Europe '72

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Europe '72
A painting of the Earth with a foot stepping over it, both of which are underneath a rainbow that stretches between two golden pots
The "Truckin' Foot" stepping over Europe
Live album by
ReleasedNovember 1, 1972 (1972-11-01)[1]
RecordedApril–May 1972
LabelWarner Bros.
3WX 2668
Grateful Dead chronology
Grateful Dead
Europe '72
History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear's Choice)
Singles from Europe '72
  1. "Sugar Magnolia"
    Released: December 1972[2]

Europe '72 is a live triple album by the Grateful Dead, released in November 1972. It is the band's third live album and their eighth album overall. It covers the band's tour of Western Europe in April and May that year, and showcases live favourites, extended improvisations and several new songs including "Jack Straw" and "Brown Eyed Women". The album was the first to include pianist Keith Godchaux and his wife, vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux, and the last to feature founding member Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, who died shortly after its release.

The European tour was expensive and logistically complicated, and the band's record company hoped that a live album would recoup its costs. Consequently, the entire tour was recorded, with highlights making it onto the final release. Europe '72 is one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums by the Dead. It was one of the first triple-record rock albums to be certified gold by RIAA; the album has since been certified double platinum. A second volume was released in 2011, in conjunction with the release of the entire 22-date tour as Europe '72: The Complete Recordings.


Prior to the Grateful Dead's 1972 tour of Western Europe, the band had undergone several changes in personnel. Drummer/percussionist Mickey Hart left the group in early 1971, making Bill Kreutzmann the group's sole drummer once again. Keyboardist Keith Godchaux was recruited, in September 1971, initially to augment founding member Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, who had been hospitalized and was experiencing increasingly poor health.[3] Additionally, Godchaux's wife Donna (a former session singer who had worked with Percy Sledge and Elvis Presley) officially joined the band as a backup vocalist in March, shortly before the tour commenced.[4][5]

As the band became more popular and they were booked into larger venues, the touring entourage encompassed extra road crew, administrative staff, friends and relatives, growing to 43 people who became known as the "Grateful Dead Family".[6] The tour began with two nights at the Empire Pool, Wembley on April 7–8, 1972.[7] It progressed through Denmark, Germany (including an appearance on the TV Show Beat Club) and France.[8] The Dead returned to the UK to play the Bickershaw Festival on May 7 (Kreutzmann's birthday),[9] progressing through Continental Europe again (including a show recorded for Radio Luxembourg) and ending with a four-night stand at the Lyceum Theatre, London on May 23–26.[10] The final show was the last that featured McKernan as a lead vocalist;[11] he performed at one more show the following month before retiring from music, dying in March 1973.[12][13]

By the time the tour started, lead guitarist Jerry Garcia had switched from using the Gibson SG to a 1959 Fender Stratocaster. He had become increasingly influenced by country and traditional American music.[14] Songs such as "Jack Straw" stemmed from these influences,[15] while "Cumberland Blues" and "Tennessee Jed" had lyrics relating to American historical culture.[16] "Truckin'", which was then the band's biggest hit single, talked about the band's experiences on the road. The Dead began performing "China Cat Sunflower" (from Aoxomoxoa) as a medley with the traditional "I Know You Rider", linking their psychedelic past with the group's new direction.[17]


The band hoped that the expensive trip to Europe would be financially offset by the release of a live-album documentation of the tour. Consequently, the Dead’s record label, Warner Bros., paid for the band to travel with a professional 16-track recorder.[18]

