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"I didn't want to be mean about it But I didn't have one good word to say"

The Annotated "West L.A. Fadeaway"

An installment in The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics.
By David Dodd
Kraemer Family Library, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
"West L.A. Fadeaway"
Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia
Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission.

Looking for a chateau
Twenty-one rooms but one will do
Looking for a chateau
Twenty-one rooms but one will do
I don't want to buy it
I just want to rent it for an hour or two

I met an old mistake
Walking down the street today
I met an old mistake
Walking down the street today
I didn't want to be mean about it
But I didn't have one good word to say

West L.A. fadeaway
West L.A. fadeaway
Little red light on the highway
Big green light on the speedway, hey hey hey

I had a steady job
Hauling items for the mob
I had a steady job
Hauling items for the mob
Y'know the pay was pathetic
It's a shame those boys couldn't be more copacetic

I meet a West L.A. girl
Already know what I need to know
I meet a West L.A. girl
I already know what I need to know
Name, address and phone number
Lord and just how far to go

West L .A. Fadeaway
West L. A. Fadeaway
Little red light on the highway
Big green light on the speedway, hey hey hey

Looking for a chateau
Twenty-one rooms but one will do
Looking for a chateau
Twenty-one rooms but one will do
I don't want to rent it
I just want to use it for a minute or two

West L. A. Fadeaway
West L. A. Fadeaway
Little red light on the highway
Big green light on the speedway, hey hey hey


"West L.A. Fadeaway"

Musical details: Recorded on

First performance: August 28, 1982, at the Oregon Country Fair Site in Veneta, Oregon. "West L.A. Fadeaway" appeared in the third spot in the second set, following "Man Smart, Woman Smarter," and preceding "Far From Me." The other first in the show was "Day Job." The song remained in steady rotation thereafter.

This note from a reader:

Subject: Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics : West LA
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 09:51:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: David Schwarm

Hi David,

I just wanted to make sure that you saw:

---begin---
>From           vjd 
Organization   Netcom
Date           Sat, 05 Apr 1997 13:30:31 -0400
Newsgroups     rec.music.gdead
Message-ID     <33468C31.21EA@ix.netcom.com>
References     1

The first LA Fadeaway I ever saw was at Lakeland 9-12-82 (which I just
got a DAT board of). It was a little different in feel, but also sported
the following verse, which subsequently vanished:

Here's what Ginger says, she talks like she ain't nobody's fool
Here's what Ginger says, she tries to live by the golden rule
She says you treat people all right, 
other people will probably treat you cool

When did this verse disappear, and more importantly, who was Ginger? Did
Jerry ever appear on Gilligan's Island?
<<>>
Vic
****************************************************************
My DAT list: http://www.netcom.com/~vjd
Uncle John's Band on the web: http://www.arborsjazz.com/ujb.html
---end---

David Schwarm           One Way To Get Political Today:
41 Southbrook                   5. Travel.
Irvine, CA
92604-3714              from http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC30/Editors.htm

Bob Dylan covers the tune in concert. For details, see the Dylan cover site.


chateau

A reference to the Chateau Marmont, the hotel on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles where John Belushi died on March 5, 1982. The entire song could be taken as being about Belushi's death, but as usual, Hunter throws in some curve balls, skewing the character of the song so that it becomes someone else.

copacetic

A word coined by Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, the famous dancer (mentioned in "Alabama Getaway"), and usually spelled "copasetic." Its meaning is roughly: "cool."
Keywords: @crime
DeadBase code: [WLA]
First posted: February 1, 1996
Last revised: April 10, 1997