I can’t imagine a better lyric...

I can’t imagine a better lyric...
Authored By John Nicholson

This was the first Dead album I ever bought in 1979. It was quite a departure from my usual rock n roll boog-a-loo of the time. More sophisticated and jazzy than my screaming guitar solo drenched music. Maybe it was a sign I was growing up. The truth is I was still too young for its pleasures with the exception of Stella Blue and the closing Weather Report Suite.
To this day, I love Stella Blue. It speaks even louder now.

‘All the years combine
They melt into a dream’

Don’t they just. Robert Hunter’s lyrics are timeless and I think I appreciated that even at 17. The song is so fragile, it could be blown away like the sand, at any moment.

‘In the end there's just a song
Comes crying like the night 
Through all the broken dreams
And vanished years’

If that doesn’t speak all our truths, I can’t imagine a better lyric. There’s something profound and eternal about it the frailty of mortality about it.

‘It all rolls into one
And nothing comes for free
There's nothing you can hold
For very long
And when you hear that song
Come crying like the wind
It seems like all this life
Was just a dream
Stella Blue’

It really moved me as a kid and was a comfort that this too shall pass. And given the broken, dysfunctional home I was living in, that was important to know.

And optimism was at the heart of the appeal of Weather Report Suite.

‘Winter grey and falling rain, we'll see summer come again,
Darkness falls and seasons change (gonna happen every time).
Same old friends the wind and rain, Summers fade and roses die,
You'll see summer come again, Like a song that's born to soar the sky.’

In insistent, driving music, I could hold such thoughts closely and know better times were coming. And as anyone who's going through tough times knows, that is so important; a life line to cling on to. 

I grew to love Eyes Of The World, the extended version on ‘Without A Net’ is sublime with Branford Marsalis on sax. The whole album is still a favourite and it’s not what most people think of when you mention the band. 

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