Best Songs Ever #5 – Grateful Dead “Hell in a Bucket”
As far as their fans are concerned, the Grateful Dead’s recorded output has always been considered inferior to the band’s live performances.
I can’t argue that some of their studio work is overproduced; and in some instances, it can be downright cheesy (e.g. “Samson and Delilah”). However, there are some legit treasures in the Dead catalog that balance out the lesser works (American Beauty, for example, is beyond reproach).
The Dead’s 1987 album, In the Dark, was their most successful–and one of their most accomplished–studio releases. As it tripped its way into the Billboard Top 10 that year, bored rich teens across America responded saucer-eyed as they threw on their ceremonial tie-dye tees and joined in the drum circle.
“Hell in a Bucket” has always been a favorite from the album (and yes, I’ve heard some great live performances of it, too). On the song, Bob Weir celebrates an existence of bad decisions and behavior. It’s kind of like “Highway to Hell,” only more subtle.
Dug up for this blog entry is a hilariously bad video made for the song, featuring Weir in his Miami Vice best and a tiger.
At least I’m enjoying the ride…