Ripple (song)

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Single by Grateful Dead
from the album American Beauty
ReleasedNovember 1, 1970
RecordedSeptember 1970
GenreFolk rock
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter[1]
Producer(s)Grateful Dead
Steve Barncard
Grateful Dead singles chronology
"'Uncle John's Band / New Speedway Boogie'"
"'Johnny B. Goode / So Fine'"

"Ripple" is the sixth song on the Grateful Dead album American Beauty. It was released as the B-side to the single "Truckin'".[2]


Robert Hunter wrote this song in 1970 in London in the same afternoon he wrote "Brokedown Palace" and "To Lay Me Down" (reputedly also drinking half a bottle of retsina in the process [3]). The song debuted August 18, 1970 at Fillmore West in San Francisco. Jerry Garcia wrote the music to this song.[4]

Several lines throughout the song have been compared to the 23rd Psalm of the Bible.

Technical details[edit]

  • Key: G
  • Time signature: 4/4
  • Chords used: G, D, C, A, Am

The signature lines in this song were played by mandolin player David Grisman.

Cover versions[edit]

Cover versions have been recorded by Chris Hillman, Jane's Addiction (on Deadicated), The New Riders of the Purple Sage, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Rick Danko, Dar Williams, Built to Spill, Sally's Fiddle Boys, The McLovins, The Walkmen, Norah Jones (, Sex Mob, and David Ake. In July 2015, a collaborative cover version featuring multiple musicians from around the world was produced by Playing For Change ("a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music").

In popular culture[edit]

A number of essays have been written analyzing and annotating this song.[4]

The song is featured at the end of the last episode of the TV show Freaks and Geeks, entitled "Discos and Dragons", and in the episode of My Name Is Earl entitled "Creative Writing".

The 1985 drama film Mask starring Cher and Eric Stoltz featured this song.[5]

The song also appears at the ending scene of the 4th episode ('Acid Tests') of the TV series 'Taken' by Steven Spielberg, and is mentioned in the Stephen King and Peter Straub novel Black House.


  1. ^ a b "Image of "Ripple" single". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
  2. ^ List of Grateful Dead singles on
  3. ^ The Annotated "Ripple"
  4. ^ a b The Annotated "Ripple"
  5. ^ "Soundtrack listing for Mask". IMDb. Retrieved 14 February 2010.

External links[edit]