Europe '72 was the third live album by the Dead in as many years, showcasing how the group's reputation was based on live shows.[14] The album contained mostly new material, in addition to live arrangements of tracks found on previous studio albums. Garcia continued his songwriting collaboration with lyricist Robert Hunter.[14] Rhythm guitarist Bob Weir also collaborated with Hunter, though the pair subsequently fell out, leading Weir to collaborate with John Perry Barlow after Europe '72.[19] Pigpen made his third singing-songwriting contribution to a Dead album, writing "Mr. Charlie" with Hunter.[20] The new songs were never officially released in studio form except "One More Saturday Night", which came out as a single to promote the tour and then appeared on Bob Weir's solo album, Ace. Consequently, Europe '72 was treated as a new-material release as much as a live retrospective, and the new songs on the album were considered definitive versions.[5]

Although Europe '72 is billed as a live album, the songs were subject to various studio overdubs, particularly vocals. Several of the songs with Garcia on lead vocals were pitched sharp by as much as a half-step.[21] Weir later said that the overdubbing was a mutual decision by the band and the record company, and both were happy to polish up the album for release.[22]


The "Truckin' Fool" smashing ice cream against his head

Europe '72, like other Grateful Dead cover art, was designed by Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse (known as Kelly/Mouse studios). The album was originally published as a triple-LP with an accompanying booklet. In contrast to the band's previous albums, the artwork is set against white, mostly-empty panels of (originally) a triple gatefold sleeve. The front cover shows a large "Truckin'" foot stepping across the Atlantic to Europe. The back cover depicts the corresponding "Truckin' Fool" smashing an ice cream cone against his forehead. Airborne drops of ice cream are drawn as a text ambigram, indistinctly spelling the word "LIVE".[23]

The inside credits list all 43 members of the touring entourage such as Carolyn "Mountain Girl" Garcia. A color booklet contains photos of European sites and the concerts (including part of the entourage waiting to board a DFDS ferry at Newcastle), references to Revelation and the Feast of Fools, and a long account of how the tour split into two factions, the "Bozos" and the "Bolos". The conclusion is the first appearance of the epithet "There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert".[23]


Europe '72 was released on November 1, 1972, reaching No. 24 in the Billboard charts.[24] The album was the first to feature Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux.[5] It was also the last to feature McKernan. Several songs on which he sang lead were retired after the tour's finale at the Lyceum.[25]

An edited version of the album's "Sugar Magnolia" was released as a 7" single, with "Mr. Charlie" as the B-side.[26]


Europe '72 was reissued as a two-disc CD in 1990 and again in 2001, with bonus tracks, as part of The Golden Road (1965–1973) box set. This version was subsequently released independently in 2003, which also has the covers reversed, with "The Fool" on the front.[27] A sequel, Europe '72 Volume 2, was released in 2011. It contains songs that were played on the tour but not included on the original album, including a lengthy jam of "Dark Star" and "The Other One".[28]

Fans have rated the album highly, and there was demand to hear recordings of the entire tour. In September 2011, all 22 shows were released as Europe '72: The Complete Recordings, a 73-CD box set. Due to higher than expected demand, the 7,200 numbered copies of the box set sold out as a pre-order in less than four days. The first three thousand copies ordered had an option for custom personalisation. A music-only version (without the box set's steamer trunk and accoutrements) was also given a limited release.[21]

A 50th Anniversary Edition of Europe '72 was released on July 29, 2022. The album was remastered and reissued as a two-disc CD and as a three-disc LP, as well as a digital download. A limited-edition three-disc LP on rainbow-colored vinyl was released on June 3, 2022.[29]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideB+[31]
Rolling Stone(favorable)[32]

Europe 72 was a commercial success, remaining in the US album charts for 24 weeks.[4][33] It has since become one of the most successful Grateful Dead albums in terms of sales, and has been certified Double Platinum, selling over 1,000,000 copies.[34][35]

