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
Live album by Grateful Dead
Released November 5, 1972 (1972-11-05)
Recorded April–May 1972
Genre Rock
Length 109:35
Label Warner Bros.
3WX 2668
Grateful Dead chronology
Grateful Dead
Europe '72
History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear's Choice)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[3]

Europe '72 is a 1972 live triple album of performances by the Grateful Dead, recorded during their tour of Western Europe in early 1972. It was the first album by the band to contain versions of songs such as "Jack Straw" and "Brown Eyed Women" and the segue pairing of "China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider". One of the band's most popular releases, it was one of the first triple-record rock albums to be certified Gold and has since been certified Double Platinum.[4] A second volume was released in 2011, in conjunction with the release of the entire 22-date tour (see Europe '72: The Complete Recordings).


By 1972, the Grateful Dead had become an established act, with fans attending multiple gigs in a tour in order to catch the unique performances the band delivered.[5] The group had undergone several changes in personnel; second drummer Mickey Hart left the group in early 1971, while pianist Keith Godchaux was recruited in September to replace founding member Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, who had been hospitalised with hepatitis.[6]

This was the third live multi-disk album in the Dead's past five releases, revealing how the group's reputation rested on their live performances. The album contained considerable new material in addition to versions of tracks found on previous studio albums. Lead guitarist Jerry Garcia continued his longtime collaboration with Robert Hunter, while rhythm guitarist Bob Weir had begun writing material with John Perry Barlow. Many of the new songs were not officially released in studio form, though they did appear on solo albums; consequently Europe '72 was treated as a new release rather than a live retrospective.[7]

Despite the band being out of the country, Europe '72 showcased the Dead's mixture of American bluegrass, folk, and country influences, and provided the culmination to the band's early 1970s sound. Archetypal American images abounded on "Jack Straw",[8] while "Cumberland Blues" and "Tennessee Jed" were firmly rooted in their regional feeling.[9] "Truckin'", which had recently become the band's first hit song, catalogued its own troubled-but-resilient pathway through American life. The Dead's start-stop-restart segue of "China Cat Sunflower" into "I Know You Rider" also linked their psychedelic past into a more traditional context.[10]

The tour represented by this album was McKernan's last with the Dead. The group retired several songs he sung lead on after the final show at the Lyceum Theatre, London[11] and he quit the band after one further gig due to ill health,[12] dying the following March. The album was the first to feature Keith Godchaux and his wife Donna Jean Godchaux, who had joined the band as an additional vocalist.[7]

Originally a triple album on vinyl, Europe '72 was later reissued as a two-disc CD in 1990 and again in 2001 with bonus tracks as part of the band's box set, The Golden Road (1965–1973).

The album was well received critically. A contemporary review in by Tom Dupree in Rolling Stone praised the sound fidelity and musicianship, especially Garcia's lead guitar playing.[3] In 2015, the journal listed the album as number 19 in their top 50 live albums of all time.[13]

Although Europe '72 is billed as a live album, the songs were subject to studio overdubs (specifically with respect to the lush harmony vocals), as well as varispeed - particularly the songs with Garcia on lead vocals, which were pitched sharp by as much as a half-step.[14] Unadulterated multitrack recordings of the performances used for the album are no longer available (because they were simply snipped from the multitrack concert tapes whereupon the band overdubbed directly onto them, destroying the originals) but, for example, the available two-track soundboard recording of the May 10, 1972 show indicates the band had not yet figured out the vocal arrangements for "He's Gone" that would later be overdubbed in the United States.

Europe '72: The Complete Recordings[edit]

As a hedge against the costs of the nearly two-month trip, the Dead’s label, Warner Bros., paid for the band to travel with a 16-track recorder to capture the entire tour. In early 2011, announced that all 22 shows from the tour would be released as Europe '72: The Complete Recordings. 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 personalization. A music-only version (without the box set's steamer trunk and accoutrements) was also given limited release. The 73-CD box set shipped in September 2011.[14]

Artwork and packaging[edit]

Europe '72's packaging was designed by Alton Kelly and Stanley Mouse under their Kelly/Mouse Studios name (they also did other Dead albums) and set against mostly white, empty foldouts. The front cover shows a large Truckin' boot crossing the Atlantic, while the back cover depicts the corresponding Truckin' fool smashing an ice cream cone against his forehead. (Some of the ice cream flying through the air spells out the word "LIVE".)[15]

The inside cover credits are in a reserved type font, and include all 43 members of the touring entourage, including Carolyn "Mountain Girl" Garcia. The included color booklet contains photos of European sites and the concerts (including the tour party waiting to board a DFDS ferry), a quote from Revelation, and a long account of how the tour split into two factions, the Bozos and the Bolos, with references to St. Dilbert and the Feast of Fools, concluding that "there is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert".[15]

