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Updated: Mar 5, 2023

The Grateful Dead is one of the most iconic bands in the history of rock and roll. With a career spanning over three decades, the band has influenced countless musicians and fans with their unique sound and approach to music. One of their most beloved songs is "Loser," a classic track that has stood the test of time and continues to captivate listeners to this day.

"Loser" was first performed by the Grateful Dead on February 18, 1971, at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. The song quickly became a staple in the band's live setlist, with over 530 documented performances throughout their career. The final time the Grateful Dead played "Loser" live was on July 9, 1995, at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, just a few weeks before the death of lead guitarist and vocalist Jerry Garcia.

Loser, the studio version, was released on The inaugural solo album of legendary Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, "Garcia" in 1972. Garcia also featured many great dead songs


e "Deal", "Sugaree", and "Bird Song". This release coincided with Bob Weir's "Ace" and Mickey Hart's "Rolling Thunder", all of which were individual records offered to the Grateful Dead by Warner Bros. Records. Unlike Ace, which was nearly a Grateful Dead album in its entirety, Garcia stands out as a more individualistic project, with Garcia himself playing the majority of the instrumental parts. Of the six tracks on the album, those co-written with esteemed lyricist Robert Hunter would later become established staples of the Grateful Dead's concert repertoire.

At its core, "Loser" is a song about redemption and the struggle to find one's pl

ace in the world. The opening lines, "If I had a gun for every ace I have drawn, I could arm a town the size of Abilene," paint a vivid picture of a gambler on a losing streak. The lyrics continue to explore themes of regret, addiction, and the search for a higher purpose, all set to a haunting melody and Garcia's signature guitar work.

Despite its somber tone, "Loser" has been celebrated by fans and critics alike for its timeless message and emotional resonance. The song has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including Beck, Tom Waits, and Bruce Hornsby, among others. Its enduring popularity is a testament to the Grateful Dead's enduring legacy and the power of music to inspire and uplift even in the darkest of times.

In conclusion, "Loser" is a song that will forever be associated with the Grateful Dead and their remarkable career. From its humble beginnings as a live staple to its enduring legacy as a classic rock anthem, the song continues to resonate with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Its powerful message of redemption and hope is a testament to the enduring power of music to inspire, heal, and uplift us all.


Loser Lyrics:

If I had a gun for every ace I have drawn

I could arm a town the size of Abilene

Don't you push me, baby, because I'm moanin' low

And you know I'm only in it for the gold

All that I am asking for is ten gold dollars

And I could pay you back with one good hand

You can look around about the wide world over

And you'll never find another honest man

Last fair deal in the country

Last fair deal in the town

Put your gold money where your love is, baby

Before you let my deal go down

Go down

Don't you push me, baby, 'cause I'm moanin' low

And I know a little something you won't ever know

Don't you touch hard liquor, just a cup of cold coffee

Gonna get up in the morning and go

Last fair deal in the country

Last fair deal in the town

Put your gold money where your love is, baby

Before you let my deal go down

Go down

Everybody's braggin' and drinking that wine

I can tell the Queen of Diamonds by the way she shines

Come to daddy on the inside straight

Well, I got no chance of losing this time

Well, I got no chance of losing this time

Well, I no chance of losing this time


Listen to our podcast episode where we discuss "Loser"


Grateful Dead - Loser (Live July 7th, 1989) *Max's Current fav*

Loser Live at Cornell 77 *Base Model Loser*

Grateful Dead - "Loser" March, 1990 *Noah's current Favorite*

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