Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | May 20, 2007

80s Music Video Sunday #23

During my university days, there were people who told me that if I was any more laid-back, I’d probably be dead. I always dressed very casually, usually jeans (which were sometimes torn) and sandals (when it was warm enough), and had a penchant for tie-dye, which still exists today. I can only imagine what kind of vibe I must have been giving off, as people always seemed rather surprised that I wasn’t a party type, and that I’d never done drugs (which is also still true today, despite a carefree weekend in Amsterdam last fall). Aside from a few occasional bouts of trying to be trendy (I can sadly admit to owning clothes with shoulder pads, though I don’t know if there’s any photographic proof), when it comes down to it, I’m a crunchy granola hippie-chick wannabe at heart. Give me sandals (if I can’t go barefoot) and those long, “earthy” skirts and dresses, give me low-maintenance hair, and I’ll be a happy little clam.

Given all of that, you’d have thought that I would have been a serious Dead Head in my youth. Sure, I’d heard of them, but somehow, their music was not on my radar at the time. The kids who promoted listening to the Grateful Dead were the same ones who had passes to the smoking room, the kids who didn’t feel the need to conform to the unspoken “white-bread” nature of our life in suburbia. At the time, it would never have occurred to me to reach out to them, nor they to me. I was too busy with my own stuff, with my own friends, and too unsure of myself to reach out to those who dared to be different, who didn’t feel it was necessary to be like everyone else. I associated the Grateful Dead with a certain group of people, and as a result, I opted not to take an interest in their music.

Over the years, my musical tastes have changed. Some of my closest friends were (and still are) big fans of this musical phenomenon, and needless to say, I can’t believe that it took me so long to discover them. So many years wasted, so many opportunities to see them perform missed. NRG introduced me to one of their songs once I was already living in Israel, and I was hooked. A former officemate of mine was also a fan, and his Grateful Dead CDs were often playing in the background.

While I’d heard a number of their songs over the years, one in particular made a successful crossover into the realm of mainstream music, and the video for this song (released in 1987) received heavy airplay on MTV. Before I really knew their music, I knew the words to this song. Now, it’s one of many Grateful Dead songs that I enjoy, but it will always be the song that began to draw me in.

Touch of Grey
Grateful Dead

It must be getting early
Clocks are running late
Paint by numbers morning sky
Looks so phony

Dawn is breaking everywhere
Light a candle, curse the glare
Draw the curtains, I don’t care
‘Cause it’s alright

I will get by
I will get by
I will get by
I will survive

I see you got your list out
Say your piece and get out
Yes I got the gist of it
But it’s alright

Sorry that you feel that way
The only thing there is to say
Every silver lining’s got a
Touch of grey

It’s a lesson to me
The Ables and the Bakers and the C’s
The A B C’s
We all must face
And try to keep a little grace

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It’s even worse than it appears
But it’s alright

Cows are giving kerosene
The kid can’t read at seventeen
The words he knows are all obscene
But it’s alright

I will get by
I will get by
I will get by
I will survive

It’s a lesson to me
The Deltas and the East and the Freeze
The A B C’s
We all think of
And try to keep a little love

The shoe is on the hand it fits
There’s really nothing much to it
Whistle through your teeth and split
‘Cause it’s alright

Oh well a touch of grey
Kind of suits you anyway
That was all I had to say
And it’s alright

I will get by
I will get by
I will get by
I will survive

We will get by
We will get by
We will get by
We will survive



  1. Wait…Deadheads smoked???

  2. Never got the whole Grateful Dead thing.

    I can however own up to owning several long swishy skirts courtesy of Daliat el Carmel, low maintenance hair and Naot hippy sandals.

    Although I also have the odd power suit, and enjoy wearing them on occasion.

  3. I’m still a “jeans and sandals” kind of gal 🙂

    “Touch of Grey” was the first Dead song I ever knew- and the last. Never got into them.

  4. No, Deadheads have never smoked, benji! At least not at the shows I went to… at least not that I remember… hmmm… what were we talking about… ?????

    Thanks for a little dead trip, dear! Maybe I’ll put Throwing Stones on the MP3… it’s a good tune! 🙂

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