Hear Jerry Garcia’s Previously Unreleased ‘Here Comes Sunshine’ Demo

Listen to the Grateful Dead guitarist’s fully-formed arrangement of the Wake Of The Flood side two opener.

By Nate Todd Sep 22, 2023 10:45 am PDT

The Grateful Dead shared Jerry Garcia’s previously unreleased demo of “Here Comes Sunshine.” The track is set to land on the upcoming Wake Of The Flood (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) reissue, due out on September 29 via Rhino.

Wake Of The Flood draws its title from Robert Hunter’s first line in “Here Comes Sunshine.” Read an excerpt on Hunter’s lyrics from Nicholas G. Meriwether’s Wake Of The Flood (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) liner notes:

The Vanport Flood of 1948 made a deep impression on Hunter as a child, and he drew on that for the lyrics, though he confused the year, writing ’49. It was a revealing slip: ’49 invoked the Gold Rush of a century earlier, which transformed San Francisco and made California a state. The silt from gold mining prompted the construction of the Bay model, to study possible solutions. But even if Hunter conflated dates, his lyrics still got at a deeper set of truths, including the sense of promise that followed the great flood in the book of Genesis. God ended that cataclysm with a new covenant, and Rick Griffin drew on that story for the cover, not only the water on the front but the raven on the back, sent out by Noah to see if the flood was receding. The bird also evoked that context: it came from the old card game Rook, marketed as a Christian alternative to traditional playing cards.

Wake Of The Flood came out on October 15, 1973. The Wake Of The Flood 50th anniversary celebrations have included a previously unreleased Garcia demo of “Eyes Of The World” in July. The collection Wake Of The Flood: The Angel’s Share hit streaming services in August.

Jerry’s recording of “Here Comes Sunshine” from Wake Of Thee Flood — the LP’s title came from Robert Hunter’s first line in the song — arrived in the same batch of demos as “Eyes Of The World” recorded in early 1973. As per the note accompanying the demo:

In early 1973, just before the Grateful Dead performed on February 9, Jerry Garcia recorded demos of the new songs he and Robert Hunter had been creating. These demos featured Jerry doing the singing and playing, and he presumably shared them with the band members so they could start learning the new songs. Amongst these demos was this beautiful Here Comes Sunshine, which would almost immediately become a major jam vehicle upon joining the live repertoire on 2/9/73, usually clocking in at over 10 minutes. It would stick around the live sets for about a year, before being dropped for almost 20 years, making its triumphant return in December 1992.

Garcia seemed to have jamming in mind when he laid down the fully-formed arrangement of “Here Comes Sunshine,” which is seven-and-a-half-minutes long. The demo — containing drum machine, what sounds like some kind of keyboard instrument, bass and guitar — features the middle improv section in C major and there’s hints of the funky nature the jam would take on with the full band.

Listen to Jerry Garcia’s previously unreleased “Here Comes Sunshine” below:

More Wake Of The Flood 50
  • Stream Previously-Unreleased ‘Eyes Of The World’ Demo Recorded By Grateful Dead Guitarist Jerry Garcia

    Stream Previously-Unreleased ‘Eyes Of The World’ Demo Recorded By Grateful Dead Guitarist Jerry Garcia 

  • Stream Grateful Dead's ‘Wake Of The Flood: The Angel's Share’ Outtake Collection

    Stream Grateful Dead's ‘Wake Of The Flood: The Angel's Share’ Outtake Collection 

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