Songs Of Their Own | Holly Bowling – Eyes Of The World
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead, JamBase teamed with Telefunken to produce the Songs Of Their Own 50-day tribute series featuring a daily cover of a Grateful Dead original song and culminating with our grand finale 50th video premiering the day of the final Fare Thee Well show in Chicago on July 5. We started the series with a list of 100 Grateful Dead original songs (exclusively their tunes, not covers they often played) and asked many of our favorite artists to record cover versions either at the JamBase office in San Francisco, at one of the many venues around the Bay Area, at Telefunken’s Connecticut studios and beyond. No song was allowed to be covered twice, and today’s participant Holly Bowling stared down “Eyes Of The World.”
First played the night of many debuts, “Eyes Of The World” emerged on February 9, 1973 at Roscoe Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, California. From the start the Garcia/Hunter song infused long improvisational passages, becoming a source of some the band’s most gorgeous jams over the course of its over 375 renditions. Played heavily in 1973 and 1974 it was recorded for the band’s 1973 LP Wake Of The Flood and stayed in The Dead’s song rotation for the next two decades. “Eyes Of The World” opened the second set on July 6, 1995 at Riverport Amphitheatre near St. Louis making its final appearance at a Grateful Dead concert.
Though the lyrics to “Eyes Of The World” served as inspiration behind calling this series Songs Of Their Own, pianist Holly Bowling crafted an instrumental take on the song. Bowling transcribed note-for-note the jam that came out of The Dead’s June 18, 1974 version of “Eyes” from Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky and incorporated it into the rendition she recorded at the Cadillac Hotel in San Francisco. The Cadillac was home to Jerry Garcia in 1961 and currently houses the Patricia Walkup Memorial Piano which Holly was able to record on. Here’s a little about the piano Holly played:
A fully-restored 1884 Steinway Model D Concert Grand Piano, it was donated to the hotel in memory of Patricia Walkup, a San Francisco activist and former volunteer at the Cadillac. The lustre of the Indian Rosewood case is a work of art. The old- growth spruce soundboard is the piano’s original. The instrument is meticulously maintained on a regular basis.
Here’s audio of the “Eyes Of The World” Bowling interpreted:
Watch all of the Songs Of Their Own entries including Max Creek, Jackie Greene, Strangefolk, Midnight North, Anders Osborne & Luther Dickinson, Keller Williams and more via the YouTube Playlist below.