Friend Of The Devil

Album: American Beauty (1970)
  • I lit up from Reno
    I was trailed by twenty hounds
    Didn't get to sleep that night
    Till the morning came around

    Set out running but I'll take my time
    A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine
    If I get home before daylight
    I just might get some sleep tonight

    I ran into the Devil, babe
    He loaned me twenty bills
    I spent that night in Utah
    In a cave up in the hills

    I set out running but I take my time
    A friend of the devil is a friend of mine
    If I get home before daylight
    I just might get some sleep tonight

    I ran down to the levee
    But the Devil caught me there
    He took my twenty dollar bill
    And he vanished in the air

    I set out running but I take my time
    A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine
    If I get home before daylight
    I just might get some sleep tonight

    Got two reasons why I cry
    Away each lonely night
    The first one's named sweet Anne Marie
    And she's my heart's delight
    Second one is prison, baby
    The sheriff's on my trail
    And if he catches up with me
    I'll spend my life in jail

    Got a wife in Chino, babe
    And one in Cherokee
    First one says she's got my child
    But it don't look like me

    I set out running but I take my time
    A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine
    If I get home before daylight
    I just might get some sleep tonight

    Got two reasons why I cry
    Away each lonely night
    The first one's named sweet Anne Marie
    And she's my heart's delight
    Second one is prison, baby
    The sheriff's on my trail
    And if he catches up with me
    I'll spend my life in jail

    Got a wife in Chino, babe
    The one in Cherokee
    The first one says she's got my child
    But it don't look like me

    I set out running but I took my time
    A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine
    If I get home before daylight
    I just might get some sleep tonight Writer/s: Jerome J. Garcia, John C. Dawson, Robert C. Hunter
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 18

  • Bob from Rochester, Nh, NhThe Songwriting credits in "The Grateful Dead Songbook" list Jerry Garcia, John Dawson and Robert Hunter. John "Marmaduke" Dawson was the lead singer and primary songwriter for the New Riders.
  • Russell from Corona, CaMany of Robert Hunter's lyrics don't carry "Secret Meanings" and are fairly obvious if read as narrative. Hunter & Garcia were also interested in American Folk Narrative and would take old songs and rework them into modern tunes with that touch of timelessness to it. This song is about a regular guy who has his troubles with love and money like the rest of us do & is relating it to the listener who if agreeing with him (we're all sinners) are in the same boat or Friends of the Devil.
  • Gee from Nj, NjShes a wanted Cherokee "an outlaw" I hope U know thee kind the devil is a character created by those who think they are in control cause of social title or appearance
  • Gee from Nj, NjShes a wanted Cherokee "an outlaw" I hope U know thee kind the devil is a character created by those who think they are in control cause of social title or appearance
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InHeartbreaking song about a man at the end of his rope.
    Friend of the Devil does not mean he is not satanic or anything of the sort, but that he is at the bottom, with only others who have fallen as low for company.
    btw...I must say that Lyle Lovett's cover of this is even sadder, and thus better.
    Just IMNSHO, of course.
  • Robert from Milton, Paare you serious? this song is definately about smoking weed.
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdThe slower version is said to have been inspired by a Loggins and Messina one.
  • Mark from Chino, CaI think when he sings "got a wife in chino" he is refering to her being in the Chino state prison.
  • Mark from Chino, CaYes indeed! Chino is in California. Only the greatest little cities in the nation. This song is the reason why I listen to "The Dead". No place better than Chino. 15 minutes away from everywhere fun!
  • Kevin from Reading , PaDespite being one of their best-known and loved recordings, the live version -- at least to these ears -- never quite measured up, mainly because they rearranged it, slowed it down and did it electric. The recording on "American Beauty" is fast and folky with a sprightly mandolin part (played by David Grisman, if I'm not mistaken).
  • Aaron from Bowling Green, KyI think its important to note the use of the word devil. Obviously not promoting satanic worship or anything. The "devil" (open to interpretation) has burned him, and insinuates any friend of the devil is a friend of mine. He is showing sympathy compassion with those who too were messed over by whatever "devil" you want to call it. It was probably drugs for Garcia though.
  • Morgan from Thousand Oaks, CaI think it is about drugs too, when he is running from the law i think it has something to do with a drug bust. The devil is some sort of drug also, he deals it out and gets 20 bills, but when it said the devil came back for that money, i think he himself was buying.
  • Dave from Ocala, FlReno's not in Utah. It's in Nevada.
  • Dave from Ocala, FlThere's another verse the Dead never sang, but Hunter sings at his shows and the New Riders of the Purple Sage (I think it was David Nelson of NRPS that cowrote the song) also do:

    "You can borrow from The Devil
    You can borrow from a friend
    But Devil'll give ya twenty
    While your friend's only got 10"

    The Dead's lyrics are
    "Got a wife in Chino, Baby
    And one in Cherokee"

    but Bob Dylan sings:
    "Got a wife in Reno, Baby,
    And one in Tennessee,"
  • Brandon from Philadelphia, Pai think the songs about acid, or just drugs in general. "the devil" that they talk about is drugs, friends of drugs around that time are usually laid back, idealistic people like the grateful dead. so "the friend of the devil (drugs) is a friend of mine"
  • Jai from Atlanta, GaBut the first line in the song is: "I lit out from Reno"
    That was in Utah. Not sure about the whole polygamy thing...

    Robert Hunter actually wrote this for The New Riders of the Purple Sage.
  • Erik from Cincinnati, OhThe lyric is actually "Got a wife in Chino, babe, and one in Cherokee". Chino is in California.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaI remember when they said "This is breaking a long standing tradition of ours, and we love to break traditions"
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