The Other One

Lyrics: Bob Weir
Music: Bob Weir/Bill Kreutzmann

There is longstanding confusion over the title of this song. See the notes on the suite That's It For The Other One for an explanation. The Grateful Dead's recordings are not always consistent in the titles they give - see the footnotes to the discography information below.

The regular lyrics to this are as follows:

Spanish lady come to me, she lays on me this rose
It rainbow spirals round and round, it trembles and explodes
It left a smoking crater of my mind I like to blow away
But the heat came round and busted me for smiling on a cloudy day

Chorus
Coming, coming, coming around
Coming around, coming around, in a circle
Coming, coming, coming around
Coming around, coming around, in a circle

Escaping through the lily fields, I came across an empty space (note 1)
It trembled and exploded, left a bus stop in its place
The bus came by and I got on, that's when it all began
There was Cowboy Neal at the wheel of the bus to never ever land (note 2)

[chorus]
When the song was being developed, Bobby sang several variants on the final lyrics. See below for transcriptions.

Notes
(1) the sheet music has this as "While skipping through a lily field ..." That was one of the variants Bobby sang while the song was being developed. Bobby also sang "I was tripping though the lilly fields" on at least one occasion: 14 February 1968 (thanks to Brian Schnapp for this information).
(2) I think Bobby sings "never ever land" rather than "never never land" (as in Peter Pan), but it's not easy to tell. (Thanks to Dan Franzen for pointing this out)


Grateful Dead Recordings

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section

Other Dead-related Recordings

"The Dead" Concert Recordings

Ratdoglive CDs and downloads

Phil Lesh and Friends Digital Download Series

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs

Bob Weir Solo Acoustic Live!

Mickey Hart Downloads

Scaring The Children Downloads

Other Recordings


Origins

Bob Weir and Phil Lesh gave the following account of the origins of "The Other One" in an interview with David Gans following the release of "Hundred Year Hall"
Weir: Interesting story with "The Other One." It was one of the first tunes I ever wrote. Actually, we came up with the "map," basically, for the song in a rehearsal somewhere, just kickin' stuff around. And then I took it and started shaping it up, and things like that. We went on a tour in the Pacific Northwest, and I was - you know, I was not done with it, I was wondering what the song was about - and then one night it sort of came to me. Basically, it's a little fantastic episode about my meeting Neal Cassady. I wrote the two verses - that's all there is to it, really, is two verses - and we played the gig that night and came home the next day, and when we came home we learned the news that Neal had died that night.
DG: Wow.
Weir: As legend has it, he died counting the railroad ties on the tracks -
Lesh: From Dallas to Denver.
Weir: Something like that. San Miguel de Allende [Mexico], I think, is where he was.
Lesh: Okay.
Weir: So I guess that was a little visitation, that's - not unlike Neal.
Lesh: But if I remember correctly, as soon as you had the words, then we did the song.
Weir: Yeah.
Lesh: I mean, we did it that night
DG: Wow.
Lesh: It didn't require any rehearsal.
Weir: Right.
Lesh: [laugh]
DG: I remember a version from a little bit earlier, maybe late in '67. You had a different set of lyrics - a second verse that went, "The heat down at the jail/They weren't very smart," or something like that...
Weir: Yeah, that was after my little -
Lesh: Water balloon episode?
DG: Oh, I wanna hear this!
Weir: I got him good. I was on the third floor of our place in the Haight-Ashbury, and there was this cop who was illegally searching a car belonging to a friend of ours down on the street - the cops used to harass us every chance they got. They didn't care for the hippies back then. So I had a water balloon, and what was I gonna do with this water balloon, come on.
Lesh: Just happened to have a water balloon, in his hand, ladies and gentlemen.
Weir: And so I got him right square on the head -
Lesh: A prettier shot you never saw.
Weir: - and, uh, he couldn't tell where it was comin' from, but then I had to go and go downstairs and walk across the street and just grin at him -
Lesh, MM, DG: [guffaw]
Weir: - and sorta rub it in a little bit.
DG: Smilin' on a cloudy day! I understand now.
MM: It all becomes clear.
Weir: At that point he decided to hell with due process of law, this kid's goin' to jail. He didn't have a thing on me . It never got to court, but on the other hand, I did get thrown in jail and beat up a little bit.
MM:  You just happened to have that water balloon handy, it was kind of just like standard procedure.
Weir: He was the guy that was breakin' the law, too, the cop was.
MM: That's, that's - I agree.
Weir: I guess - what, what does a water balloon amount to, is that assault with a, uh...
DG: Friendly weapon.
MM: With a moist weapon.
Lesh, DG: [laugh]
MM: That goes under the water laws.
DG: [laugh]
MM: And if it was tap water, that also...
Lesh: Disrespect for an officer.
Weir: Right.
DG: That was enough in those days, as I recall.

