garcia Band
     16 Sep 1989 Garcia Live Volume 13 Jerry Garcia Band
     20 May 1990 Garcia Live Volume 10 Jerry Garcia Band
      5 Aug 1990 Garcia Live Volume 2 Jerry Garcia Band
      8 Aug 1990 Jerry Garcia Band Jerry Garcia Band
      1 Sep 1990 Live At Shoreline (DVD) Jerry Garcia Band
     23 Nov 1991 Garcia Live Volume 8 Jerry Garcia Band
     31 Oct 1992 Jerry Garcia Plays Dylan Jerry Garcia Band
Other Dead-Related Recordings
      2006 Keepers Of The Flame Melvin Seals and JGB
     2012 Run For The Roses Greg Anton et al (Rex Foundation)
(a) bonus track on the reissued album included in the box set All Good Things

Dylan variations

Bob Dylan sang several variations when the song was being developed - as recorded on "The Bootleg Series Volume 14". Among the most notable were:
So he drifted down to L.A., where he reckoned to try his luck
Working for a while in an airplane plant, loading cargo onto a truck
He was always in a hurry, too busy or too stoned
And everything that she ever planned just had to be postponed
He thought they were successful, she thought they were blessed
With objects and material things but I never was impressed
And when it all came crashing in I became withdrawn
[etc as in recorded version]

Further Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com
For sheet music, see:
          Jerry Garcia Songbook (vocal line and chords)


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