Box of Rain (5:18)

Cover of The Very Best Of Grateful Dead

From The Very Best Of Grateful Dead and 76 other releases

It was originally released on the GD’s fifth studio album, “American Beauty,” and was written by Phil Lesh (melody and vocal phrasing) with Robert Hunter, the band’s primary lyricist, writing the lyrics. The album was released in late 1970, making that year the only one in the band’s history to have two studio albums released in the same calendar year (“AB” and the earlier “Workingman’s Dead”). Lesh, the band’s bassist, was struggling with the fact that his father was dying of cancer at the time of the making of AB. Lesh would visit his father at the VA where the old man was dying after the bassist had spent hours with the rest of the band working on new tracks in the studio. He wanted a song he could sing to his dad while visiting. The fact of Lesh’s father’s illness and impending death provided the context for the song’s wistful and elegiac feel. Hunter has said in interviews that Lesh had already worked out the melody and the vocal patterns (Lesh scat-singing nonsense syllables to Hunter) and that his (Hunter’s) lyrics flowed pretty easily as a result. According to Hunter, the title “Box of Rain” refers to “the world we live in.” The song was, according to reliable sources, not performed live for the first time until about 2 years after the release of the album. Several artists have covered it.


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  • spaaceships

    such a long, long time to be gone, and a short time to be there...

    27 Apr 6:08pm Reply
  • breendaxx

    few songs make me feel as happy as this one <3

    29 Mar 11:14pm Reply
  • Alex_Darkness

    Freaks and Geeks brought me here [4]

    24 Feb 5:38pm Reply
  • alonsoiidx

    Freaks and Geeks brought me here

    2 Feb 7:20am Reply
  • ttimelady

    Freaks and Geeks brought me here [3] <3

    21 Dec 2014 Reply


    7 Dec 2014 Reply
  • AnaalForsage

    Like a moth before a flame

    31 Oct 2014 Reply
  • TheRealGrog

    This past fall I was one of a "lucky 13" group of Deadheads that got to meet Phil Lesh in person at WMMR in Philly when he stopped by the studio for a chat with Pierre Robert before his Tower Theater shows on the Fall Tour of Phil & Friends. Pierre asked him about Box of Rain and you could not only hear him getting choked up but I was in the front row and tears were forming as he was talking about the song and his dad. It was a very touching moment from my favorite musician and one i will never forget. It was still on YouTube last time i checked. Bless you Phil!

    21 Aug 2014 Reply
  • oldiesfanjohn

    For dear old Dads everywhere...... vibe.

    18 Jun 2014 Reply
  • kaihesse

    better than fracking

    9 May 2014 Reply
  • theironictea

    Freaks and Geeks brought me here!! <3 [2]

    13 Mar 2014 Reply
  • Kawww

    really lovely

    13 Feb 2014 Reply
  • tomvecc


    13 Feb 2014 Reply
  • way2blues

    like a moth before a flame.. I heard somewhere that Phil wrote this song while on way to see his father for the last time

    28 Dec 2013 Reply
  • atom217

    @Heal_ Me too, I totally wrote the Grateful Dead off before I saw that show!

    8 Nov 2013 Reply
  • Heal_

    Freaks and Geeks brought me here!! <3

    20 Jul 2013 Reply
  • Daniel_Green


    15 Jun 2013 Reply
  • Kawww

    believe it if you need it or leave it if you dare

    13 Jun 2013 Reply
  • Drazba

    great song from American beauty--donna on backround vocals--live with a good middle bridge---they could get ugly live but this is too bad

    7 Jun 2013 Reply
  • taijidave

    i've been a grateful dead fan for decades, but frankly the vocals on this version are pitiful and disgusting. garcia's lead guitar playing isnt that great either. I sure wish some of these guys wouldve cut back a bit on the heroin

    14 May 2013 Reply
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