Development of the lyrics
These are transcriptions of the way the song developed in its early incarnations (thanks to Dave Sorochty for his help with these).
22 October 1967
When I woke up this morning, my head was not intact (note aa)
I asked my friends about it, try to find out where it's at
A wind came up inside of me, blew the dust clouds all away
The heat came round and busted me for smiling on a cloudy day

Well the heat down in jail, they weren't very smart
They taught me how to read and write, they taught me the precious art
Of breaking out of jail, well I learned that right away
Well they didn't need me to telling them 'bout smiling first then running away

10 November 1967
I woke up this morning my head was not in sight
I would ask the walls about it, but they vanished overnight
I could not think or spell my name, or fly their words away
And the heat came round and busted me for smiling on a cloudy day

Escaping through the lily fields, when I came across an empty space
It quivered and exploded, left a bus stop in its place
Well a bus came by and I got on, that's when it all began
There was Cowboy Neal at the wheel of a bus to never ever land

11 November 1967
Well I woke up this morning, with the sky in sight
I would ask the walls about it, but they vanished overnight
I could not think to spell my name, I find there was no way
The heat came round and busted me for smiling on a cloudy day

I was dancing through the lily fields, when I came across an empty space
Quivered and exploded, left a bus stop in its place
A bus came by and I got on, thats when it all began
There was Cowboy Neal, at the wheel, of a bus to never-ever land

22 January 1968
I woke up this morning, my head was not in sight
I would ask the walls about it, but they vanished overnight
I could not think or spell my name, or fly there was no way
And the heat came round and busted me for smiling on a cloudy day

I was skipping through the lily fields, when I came across an empty space
It quivered and exploded, left a bus stop in its place
The bus came by and I got on, that's when it all began
There was Cowboy Neal at the wheel of a bus to never-ever land

17 January 1968
[same as 22 Jan except for "When I woke up this morning ..." and "The heat ..." (no "And")]

23 January 1968
[same as 22 Jan except for "When I woke up this morning ..." and "I could not think to spell my name ..."]

2 February 1968
[same as 22 Jan except for "When I woke up this morning ..." and "A bus came by and I got on ...]

3 February 1968
A Spanish lady comes to me, she lays on me this rose
It rainbows, spirals round and round, it trembles and explodes
It left my mind, crater of a mind..., what the hey (note bb)
And the heat came round and busted me for smiling on a cloudy day

I was skipping through the lily fields, when I came across an empty space
It quivered and exploded, left a bus stop in its place
The bus came by and I got on, thats when it all began
There was Cowboy Neal, at the wheel, of a bus to never-ever land
Notes
(aa) it would make more sense if this was "... my head was not attached" but Dave has listened exhaustively and "intact" is what Weir sings.
(bb) Bobby presumably forgets the new lyrics!


Futher Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For information on references in the lyrics see David Dodd's Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
For David Dodd's discussion of this song on dead.net see Greatest Stories Ever Told
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Hundred Year Hall songbook (guitar TAB)

 


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