Passenger

Lyrics: Peter Monk
Music: Phil Lesh

Firefly
Can you see me?
Shine on, glowing
Brief and brightly

Could you imagine (note 1)
One summer day
That same night
Be on your way

Do you remember?
Hearts were too cold
Seasons had frozen us (note 2)
Into our souls

People were saying
The whole world is burning
Ashes were scattered
Too hard to turn (note 3)

Chorus
Upside out
Or inside down
False alarm, the only game in town
No man's land, the only game in town (note 4)
Terrible, the only game in town

Passenger
Don't you hear me?
Destination
Seen unclearly

What is a man
Deep down inside
But a raging beast
With nothing to hide

[chorus]
Out-takes from the Terrapin Station album sessions reveal that when the song was being developed, the lyrics after the first chorus were sung in a different order and included additional verses:
Jet plane shadows
Under the sky
Just like the elephant
Planning to die

What is a man
Deep down inside
But a raging beast
With nothing to hide

[chorus]

Passenger
Don't you hear me?
Destination
Seen unclearly

Ask me no questions
Sing you no names
No more mysteries
Simple games
Notes
(1) it sounds to me as if this line may sung as be "Can you measure"
(2) Ted Syrett suggests this couplet should be "Seasons had frozen ice into our souls" - that would fit well and it sounds as if it's what the Dead sing in the recording on "Dead Set." But earler recordings definitely sound like "Seasons had frozen us" as in the sheet music - and Larry Bingo says it's definitely "us" noy "ice" in the version on Terrapin Station.
(3) this is the line in the sheet music, but I'm not sure it's right. It sounds more like "Too far in to turn."
(4) Ted Syrett suggests that on Dead Set, these two lines are sung as "You and I, the only game in town/Now we're the only game in town." I'm not sure I hear that, but it's an interesting variation.

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     Studio 1977 Terrapin Station (note 5)
     15 May 1977 May 1977 Box Set
     17 May 1977 May 1977 Box Set
     19 May 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 29 (note 6)
     21 May 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 29
     26 May 1977 30 Days Of The Dead (2012)
     28 May 1977 To Terrapin: Hartford '77
      8 Jun 1977 Winterland June 1977 - The Complete Recordings
      5 Feb 1978 Dick's Picks Vol 18
     24 Apr 1978 Dave's Picks Volume 7
     21 Oct 1978 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 4 ("From Egypt With Love")
      4 May 1979 Live At The Coliseum
      7 May 1979 30 Days Of The Dead (2013)
      5 Nov 1979 Road Trips Full Show: Spectrum 11/5/79
     10 Nov 1979 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 1
     11 Oct 1980 Dead Set
     26 Feb 1981 30 Days Of The Dead (2011)

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section

"The Dead" Concert Recordings
 
Phil Lesh and Friends Recordings
      Jan 2002 There And Back Again
     19 May 2006 Live At The Warfield

Phil Lesh and Friends Digital Download Series

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs
 
Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1999 Terrapin Joe Gallant & Illuminati

Notes
(5) also on the compilation "The Arista Years"
(6) also included on the Best Of The Grateful Dead Hour. It was intended as a track on "So Many Roads (1965-1995)" but left off due to lack of space--though included on a sampler circulated to radio stations. It was for a while available as a free download from Amazon, but no longer seems to be.

Background
In an interview in issue 28 of Dupree's Diamond News, Phil Lesh said:
"What's weird about that song is I sort of did it as a joke. It's a take on a Fleetwood Mac tune called "Station Man." I just sort of sped it up and put some different chord changes in there..."
Fleetwood Mac's "Station Man" was included on their 1970 album "Kiln House" and it's certainly possible to hear the links to Passenger.
Station man
I've been waiting
Can you tell me
When we're leaving

Midnight train
Now is leaving
Engine screaming

Where I'm going I don't know
But you tell me I must go
When we're leaving I don't know
But you tell me now

I see it's coming
And bringing something
This train of loving
I see it's coming
I feel it's running
This train of loving
From ages past

Station man
I've been waiting
Can you tell me
When we're leaving

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 online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 1 (piano arrangement)

 


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