Welcome to #5DaysOfTheDead. On Friday, Dec. 1, Dead and Company, featuring the core surviving members of seminal rock band the Grateful Dead will perform at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The band, in any of its many forms, hasn't performed in Dallas since October of 1988, so we thought it would be fitting to spend a few days looking at how the group became legends and why its legacy is as strong today as it ever was.
Given Grateful Dead's wide-reaching influence, it's of little surprise that plenty of the band's tunes have ended up as covers in the concert setlists and album track listings for countless artists over the years. When picking a Dead tune to cover, it seems as though bands often reach for a song from the country and folk-infused duo of Workingman's Dead or American Beauty, both of which were released in 1970.
"Friend of the Devil," from American Beauty, has become a favorite even among the other popular songs such as "Truckin'," "Sugar Magnolia" and "Casey Jones." With lyrics written by longtime Dead lyricist Robert hunter, "Friend of the Devil" is a relatively straight-forward story of a man running from the law, or possibly the devil himself. Its acoustic arrangement and jaunty melody makes it an ideal campfire singalong, or, as evidenced by the plentiful cover versions available, an ideal selection for a cover tune.
Performed in concert or recorded on an album by artists ranging from Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, Ministry and Mumford and Sons, "Friend of the Devil" is transcendent in its sheer approach-ability. Here are some of our favorite "Friend of the Devil" covers.