The album was well received by music critics. Tom Dupree's contemporary review in Rolling Stone praised the sound fidelity and musicianship, especially Garcia's lead guitar playing: "He displays more sheer savvy of the guitar fretboard and its incorporation — but not sublimation — into the rock milieu than anyone I can think of". He also said "there are riffs of all kinds liberally scattered throughout".[32] In 2015, the journal listed the album as number 19 in their top 50 live albums of all time.[36] A retrospective AllMusic review praised Pigpen's contributions, ranking them as some of the best in his career, and noted the triple-LP format allowed the group's extended concert jams to be presented faithfully on record.[30] A retrospective in Modern Drummer said Europe '72 was "a snapshot of the Dead at what many believe was its musical peak, before fatal drugs took hold, tight and hungry to explore spiritual spaces within music."[34]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Cumberland Blues"
2."He's Gone"
  • Garcia
  • Hunter
3."One More Saturday Night"WeirWeir4:45
Total length:17:29
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Jack Straw"
  • Weir
  • Hunter
  • Weir
  • Garcia
2."You Win Again"Hank WilliamsGarcia3:54
3."China Cat Sunflower"
  • Garcia
  • Hunter
4."I Know You Rider"traditional (arranged by Grateful Dead)
  • Garcia
  • Weir
  • Lesh
Total length:19:25
Side three
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Brown-Eyed Women"
  • Garcia
  • Hunter
2."Hurts Me Too"Ron "Pigpen" McKernan7:18
3."Ramble On Rose"
  • Garcia
  • Hunter
Total length:18:02
Side four
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Sugar Magnolia"
  • Weir
  • Hunter
2."Mr. Charlie"
  • McKernan
  • Hunter
3."Tennessee Jed"
  • Garcia
  • Hunter
Total length:17:57
Side five
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
  • Garcia
  • Lesh
  • Weir
  • Hunter
  • Garcia
  • Lesh
  • Weir
Total length:18:16
Side six
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
  • Garcia
  • K. Godchaux
  • Kreutzmann
  • Lesh
  • McKernan
  • Weir
2."Morning Dew"Garcia10:35
Total length:19:18

Recording dates

  • April 8 – "Cumberland Blues"
  • April 14 – "Brown-Eyed Women"
  • May 3 – "Jack Straw", "China Cat Sunflower", "I Know You Rider", "Tennessee Jed"
  • May 4 – "Sugar Magnolia"
  • May 10 – "He's Gone"
  • May 23 – "Mr. Charlie"
  • May 24 – "You Win Again", "Hurts Me Too"
  • May 26 – "One More Saturday Night", "Ramble on Rose", "Truckin'", "Epilog", "Prelude", "Morning Dew"

2003 reissue bonus tracks[edit]

Disc one
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording date/venueLength
14."The Stranger (Two Souls in Communion)"
  • McKernan
April 26, 1972, Jahrhundert Halle6:50
Total length:79:53
Disc two
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording date/venueLength
5."Looks Like Rain"April 8, 1972, Empire Pool7:37
6."Good Lovin'"April 14, 1972, Tivolis Koncertsal18:30
7."Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)"
  • Garcia
  • Kreutzmann
  • Lesh
  • McKernan
  • Weir
April 14, 1972, Tivolis Koncertsal4:39
8."Who Do You Love?"April 14, 1972, Tivolis Koncertsal0:23
9."Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)"
  • Garcia
  • Kreutzmann
  • Lesh
  • McKernan
  • Weir
April 14, 1972, Tivolis Koncertsal1:44
10."Good Lovin'"
  • Clark
  • Resnick
April 14, 1972, Tivolis Koncertsal3:04
11."The Yellow Dog Story"
  • Weir
April 8, 1972, Empire Pool3:09
Total length:76:44


Taken from the sleeve notes:[23]

Grateful Dead


  • Heard, Jackson, Kid, Parrish, Ramrod, Razine, Winslow, Barry, Rudzo – equipment
  • Dan Healy – technical assistance
  • Candace Brightman, Ben Haller – stage lighting
  • Betty Cantor, Janet Furman, Bob Matthews, Rosie, Wizard – recording
  • Betty Cantor, Bob Matthews – mixing
  • Kelley / Mouse Studios – cover art


Chart (1973) Peak
US Billboard 200[33] 24
"Sugar Magnolia"
Chart (1973) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[37] 91


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[38] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.



