What's Become Of The Baby

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Recorded by the Grateful Dead for their 'Aoxomoxoa' album released in 1969. The re-mixed recording, released in 1972, dropped many of the effects used on the original version of this track.

It was never played live by the Grateful Dead. Once, on 26 April 1969, the recorded version was played over the PA during 'feedback'.

Waves of violet go crashing and laughing
Rainbow winged singing birds fly round the sun
Sunbells rain down in a liquid profusion
Mermaids on porpoises draw up the dawn

What's become of the baby
This cold December morning

Songbirds frozen in their flight
Drifting to the earth
Remnants of forgotten dreaming
Calling; answer comes there none
Go to sleep you child
Dream of never ending always

Panes of crystal
Eyes sparkle like waterfalls
Lighting the polished ice caverns of Khan
But where in the looking-glass fields of illusion
Wandered the child who was perfect as dawn

What's become of the baby
This cold December morning
What's become of the baby
This cold December morning

Racing, rhythms of the sun
All the world revolves
Captured in the eye of Odin
Allah, pray where are you now
All Mohammed's men blinded by the sparkling waters

Sheherezade gathering stories to tell
From primal gold fantasy petals that fall
But where is the child
Who played with the sun chimes
And chased the cloud sheep
To the regions of rhyme

Stranded cries the south wind
Lost in the regions of lead
Shackled by chains of illusion
Delusions of living and dead
Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     studio 1969 Aoxomoxoa
Recordings by other artists
     2009 Henry Kaiser Plays Dead Henry Kaiser
     2016 Day Of The Dead s t a r g a z a

Robert Hunter explained something of the background to how the recording came about during a concert on 10 June 2003:
I think a lot of people don't realise that "What's Become Of The Baby" was a very beautiful, art-nouveau kind of thing. But the thing was, Jimi Hendrix was going to come over to the studio, so we decided to get it good and weird so he could hear it.

I'll just start it, to give you an idea how Jerry originally wrote it, and what it was intended to sound like. I won't get the chords right, so I'll just sing a verse.

[sings first verse and chorus]

It was a minuet, but we already had one minuet on the record, which was "Mountains Of The Moon," so we just got really ripped and decided to screw with it bad!

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 sheet music, see:
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)


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