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Channeling the Inner Whistleblower in Jerry Garcia on His 80th Birthday

Posted  August 1, 2022

It has been more than 25 years since he left us all too soon.  But the life and legend, and most importantly, the music of Jerry Garcia and his Grateful Dead band live on.  As we celebrate the 80th anniversary of his birth (August 1, 1942), it is the perfect time to reflect on what this master musician accomplished and the impact he continues to have on so many of us today.

For some, he represents a musical role model, unwilling to be tied to convention or the drive for commercial success.  Only to the music as he felt it was meant to be.  To sound.  To make us feel.

To others, he and his merry band were the epitome of the free-ranging spirit.  An escape hatch from growing up and settling down, and all the overwhelming responsibilities that come with it.

And still to others, he was the King of Counterculture.  Refusing to play by the rules.  Unconstrained in his singular path towards peace, love, and understanding.

No matter what you draw from Jerry and the music he and the Grateful Dead put forth, there is a common theme that resonates throughout.  One of strength of the human spirit.  Of following an inner guide.  Of speaking truth to power.  Of letting light, not darkness lead the way.

So many of the same traits shared by the modern-day whistleblower, those brave and selfless souls willing to stand up and speak out against something that rubs against their moral compass.  No matter the consequences.  No matter what others may say or do.

So in honor of his 80th birthday, here are our Top-10 Grateful Dead lyrics that we believe best channel the inner whistleblower of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead.

  • 10 Ship of Fools, From the Mars Hotel (1974)

Though I could not caution all, I still might warn a few.

Don’t lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools.

  • 9New Minglewood Blues, The Grateful Dead (1967)

If you can’t believe me, it’ll make it hard to believe in you.
Cause we all need each other, well you know it’s true.

  • 8 Playing in the Band, American Beauty (1970)

Some folks trust to reason, others trust to might.

I don’t trust to nothing, but I know it come out right.

  • 7Casey Jones, Workingman’s Dead (1970)

Trouble with you, is the trouble with me.

Got two good eyes, but you still don’t see.

  • 6 Foolish Heart, Built to Last (1989)

A selfish heart is trouble, but a foolish heart is worse.

  • 5 Speedway Boogie, Workingman’s Dead (1970)

One way or another, this darkness got to give.

  • 4St. Stephen, Aoxomoxoa (1969)

Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills.

One man gathers what another man spills.

  • 3Good Lovin’, Grateful Dead (1971)

You may be weak or you may be blind.

But even a blind man knows when the sun is shining.

So turn it on now.
Turn on, turn on your light.

  • 2Liberty, So Many Roads (1999)

Say what I mean and I don’t give a damn,

I do believe and I am who I am.

  • 1 Ripple, American Beauty (1970)

There is a road, no simple highway.

Between the dawn and the dark of night.

And if you go, no one may follow.

That path is for your steps alone.

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