In the Dark (Grateful Dead album)

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In the Dark
A black background with the eyes of the band visible
Studio album by Grateful Dead
Released July 6, 1987 (1987-07-06)
Recorded January 6–13, 1987
Genre Rock
Length 40:37
Label Arista
Producer Jerry Garcia, John Cutler
Grateful Dead chronology
Dead Set
(1981)Dead Set1981
In the Dark
(1987)
Dead Zone: The Grateful Dead CD Collection (1977–1987)
(1987)Dead Zone: The Grateful Dead CD Collection (1977–1987)1987
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4/5 stars[1]
Robert ChristgauC+[2]
Rolling StoneFavorable[3]

In the Dark is the twelfth studio album by the Grateful Dead. It was recorded in one week in January 1987, and originally released on July 6, 1987.

In the Dark was the band's first album in six years, and its first studio album since 1980's Go to Heaven. It became unexpectedly popular, achieving double platinum certification in the U.S. It reached No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart, the Grateful Dead's only top ten album. The peppy "Touch of Grey" peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, the band's only top forty single;[4] it also became a frequently played music video on MTV. "Hell in a Bucket" and "Throwing Stones" (for which videos were also made) also achieved significant album-oriented rock radio airplay.

Production[edit]

Most of the songs had been played by the Dead since 1982 or 1983, which gave them a five-year edge on perfecting them for the album. After the critically panned Go to Heaven, which contained songs that were mostly under a year old, the maturity of In the Dark was significantly more appreciated.

Since the band had been playing the songs for some time, they decided to record the baseline tracks for the album in a darkened theater ("In the Dark") that was empty (no audience), on a stage with the same lighting as they would use on tour (just to have the band perform in a more comfortable, familiar setting). The idea was to capture the "feel" they had for the songs as if they were playing them to a live audience. This was done at Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael, California.

Drummer Bill Kreutzmann reminisced, "We ran all the electric instruments through amplifiers in the basement, in isolation rooms, and kept the drums bright and loud on stage. Everything was fed to a recording truck parked outside the venue. Everybody played their parts in real time, together. When we took breaks, we'd go into the wings by the stage door and sit there and talk about what we'd just done. Talking about the music, then going right out to play the music, then talking about it some more was something that we really should've done more often — the analysis served the songs and the camaraderie served the band. It really put us in a good spot."[5]

They then brought these recorded tracks to the studio and, if needed, "cleaned" them up, overdubbing them or redoing a guitar, vocal, keyboard, or drum track in the studio using the same riffs they used on the stage recording.

Garcia spoke about the recording in an interview; "Marin Vets turns out to be an incredibly nice room to record in. There's something about the formal atmosphere in there that makes us work. When we set up at Front Street to work, a lot of times we just sort of dissolve into hanging out. Going in Marin Vets without an audience and playing just to ourselves was in the nature of an experiment..."[6]

In the Dark was released on CD in 1987 by Arista Records[6] before being re-released in 2000 by BMG International. It was then remastered, expanded, and released with new cover art as part of the Beyond Description (1973–1989) 12-CD box set in October 2004. The remastered version was later released separately on CD, on April 11, 2006, by Rhino Records.

Cover art[edit]

The cover art for the album was designed by Randy Tuten. The lettering forms the shape of an eye. Inside the lettering are photos of the band members' eyes. On the original LP, the photos were right side up, but when the album was released on CD in 1987, the photos were upside down.[7] Though the band joked that the extra eye belonged to the Ayatollah Khomeini, it actually belonged to their long-time promoter, Bill Graham.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead SingerLength
1."Touch of Grey"Jerry Garcia5:47
2."Hell in a Bucket"Bob Weir5:35
3."When Push Comes to Shove"
  • Garcia
  • Hunter
Jerry Garcia4:05
4."West L.A. Fadeaway"
  • Garcia
  • Hunter
Jerry Garcia6:39
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead SingerLength
5."Tons of Steel"MydlandBrent Mydland5:15
6."Throwing Stones"
  • Barlow
  • Weir
Bob Weir7:18
7."Black Muddy River"
  • Garcia
  • Hunter
Jerry Garcia5:58
8."My Brother Esau"
  • Barlow
  • Weir
Bob Weir4:20

Note: "My Brother Esau" was omitted from the LP and CD releases of In the Dark, but was included on the cassette and on international releases, as well as the 2004 reissue.

2004 reissue bonus tracks
No.TitleRecording DateLength
9."West L.A. Fadeaway" (alternate version)1984-03 Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA7:09
10."Black Muddy River" (studio outtake)1986-12-05 Club Front, San Rafael, CA5:41
11."When Push Comes to Shove" (studio outtake)1986-12-05 Club Front, San Rafael, CA4:22
12."Touch of Grey" (studio outtake)1982-08 Club Front, San Rafael, CA5:47
13."Throwing Stones" (live)1987-07-04 Sullivan Stadium, Foxboro, MA9:36

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album - Billboard

Year Chart Position
1987 The Billboard 200 6[9]

Singles - Billboard

Year Single Chart Position
1987 "Touch of Grey" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1[10]
The Billboard Hot 100 9[10]
Adult Contemporary 15[10]
"Hell in a Bucket" Mainstream Rock Tracks 3[10]
"West L.A. Fadeaway" Mainstream Rock Tracks 40[10]
"Throwing Stones" Mainstream Rock Tracks 15[10]

Certifications[edit]

Certification Date
Gold[11] September 4, 1987
Platinum[11] September 18, 1987
Double Platinum[11] August 10, 1995

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Robert Christgau review
  3. ^ Rolling Stone review
  4. ^ Albano, Ric (September 7, 2012). "In the Dark by Grateful Dead", Classic Rock Review. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
  5. ^ Kreutzmann, Bill (2015). Deal. St. Martin's Press, New York. Chapter 18. ISBN 978-1-250-03380-2. 
  6. ^ a b c In the Dark Notes - at deaddisc.com. Retrieved May 10, 2011
  7. ^ In the Dark at www.randytuten.com , official website of Randy Tuten. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  8. ^ "Hell in a Bucket", dead.net. retrieved March 29, 2013.
  9. ^ "Billboard album chart history-Grateful Dead". Retrieved March 1, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Billboard singles chart history-Grateful Dead". Retrieved March 1, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c "RIAA Gold & Platinum database-In the Dark". Retrieved February 28, 2009.