To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead, JamBase teamed with Telefunken to produce the Songs Of Their Own 50-day tribute series featuring a daily cover of a Grateful Dead original song. Today we present our grand finale 50th video, a Playing For Change Songs Around The World rendition of “Ripple,” set to coincide with tonight’s final Fare Thee Well show in Chicago. With a focus solely on Grateful Dead original songs, we asked many of our favorite artists to record cover versions at the JamBase office in San Francisco, at one of the many venues around the Bay Area, at Telefunken’s Connecticut studios and beyond. No song was allowed to be covered twice, and today’s bevy of participants from around the world assembled by Playing For Change handed us down “Ripple.”
The first song on side two of the 1970 album American Beauty, “Ripple” was written by Robert Hunter during a remarkable afternoon writing session in London that also produced “Brokedown Palace” and “To Lay Me Down.” Featuring a poignantly memorable chorus – itself a haiku – and sung by Jerry Garcia, “Ripple” made its live debut on August 18, 1970 at San Francisco’s Fillmore West. Played only a few subsequent times through 1971, “Ripple” became a setlist staple upon its return during the acoustic sets at The Dead’s historic 1980 run at the Warfield in San Francisco and Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Two more performances in 1981, and a final rendition on September 3, 1988 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland brought an end to the rarely played song. “Ripple” was played on Friday night at Soldier Field, filling the encore slot to close out the first night of Fare Thee Well in Chicago.
The long-in-the-making Playing For Change Around The World rendition of “Ripple” was filmed at various locations in America, Israel, Italy, Congo, Argentina and Ghana featuring such legendary American musicians as David Crosby, Jimmy Buffett and David Hidalgo joined by an International cast of performers. We wouldn’t feel right ending our series without members of the Grateful Dead family, so we’re excited that drummer Bill Kreutzmann and vocalist Keelin Garcia contributed to “Ripple.”
Head here to explore our Songs Of Their Own homepage featuring The New Mastersounds, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, John Scofield & John Medeski, Yonder Mountain String Band, Incidental Animals, Keller Williams and more or watch each entry via the YouTube Playlist below.