First Song to Reference the Grateful Dead

Eric Burdon and The Animals recorded their song ‘Monterey’ in 1968 on their album The Twain Shall Meet.  This song described the Monterey Pop Festival which set the standard for all the music festivals that followed like Woodstock.  The music and lyrics were composed by the group’s members, Barry Jenkins, Danny Mcculloch, Eric Victor Burdon, Johnny Weider and Vic Briggs.  This song was released as a single in 1967, and it reached #15 on the U.S. pop singles chart and went to #16 on the Canadian RPM charts. 

Eric Burdon and the Animals performed at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and the lyrics in this song describe the atmosphere of the festival and some of the notable musicians who played, including The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Ravi Shankar, The Who, Hugh Masekela, The Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix, as “young gods” with music “born of love” where “religion was being born”.  The band described a scene at which “children danced night and day”, and they sang “even the cops grooved with us”.  “His Majesty Prince Jones” was a reference to Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, who was an MC at the event. 

Burdon said this festival was a profound experience for him and that Owsley was doling out all the acid here, handing it out in different color tabs each day, kind of like backstage passes.  Eric wrote his full name, Owsley Stanley III, on his arm, like a tattoo, with a magic marker as a reminder, but he said that it wasn’t all about drugs, although they contributed to an awareness.  Burdon still believes that love will conquer all, but the whole Summer of Love thing was just a marketing ploy.

The people came and listened
Some of them came and played
Others gave flowers away, yes they did
Down in Monterey
Down in Monterey
Young Gods smiled upon the crowd
Their music being born of love
Children danced night and day
Religion was being born
Down in Monterey

The birds and the airplane did fly
Oh, Ravi Shankars music made me cry
The Who exploded into fire and light
Hugh Masakela’s music was black as night
The Grateful Dead blew everybodies mind
Jimi Hendrix baby, believe me, set the world on fire, yeah

His Majesty, Prince Jones, smiled as he moved among the crowd
Ten thousand electric guitars were grooving real loud, yeah
You want to find the truth in life
Don’t pass music by
and you know I would not lie, no I would not lie,
No, I would not lie
Down in Monterey

Three days of understanding of moving with one another
Even the cops grooved with us
Do you believe me, yeah?
Down in Monterey
I think that maybe I’m dreaming
Monterey
Down in Monterey
Did you hear what I said?

12 thoughts on “First Song to Reference the Grateful Dead

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