On the cover of the 2003 CD re-release, the covers are reversed, with the fool on the front.[16]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Cumberland Blues" (Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter, and Phil Lesh) 5:47
2. "He's Gone" (Garcia and Hunter) 7:12
3. "One More Saturday Night" (Bob Weir) 4:45
Side two
No. Title Length
4. "Jack Straw" (Hunter and Weir) 4:46
5. "You Win Again" (Hank Williams) 3:54
6. "China Cat Sunflower" (Garcia and Hunter) 5:33
7. "I Know You Rider" (trad., arr. The Grateful Dead) 4:55
Side three
No. Title Length
8. "Brown-Eyed Woman" (Garcia and Hunter) 4:55
9. "Hurts Me Too" (Elmore James) 7:18
10. "Ramble On Rose" (Garcia and Hunter) 6:09
Side four
No. Title Length
11. "Sugar Magnolia" (Hunter and Weir) 7:04
12. "Mr. Charlie" (Hunter and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan) 3:40
13. "Tennessee Jed" (Garcia and Hunter) 7:13
Side five
No. Title Length
14. "Truckin'" (Garcia, Hunter, Lesh, and Weir) 13:08
15. "Epilogue" (Garcia, Donna Jean Godchaux, Keith Godchaux, Bill Kreutzmann, Lesh, McKernan, and Weir) 4:33
Side six
No. Title Length
16. "Prelude" (Garcia, Donna Jean Godchaux, Keith Godchaux, Kreutzmann, Lesh, McKernan, and Weir) 8:08
17. "Morning Dew" (Bonnie Dobson and Tim Rose) 10:35
Further information: The Golden Road (1965–1973)

Recording dates[edit]

The actual dates for most of the tracks have been determined as follows:[17]

  • "Cumberland Blues", "Looks Like Rain", and "The Yellow Dog Story" – April 8, 1972 at Wembley Empire Pool, Wembley
  • "Brown-Eyed Women" and tracks 6–10 on disc 2 – April 14, 1972 at Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen
  • "The Stranger (Two Souls in Communion)" – April 26, 1972 at Jahrhundert Halle, Frankfurt
  • "Jack Straw", "China Cat Sunflower", "I Know You Rider" and "Tennessee Jed" – May 3, 1972 at Olympia Theatre, Paris
  • "Sugar Magnolia" – May 4, 1972 at Olympia Theatre, Paris (an edit of this track was released as the 7" single from the album)
  • "He's Gone" – May 10, 1972 at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
  • "Mr. Charlie" – May 23, 1972 at Lyceum Theatre, London
  • "You Win Again" and "Hurts Me Too" – May 24, 1972 at Lyceum Theatre, London
  • "Truckin'", "Epilogue", "Prelude", "Morning Dew", "One More Saturday Night", "Ramble on Rose" – May 26, 1972 at Lyceum Theatre, London


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


Album – Billboard

Year Chart Position
1973 Pop Albums 24[18]

Singles – Billboard

Year Single Chart Position
1973 "Sugar Magnolia" Pop Singles 91[18]


The Recording Industry Association of America sales certifications for Europe '72 are:[19]

Certification Date
Gold December 14, 1972
Platinum August 24, 2001
Double Platinum August 24, 2001


  1. ^ Europe '72 review at AllMusic. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  2. ^ Grateful Dead albums at Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Dupree, Tom (January 4, 1973). "Europe '72 review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Recording Industry Association of America". Retrieved March 25, 2016.  Woodstock, by various artists, went Gold in May 1970, and All Things Must Pass, by George Harrison, went Gold in December 1970.
  5. ^ Schinder & Schwartz 2008, p. 339.
  6. ^ Schinder & Schwartz 2008, p. 340.
  7. ^ a b Schinder & Schwartz 2008, p. 341.
  8. ^ Trager 1997, p. 212.
  9. ^ Trager 1997, pp. 76,365-6.
  10. ^ Tuedio, Jim; Spector, Stan, eds. (2010). The Grateful Dead in Concert: Essays on Live Improvisation. McFarland. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-786-45828-8. 
  11. ^ "The Strand Lycseum - May 26, 1972". Retrieved 22 October 2016. 
  12. ^ "Hollywood Bowl - June 17, 1972". Retrieved 22 October 2016. 
  13. ^ "50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. April 29, 2015. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b Fricke, David. (January 19, 2011) "Grateful Dead Reach Back to Legendary 1972 Tour for Massive Box Set", Rolling Stone Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  15. ^ a b Europe 72 (Media notes). Warner Bros. 1972. K66019. 
  16. ^ "Euope 72 (2003 CD reissue)". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 October 2016. 
  17. ^ Europe '72 at the Grateful Dead Family Discography. Retrieved February 13, 2011.
  18. ^ a b "Artist Search for "grateful dead"". 
  19. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum database – Europe '72". Retrieved February 13, 2011. 
  • 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.