Scarlet Begonias

"Scarlet Begonias" is a song by the Grateful Dead. The lyrics were written by Robert Hunter and the music by Jerry Garcia.[1] The live debut of "Scarlet Begonias" came on March 23, 1974 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California.[1]

"Scarlet Begonias"
Song by the Grateful Dead
from the album From the Mars Hotel
ReleasedJune 27, 1974
GenreRock, funk rock, psychedelic rock, reggae fusion
LabelGrateful Dead Records
Composer(s)Jerry Garcia
Lyricist(s)Robert Hunter
Producer(s)Grateful Dead

The song begins in Grosvenor Square in London and also references "Tea for Two" from No, No, Nanette by Irving Caesar and Vincent Youmans.

The third stanza uses gambling/loss imagery that occurs in many Grateful Dead songs.[2] The line "As I picked up my matches and was closing the door" uses the symbolism of playing poker with matchsticks to indicate a very low stakes gamble that was made for fun.

The line "Everybody's playing in the Heart of Gold Band", was used by Keith and Donna Godchaux to name their new group "Heart of Gold Band" when they left Grateful Dead in 1979.

The recording first appears on the 1974 release From the Mars Hotel. When "Fire on the Mountain" was incorporated into the band's repertoire in 1977, "Scarlet Begonias" would often be paired with it when played live, resulting in what would be nicknamed "Scarlet > Fire".[3]



  1. ^ a b Dodd, David. "The Annotated "Scarlet Begonias"". The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics. Retrieved 2007-02-03.
  2. ^ "Motif and theme index to the Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics".
  3. ^ Dodd, David. "The Annotated "Fire on the Mountain"". The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
  4. ^ "Sublime – 40oz. to Freedom". Music reviews. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-03.
  5. ^ Puterbaugh, Parke (2004). "Jimmy Buffett – License to Chill". Music reviews. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-03.
  6. ^ Keller Williams album for REX charity Archived 2008-06-11 at the Wayback Machine,, May 7, 2008, Retrieved May 15, 2008.

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