  1. ^ "RIAA".
  2. ^ "Grateful Dead : Sugar Magnolia". Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  3. ^ Schinder & Schwartz 2008, p. 340.
  4. ^ a b Helander 2001, p. 322.
  5. ^ a b c Schinder & Schwartz 2008, p. 341.
  6. ^ Dodd & Spaulding 2002, p. 86.
  7. ^ Scully 2001, p. 219.
  8. ^ Scully 2001, pp. 220–223.
  9. ^ Scully 2001, p. 224.
  10. ^ Scully 2001, pp. 224–225.
  11. ^ "The Strand, Lyceum, 1972". Grateful Dead (official website). Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  12. ^ "Hollywood Bowl, June 1972". Grateful Dead (official website). Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  13. ^ Shenk & Silberman 2015, p. 255.
  14. ^ a b c Dodd & Spaulding 2002, p. 296.
  15. ^ Trager 1997, p. 212.
  16. ^ Trager 1997, pp. 76, 365–6.
  17. ^ Tuedio & Spector 2010, p. 49.
  18. ^ Scully 2001, p. 217.
  19. ^ "R.I.P. John Perry Barlow, former lyricist of Grateful Dead has died at age of 70". Consequence of Sound. February 7, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  20. ^ Tuedio & Spector 2010, p. 80.
  21. ^ a b Fricke, David. "Grateful Dead Reach Back to Legendary 1972 Tour for Massive Box Set". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  22. ^ Ayers, Mike (September 21, 2011). "A Minute With: Bob Weir looking back to Grateful Dead '72". Reuters. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  23. ^ a b c Europe 72 (Media notes). Warner Bros. 1972. K66019.
  24. ^ "Album Cover – Europe '72 LP Front". Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  25. ^ "The Strand Lyceum – May 26, 1972". Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  26. ^ Trager 1997, pp. 272, 359.
  27. ^ "Europe 72 (2003 CD reissue)". AllMusic. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  28. ^ "Europe '72 Vol 2". AllMusic. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  29. ^ "Grateful Dead Europe '72 50th Anniversary Celebrated with Massive 24-LP Box Set". Goldmine. April 7, 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  30. ^ a b Planer, Lindsay. "Europe '72". AllMusic. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  31. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: G". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 24, 2019 – via
  32. ^ a b Dupree, Tom (January 4, 1973). "Europe '72 review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  33. ^ a b "Grateful Dead Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  34. ^ a b Carne, Keith (April 2018). "The Grateful Dead's Europe '72". Modern Drummer. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  35. ^ "Happy 45th: Grateful Dead, EUROPE '72". Rhino Records. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  36. ^ "50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. April 29, 2015. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  37. ^ "Grateful Dead Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  38. ^ "American album certifications – Grateful Dead – Europe '72". Recording Industry Association of America.


  • Shenk, David; Silberman, Steve (2015). Skeleton Key: A Dictionary for Deadheads. Crown / Archetype. ISBN 978-1-101-90563-0.
  • Schinder, Scott; Schwartz, Andy (2008). Icons of Rock. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-33847-2.
  • Trager, Oliver (1997). The American Book of the Dead. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-81402-5.
  • Dodd, David; Spaulding, Diana (2002). The Grateful Dead Reader. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-195-14706-3.
  • Scully, Rock (2001). Living with the Dead: Twenty Years on the Bus with Garcia and the Grateful Dead. Cooper Square Press. ISBN 978-1-461-66113-9.
  • Helander, Brock (2001). The Rockin' 60s: The People Who Made the Music. Schirmer Trade Books. ISBN 978-0-857-12811-9.
  • Tuedio, Jim; Spector, Stan (2010). The Grateful Dead in Concert: Essays on Live Improvisation. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-45828-8.