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A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #2066  by Spud
 Thu Sep 29, 2005 10:01 am
I saw this song interpreted on a message post as a very negative, "in your face", type of song.
I, however, interpret this song as an understanding of life and a hope that things will work out the way they are meant to. Sometimes even greater than we ever anticipated.


The rider is the soul.
The soul will miss the body when it's gone, b/c only through this world can we achieve our desired goals and strive for higher levels.
As well, the body will miss the soul ("gonna miss your baby, from rolling in your arms") b/c its only purpose is to help out the soul and do kindness for it... If the soul is no longer in the body than the body can no longer feel joy, purpose, or sense of accomplishment.

"Laid down last night, L-rd, I could not take my rest. My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west."
The soul cries out b/c the body has brought her to a place she doesn't want to be. She is so confused and it is manifest through the body by not being able to rest. The soul wants the body to do the right thing, get back on track, and fulfill its purpose in the world.

"The sun will shine through my backdoor someday. March winds will blow all my troubles away."
If we really want to do the right thing then the light will come and many things will be revealed. We'll be filled with an uplifting spirit (march wind) and it will lead us towards our goal. Eventually, the light will be so revealed that it will shine in places we never thought it would (my backdoor).

"I wish I was a headlight on a northbound train. I'd shine my light through the cool Colorado rain."
Once I've found my goal and have begun to achieve it I will see how good and true it is. This will lead me to wanting to help other people achieve their goals. I want to shine the light that I have recieved onto other people. To shine it in a positive way where it will benefit people the most (through the cool Colorado rain).

In short...
This song is about a personal reflection. Who am I? Why am I happy at times and at others sad? What should I be striving for? Once we've established a strong foundation we go for it will such enthusiasm and hope...

The sun will shine.
Amen! :P

 #3154  by hesgone95
 Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:02 pm
Very interesting interpretation, I like it alot. I wonder how you would interpret the last verse, that JG used to sing when it was done acoustic back around 70....

Rather drink muddy water
Sleep out in a hollow log
Than stay here in Frisco
Be treated like a dog

The city is arbitrary, I live in Mexico and when I play it I usually sub that for frisco. Last time I was visiting my folks in Texas, I substituded that when I played my FOTD>Rider medley w/ my brother. :D

Anyway, I really like your take on this beautiful old traditional song. Peace. :smile:

 #3156  by strumminsix
 Sat Jan 28, 2006 3:10 pm
Rider = a woman who a man was sleeping with sans any ties.

The chorus basically says your gonna miss me but the verses basically say I'm gonna miss you.

Rollin in your arms = sex
 #23500  by jjbankhead
 Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:51 pm
Spud wrote:I saw this song interpreted on a message post as a very negative, "in your face", type of song.
I, however, interpret this song as an understanding of life and a hope that things will work out the way they are meant to. Sometimes even greater than we ever anticipated.


The rider is the soul.
The soul will miss the body when it's gone, b/c only through this world can we achieve our desired goals and strive for higher levels.
As well, the body will miss the soul ("gonna miss your baby, from rolling in your arms") b/c its only purpose is to help out the soul and do kindness for it... If the soul is no longer in the body than the body can no longer feel joy, purpose, or sense of accomplishment.

"Laid down last night, L-rd, I could not take my rest. My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west."
The soul cries out b/c the body has brought her to a place she doesn't want to be. She is so confused and it is manifest through the body by not being able to rest. The soul wants the body to do the right thing, get back on track, and fulfill its purpose in the world.

"The sun will shine through my backdoor someday. March winds will blow all my troubles away."
If we really want to do the right thing then the light will come and many things will be revealed. We'll be filled with an uplifting spirit (march wind) and it will lead us towards our goal. Eventually, the light will be so revealed that it will shine in places we never thought it would (my backdoor).

"I wish I was a headlight on a northbound train. I'd shine my light through the cool Colorado rain."
Once I've found my goal and have begun to achieve it I will see how good and true it is. This will lead me to wanting to help other people achieve their goals. I want to shine the light that I have recieved onto other people. To shine it in a positive way where it will benefit people the most (through the cool Colorado rain).

In short...
This song is about a personal reflection. Who am I? Why am I happy at times and at others sad? What should I be striving for? Once we've established a strong foundation we go for it will such enthusiasm and hope...

The sun will shine.
Amen! :P
I study English/LIT and one of the biggest issues i have faced is that of interpretation, i have met people who feel a piece of art, regardless of the intent of the artist, gets its meaning from the the person experiencing it, so what it means- or to set a definition: what the symbolism is to you- may be different to someone else. I feel this applies to songs, paintings, books, poems whatever. what the artist intended to say means nothing compared to how it is perceived.

I have also encountered people who feel there is always one way to interpret or one meaning or purpose to a piece of art.

i tend to agree with the first group i mentioned.

i remember once having a discussion with a friend about attics of my life. He went on about how the whole song is about Tripping on acid. I could see his point but i could also see how the song has references of a person reflecting back on memories, memories no eyes could see or tongue could taste.

i didnt bother arguing the point just nodded my head and agreed "i could see that."

basically i think since you can back up your point with some textual evidence you have a valid point.

 #23503  by confusions_prince
 Mon Sep 03, 2007 7:08 am
strumminsix wrote:Rider = a woman who a man was sleeping with sans any ties.

The chorus basically says your gonna miss me but the verses basically say I'm gonna miss you.

Rollin in your arms = sex
Is there another way to interpret the song? It always seemed pretty straightforward to me...

 #23522  by smile_smile_smile
 Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:03 pm
hesgone95 can you give me some dates, i like that verse i wanna hear jerry sing it, thanks

 #23532  by b weird
 Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:13 pm
Dicks Picks 8 has the other verse.

 #23569  by confusions_prince
 Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:36 am
While we're talking about alternate/optional verses, check out Hot Tuna's version of the song to hear:

"Lovin' you babe is easier than fallin' of a log
I say, lovin' you babe is easier than fallin' of a log
I'll be your man but I sure won't be your dog"

 #40069  by philinfunky
 Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:18 am
just wanna add my 2 cents.... sometimes this song gives me the chills.....

basically I feel that its a bluesy love song, gonna miss your baby, etc.....

a headlight on a northbound train? Cuz your baby is up north and the march winds gonna blow..... because March is the beginning of Spring and it's easier to travel when its warm out....

thats how I feel anywho...

 #40070  by strumminsix
 Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:28 am
It's the folk equivalent to, "I Fooled Around & Fell In Love"

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

 #40078  by old man down
 Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:45 am
I always saw it as a cowboy song about jilted love and the trouble of gettin' over it.

If you over analyze it you'll destroy the beautiful imagery.

 #40094  by warrenMFKNhaynes
 Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:01 pm
"Let the song mean what ever you want to mean"

-Bob Dylan