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Grateful Dead - Touch Of Grey (1987)

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  • 80's Score 80's score: 1.09

"Touch of Grey" is a 1987 single by the Grateful Dead, and is from the album In the Dark. The song is known for its refrain ...

"Touch of Grey" is a 1987 single by the Grateful Dead, and is from the album In the Dark. The song is known for its refrain "I will get by / I will survive". It combines dark lyrics in the verses with upbeat pop instrumentation. The music was composed by Jerry Garcia, and the lyrics were written by Robert Hunter. It was also released as a music video, the first one by the Grateful Dead.

First performed as an encore on September 15, 1982 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, it was finally released on In the Dark in 1987. The song got into the top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 9, and reached number 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, the only song by the band ever to do so on both charts. It was released as a single with "My Brother Esau" and later "Throwing Stones", and has appeared on a number of albums and collections.

Music video

The music video for "Touch of Grey" gained major airplay on MTV and featured a live performance of the band, first shown to be life-size skeleton marionettes dressed as the band, then as themselves. The skeleton of bassist Phil Lesh catches a rose in its teeth, thrown by a female attendee; later, a dog steals the lower leg of percussionist Mickey Hart, and a stagehand hurries to retrieve and reattach it. Near the end of the video, the camera pans up into the rafters to reveal that the living band members are themselves marionettes being operated by a pair of skeletal hands.

The video was directed by Gary Gutierrez, who had previously created the animation sequences for The Grateful Dead Movie. It was filmed at Laguna Seca Raceway after one of the band's concerts in May 1987.

The popularity of the single and its video helped introduce the Grateful Dead to a new group of fans, resulting in the band gaining additional mainstream attention.