Then a memory popped in my head. I was about 8 years old, in a video store (remember those?) with my dad in my hometown of Miami. I was bored and all of the sudden I was enraptured by the song coming out of the speakers.
I remember walking around and standing right under the speaker so I could hear it better. It was “Fire on the Mountain”. I knew it was special and I connected with it, but I didn’t know why. It’s one of my most vivid musical memories of my childhood.
When I got that news, it was as if someone I knew had died. Like many others, I instantly burst into tears, even though I was in the middle of a buttoned up office and all my co-workers were looking at me like I was crazy.
I am most likely the biggest Grateful Dead fan in KCRW’s music department (Ariana Morgenstern loves them too!). And, on the anniversary of what would have been his 70th birthday, I wanted to pay tribute in some small way.
I’m not the only indie music lover obsessed with the Dead (I mean, give me “Sugaree” from Dicks Picks ANY time and I’m a happy lady). The National have a Grateful Dead covers album in the works and Dent May recently released the following cover of Shakedown Street.
Ryan Adams is also a huge fan and I have to end, appropriately, with his live cover of “He’s Gone”. Love you Jerry, thanks for everything.
p.s. On June 12, 1980, at the exact moment Mt St Helens erupted for a third time, blowing the top off, the Grateful Dead were playing “Fire on the Mountain” at the Portland Memorial Coliseum, 60 miles away