Scarlet Begonias

Album: 40 Oz. To Freedom (1992)

Songfacts®:

  • This is a cover a Grateful Dead song. It is from their 1974 album, Mars Hotel.
  • The lyrics make reference to several drugs including acid, heroin, PCP, nitrous, ecstasy, mushroom tea, and opium. Both Sublime and the Grateful Dead were closely associated with drugs.
  • Sublime lead singer Brad Nowell died in May 1996 from a heroin overdose.
  • The backbeat in this song was taken from "Funky Drummer" by James Brown. An enormous number of songs have used that sample.

Comments: 20

  • Alan from Forest Acres, ScActually, Robert Hunter, who wrote the lyrics, is still alive. Jerry Garcia did not write the words to this song. Robert Hunter did and he is still performing. Yes, Jerry Garcia died, but he wrote the music to this, not the words, and he actually died of sleep apnea a couple of days after checking into a drug rehab center. He did not overdose on heroin and die, although his death was caused by a near lifetime of abuse of heroin and other drugs.
  • Evoss from Costa Mesa, Cathe song is about heroin addiction- a scarlet bagonia is when you are shooting up and the blood bursts into the needle like a flower- heroin is always refered to as the love of a woman- if you look at the lyrics from this perspective its not a mystery in either version- both singers died of overdose
  • Cody from St Joe, Moi think this is a really good cover because it doesnt sound like the original. if people made covers without throwing their own style then why the hell should anyone even make covers. without throwing in your own style then you're just playing the exact same thing as the original. which in my opinion is pretty f--kin boring. this is a reply to you "j, cumberland, RI"
  • Regina from Earth I Think, NjIts very different than Jerry's version that's a really wild thing. Evidently in Sublime's experience this chick's intentions were not pure she messed with him on a level that is sublimely low he expressed his pain & anger beautifully. Jerry's experience was with a free spirit that meant no harm he expresses his feelings 4 her with sublime beauty & reality.
  • Mic from Tualatin, Ordamn danielle, you are right. i never looked at it that way. check out the big brain on danielle...
  • Pedro from Chula Vista, CaActually, both Bradley and Miguel sing the verses. And by the way, rub-a-dub is not a type of reggae. it refers to the dance and toasting, a precursor to rapping. rocksteady is also not a type of reggae, but a precursor to it. it evolved out of ska two years before reggae did. ('66 - rocksteady, '68 - reggae)
  • Bobbilyn from Jacksonville, FlWho cares if it is about drug references!!! Its a good song. I have 1730 songs on my IPod and 50% are about drugs or drinking, the rest are either about sex or just some random wierd stuff. If its a good song, let it be. The members of Sublime used drugs, so did the Red Hot Chili Peppers and that's why their music rocks. You come up with better lyrics and ideas when you're stoned. The little lyric about the drug dealing is catchy, that's why its good!
  • Bill from Martinsville, NjWhat we have here is a love song about a guy who becomes infatuated with a girl he sees walking down the street. He conjurs up what she is like by her looks, but learns in the end, "the hard way" that he should have just "let her pass by".
  • Mark B. Stoned from Desperate Hot Springs, CaIn the beginning of the song, Brad Nowell does not say anything. Sublime's producer and unofficial fourth member, Miguel, sings the Dead's lyrics while Brad only does the freestyle (summer of love) verse.
  • Philip from St. Louis, MoIn the beginning of this song Brad Nowell does not say Grosvenor Square, he says Rub-a-Dub Square. Also why would a band from California be talking about a site in London.
  • Steve from Tolland, Ctin regards to the second comment, in Sublime's version it is rub a dub square. rub a dub being a form of reggae.... (from urbandictionary.com) A style of Jamaican Reggae. First there was Ska, which evolved into Reggae which has several styles: Rock Steady, Rub-A-Dub, Dancehall etc.The term "Rub-a-Dub" comes from a dance style where the man and woman rub up very close together and grind their hips to the beat.

    And there you go.

  • Chris from Ontario, CanadaThis is an awesome song, I think its better than the original, but I'm really into sublime, not the dead, but i'm thinking of getting into them I just don't know where to start.
  • Dan from Reno, NvThis is the first sight that accually has the lyrics correct. The Beginning does NOT say Rubadub Square, its Grosvenor Square, which is a large garden square in the exclusive Mayfair district of London. It is the centrepiece of the Mayfair property of the Dukes of Westminster, and takes its name from their surname, "Grosvenor".
  • Maggie from San Francisco, Cauhm, i don't think that just because the Grateful Dead (who actually wrote this song) made the whole feminine drug reference....
  • J from Cumberland, Riterrible cover. why the grateful dead would allow this, i have no idea.
  • Danielle from West Chester, OhIts an acid trip, everything female is a referece to the drug. Take for first verse: dude is out wondering in public an catching the image in the corner of his eye he tells you it may be an illusion{a hullcination that acid causes}. He might as well try: right, try to keep walking even though hes messed up! The second verse: its just a description of the drug an how to view the afects of it. Now the fourth verse that sublime added to theres is saying how they got so into the drug and in the end it got them into trouble so as to say shes got the police after me. In the last verse hes telling you that he dont think the drug is bad an taht he likes the drug but "had to learn the hard way just to let her pass by" no matter how much he likes it he knows better to mess with it anymore! Any one who has been on an acid trip understands how hes using references he is!!! Just my view!!
  • Liz from The Town That Never Sleeps, NvIts a song about a girl and having a crazy spell of dealing drugs. The girl ends up getting scared and pulling out. It just got too deep.
    lmao
    -Liz
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaJust so you guys know, the mushroom tea and ecstasy part is not in the Grateful Dead version.
  • Griffen from Troy, Ohthe line is "We sold some mushroom tea, we sold some ecstasy, we sold nitrous, opium, acid herion and pcp and now i hear the po-lice commin after me. the one scarlet with the flowers in her hair got the po-lice commin sfter me. come on guy
  • Phil from Boise, IdThis song only made drug refernces during one part of the song, "We sold some ecstasy, we sold some mushroom tea, we sold nitrous, opium, acid, herion and pcp. Now I here the police commin' after me ... the one scarlet with the flowers in her head has got the police commin' after me..."
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