Friend of the Devil

Friend of the Devil

Infobox Song
Name = Friend of the Devil

Caption =
Type =
Artist = Grateful Dead
alt Artist =
Album = American Beauty
Published =
Released = September 1970
track_no = 2
Recorded =
Genre = Country, folk
Length =
Writer =
Composer = Jerry Garcia and John Dawson
Robert Hunter
Label = Warner Bros. Records
Producer = Grateful DeadSteve Barncard
Chart position =
Tracks =
prev = "Box of Rain"
prev_no = 1
next = "Sugar Magnolia"
next_no = 3
Misc =
"Friend of the Devil" is a song recorded by the Grateful Dead. The music was written by Jerry Garcia and John Dawson and the lyrics are by Robert Hunter. It is the second track of the Dead's 1970 album "American Beauty".

"Friend of the Devil" is about an outlaw, on the run from the police. His crime is never explicitly stated. The Devil helps him escape, but winds up chasing him just as the law does; several lines of the song are ambiguous, and could refer to either law enforcement or servants of Satan, such as "I was trailed by twenty hounds", which could refer to either police dogs sniffing his trail, or mythical hellhounds.

The song is acoustic, like most of "American Beauty". It is known for the riff lead guitarist Jerry Garcia plays, which is a descending G major scale (G F# E D C B A G). The song is among the most covered song written by the Grateful Dead; Hunter later stated, "that was the closest we've come to what may be a classic song."

The song was introduced in concert on February 28, 1970 at the Family Dog in San Francisco.Later in the band's history, the song slowed down significantly in live performances. Loggins & Messina (whose version of the song was slowed down, might have inspired The Dead to do the same)
Bob Dylan and Tom Petty also both cover the song frequently in concert.In 2003, Counting Crows included a slower-tempo cover of the song on their compilation album "Films About Ghosts". While reproducing the acoustic riff, the Counting Crows version also adds electric keyboard and guitar instrumentation at about midway through the song.

During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, many American Christian groups railed against rock bands with perceived Satanic influences. This song was frequently cited as an example, due to its apparent sympathy to an outlaw who makes a deal, literal or not, with the Devil.

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