WATCH: Grateful Dead ‘All The Years Live’ – “U.S. Blues” 10/18/74 Winterland Ballroom

This week’s edition of The Grateful Dead’s recurring YouTube series “All The Years Live” features the overtly political Garcia/Hunter rocker “U.S. Blues” from the 10/18/74 performance at San Fransisco’s legendary Winterland Ballroom. The audio from this version was infamously used as the soundtrack to director Gary Gutierrez’s short yet brilliant cartoon that was ultimately tapped as the opening sequence to “The Grateful Dead Movie”, which was released in 1977.

After making its debut as “Wave That Flag” in 1973, the lyrics & song structure were touched up a bit and the piece was renamed “U.S. Blues” in 1974, at which point it became a regular fixture in the group’s encore slot. Robert Hunter discussed the song’s origins in a 1986 interview with Relix: “I originally wrote it for the song which became Weir’s ‘One More Saturday Night.’ He took the lyrics and wrote some rock & roll changes, and then he decided to rewrite the lyrics. This was well and fine, but then he asked me if he could use the title ‘United States Blues.’ I said, ‘No, man, that’s my mine.’ So, he called his song ‘One More Saturday Night’ and I took the title ‘United States Blues’ and rewrote it again. And I gave it to Jerry this time.”

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