Casey Jones (song)

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"Casey Jones"
Song by Grateful Dead
from the album Workingman's Dead
Released June 14, 1970
Recorded Pacific High Recording Studio
San Francisco, California
Genre Rock
Length 4:24
Label Warner Bros.
Composer(s) Jerry Garcia
Lyricist(s) Robert Hunter
Producer(s) Bob Matthews
Betty Cantor
Grateful Dead
Workingman's Dead track listing
"Easy Wind"
"Casey Jones"

"Casey Jones" is a song by the American rock band the Grateful Dead. The music was written by Jerry Garcia, and the lyrics are by Robert Hunter. Hunter stated in a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone that "Casey Jones" didn't start out as a song, it just suddenly popped into my mind: "driving that train, high on cocaine, Casey Jones, you better watch your speed." I just wrote that down and I went on to whatever else I was doing, and some time later I came across it and thought, "That's the germ of a pretty good song."[1] The song first appeared on the Dead's 1970 album Workingman's Dead. Subsequently it was included on a number of their live albums.[2]

The Grateful Dead played "Casey Jones" in concert on a regular basis from June 1969 through October 1974. After that, they continued playing it live, but less often. In total they performed the song in concert more than 300 times.[3]

"Casey Jones" is about a railroad engineer who is on the verge of a train wreck due to his train going too fast, a sleeping switch man, and another train being on the same track and headed for him. Jones is described as being "high on cocaine" (the song even makes a double entendre of advising Jones to "watch his speed"). It was inspired by the story of an actual engineer named Casey Jones. The engineer's exploits were also sung of in an earlier folk song called "The Ballad of Casey Jones," which the Grateful Dead played live several times.

"Casey Jones" has received significant airplay on progressive rock, album-oriented rock, and classic rock radio stations over the years, and so is one of the Dead's songs that is more recognizable by non-Deadheads.[4]

The song was released as a downloadable track for the game Rock Band on March 4, 2008.

Cover versions[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Robert Hunter on Grateful Dead's Early Days & 'Sacred' Songs". Retrieved 22 October 2016. 
  2. ^ "Grateful Dead Family Discography: Casey Jones". Retrieved 22 October 2016. 
  3. ^ Scott, John W; Dolgushkin, Mike; Nixon, Stu. DeadBase XI: The Complete Guide to Grateful Dead Song Lists, 1999, DeadBase, ISBN 1-877657-22-0, p. 131, 159-160
  4. ^ Dodd, David. "The Annotated "Casey Jones"". The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics. UCSC's Division of the Arts. Retrieved January 12, 2008. 
  5. ^ Keller Williams album for REX charity Archived 2008-06-11 at the Wayback Machine.,, May 15, 2008, Retrieved May 7, 2008.

Browne, David. 'Robert Hunter On Grateful Dead's Early Days, Wild Tours, 'Sacred' Songs'. Rolling Stone. N.p., 2015. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.

External links[edit]