Brokedown Palace

Album: American Beauty (1970)


  • Jerry Garcia commented that this song was heavily influenced by the death of his mother, much in the same way the impending passing of Phil Lesh's father was the inspiration for "Box Of Rain," the lead track on the album.
  • The harmony vocals on this song, courtesy of Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, were the result of the Dead hanging out with Crosby, Stills and Nash and deciding they wanted to improve on their ensemble vocal chops. As a result, many of the songs on American Beauty have exquisite sounding harmonies, especially for the Dead. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    kevin - Reading, PA, for above 2
  • Robert Hunter wrote the lyric on his first trip to England in a very productive, and slightly inebriated, songwriting session. "It was the second day I was there, and everybody went and left me alone with a case of Retsina," he said in a documentary. "I realized, here I was in London, the city I'd always dreamed of going to, and I was very very happy. I felt like I'd come home to some psychic place, maybe the home of Robin Hood and Peter Pan. I'd only drank half a bottle of this Retsina but it was having the whole case there that was important. I sat down and wrote 'Ripple,' 'To Lay Me Down' and 'Brokedown Palace' that afternoon. It was a magic day. I knew I was writing stuff that would live forever."

    Hunter was at the home of Dead extended "family" member Alan Trist. He had been jotting down dozens of bad songs (by his own estimation) when these three came to him.

Comments: 4

  • Matty from Pueblo ColoradoSong for my baby. I'll miss her so very much, until we are reunited once again.
  • Debbie & Mitch from Allendale NjLast night woke up & heard this song in my head, my sweet havanese pup passed 2 weeks ago & we are heartbroken, grief stricken, like a baby to us, she was always with us. Perfect song
  • Kevin from Cape May Court House, NjOne of the finest songs. Thank you Robert Hunter for the words and thank you Jerry for the delivery. It has nourished my highs and been a salve for my lows. MUSIC IS THE BEST!!!
  • Bruce from Palm Beach Gardens, FlAccording to "Long Strange Trip" Dead Bio this song was inspired by written in the style of "The Band".
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he Inspired

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he InspiredSong Writing

Before he was the champ, Ali released an album called I Am The Greatest!, but his musical influence is best heard in the songs he inspired.

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"They're Playing My Song

When Dave recorded the first version of the song with his group the Blasters, producer Nick Lowe gave him some life-changing advice.

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of WayneSongwriter Interviews

The guy who brought us "Stacy's Mom" also wrote the Jane Lynch Emmy song and Stephen Colbert's Christmas songs.

American Hits With Foreign Titles

American Hits With Foreign TitlesSong Writing

What are the biggest US hits with French, Spanish (not "Rico Suave"), Italian, Scottish, Greek, and Japanese titles?

Petula Clark

Petula ClarkSongwriter Interviews

Petula talks about her hits "Downtown" and "Don't Sleep In The Subway," and explains her Michael Jackson connection.

Jimmy Jam

Jimmy JamSongwriter Interviews

The powerhouse producer behind Janet Jackson's hits talks about his Boyz II Men ballads and regrouping The Time.