| April–May 1972|
Warner Bros. Records
5 November 1972
| November 5, 1972 (1972-11-05)|
History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear's Choice)
Grateful Dead albums, Rock music albums
Europe '72 is a 1972 live triple album of performances by the Grateful Dead, recorded during their tour of Western Europe in early 1972. It was the first album by the band to contain versions of songs such as "Jack Straw" and "Brown Eyed Women" and the segue pairing of "China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider". One of the band's most popular releases, it was one of the first triple-record rock albums to be certified Gold and has since been certified Double Platinum. A second volume was released in 2011, in conjunction with the release of the entire 22-date tour (see Europe '72: The Complete Recordings).
Prior to the Grateful Dead's 1972 tour of Europe, the band had undergone several changes in personnel: drummer/percussionist Mickey Hart left the group in early 1971, making Bill Kreutzmann the sole drummer. Keyboardist Keith Godchaux was recruited, in September 1971, initially to augment founding member Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, who had been hospitalized and was experiencing increasingly poor health. Additionally, Keith's wife, Donna Godchaux had officially joined the band as a backup vocalist, just weeks before the tour commenced.
As the band's popularity had increased and they were booked into larger venues, the road crew, administrative staff, friends and relatives had likewise increased in number. Known as the "Grateful Dead Family", nearly the entire entourage were brought to the European continent, with the idea that the trip would be financially offset by the release of a live-album documentation of the tour. To that end, the Dead’s record label, Warner Bros., paid for the band to travel with a professional 16-track recorder.
Europe '72 was the third live, multi-disk album of the Dead's past five Warner Bros. releases, showcasing how the group's reputation increasingly rested on live performance. The album contained mostly new material, in addition to live arrangements of tracks found on previous studio albums. Lead guitarist Jerry Garcia continued his songwriting collaboration with lyricist Robert Hunter, while rhythm guitarist Bob Weir had begun writing material with John Perry Barlow. Pigpen made his second singing-songwriting contribution to a Dead album, writing "Mr. Charlie" with Hunter. The new songs were never officially released in studio form - excepting a studio version of "One More Saturday Night", which was released as a single to promote the tour and then released on Bob Weir's solo album, Ace. Consequently, Europe '72 was treated as a new-material release as much as a live retrospective, and the new songs on the album were largely considered definitive versions.
Archetypal American images abounded on "Jack Straw", while "Cumberland Blues" and "Tennessee Jed" were firmly rooted with regional imagery and sentiment. "Truckin'", which had recently become the band's most recognized song, catalogued its own troubled-but-resilient pathway through American life. The Dead's segue pairing of "China Cat Sunflower" into "I Know You Rider" likewise linked their psychedelic past into a more traditional context.
Although Europe '72 is billed as a live album, the songs were subject to studio overdubs (specifically with respect to the lush harmony vocals), as well as varispeed - particularly the songs with Garcia on lead vocals, which were pitched sharp by as much as a half-step. Because recordings of the songs were cut from the live, multitrack tapes and overdubbed directly, unadulterated originals of many of the performances do not exist. However, the two-track soundboard recording of the May 10, 1972 concert, for example, shows that the band had not yet sorted the vocal arrangements for "He's Gone", that were later overdubbed in the United States.
Europe '72, like other Grateful Dead cover art, was designed by Kelly/Mouse studios. In contrast to the band's previous albums, the artwork is set against white, mostly-empty panels of (originally) a triple gatefold sleeve. The front cover shows a large "Truckin'" boot stepping across the Atlantic to Europe. The back cover depicts the corresponding "Truckin' Fool" smashing an ice cream cone against his forehead. Airborne drops of ice cream are drawn as a text ambigram, indistinctly spelling the word "LIVE".
The inside credits list all 43 members of the touring entourage, including, for example, Carolyn "Mountain Girl" Garcia. A color booklet contains photos of European sites and the concerts (including part of the entourage waiting to board a DFDS ferry at Newcastle), references to Revelation and the Feast of Fools, and a long account of how the tour split into two factions, the "Bozos" and the "Bolos". The conclusion is the first appearance of the epithet "There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert".
Originally published on vinyl as a triple-LP and as a double-pack 8-track album, Europe '72 was reissued as a two-disc CD in 1990 and again in 2001, with bonus tracks, as part of The Golden Road (1965–1973) box set. This version was subsequently given individual release (in 2003). An edited version of the album's "Sugar Magnolia" was released as a 7" single (c/w "Mr. Charlie").
On the 2003 CD re-release, the covers are reversed, with "The Fool" on the front.
The album was the first to feature Keith Godchaux and his wife Donna Jean Godchaux, who had joined the band as an additional vocalist. The Europe '72 tour would be Pigpen's last with the Grateful Dead. Several songs on which he sang lead were retired after the tour's finale at the Lyceum Theatre, London. In ill health due to a congenital disease, he died the following March.
A sequel volume, Europe '72 Volume 2, was released 39 years after the original album, in 2011.
Recordings of the April/May performances were highly valued by fans, many of whom felt the Europe '72 tour was among the band's best. As the entire tour had been captured on reels of 16-track tape, in 2011 all 22 shows were released, in high quality, as Europe '72: The Complete Recordings (see this page for more information). Due to higher than expected demand, the 7,200 numbered copies of the box set sold out as a pre-order in less than four days. The first three thousand copies ordered had an option for custom personalisation. A music-only version (without the box set's steamer trunk and accoutrements) was also given limited release. The 73-CD box set shipped in September 2011.
The album was well received by music critics. Tom Dupree's contemporary review in Rolling Stone praised the sound fidelity and musicianship, especially Garcia's lead guitar playing: "He displays more sheer savvy of the guitar fretboard and its incorporation — but not sublimation — into the rock milieu than anyone I can think of". He also said "there are riffs of all kinds liberally scattered throughout". In 2015, the journal listed the album as number 19 in their top 50 live albums of all time.
- Cumberland Blues" (Garcia, Lesh, Hunter) – 5:41
- "He's Gone" (Hunter, Garcia) – 6:57
- "One More Saturday Night" (Weir) – 4:47
- "Jack Straw" (Hunter, Weir) – 4:48
- "You Win Again" (Williams) – 4:00
- "China Cat Sunflower" (Garcia, Hunter) – 5:33>
- "I Know You Rider" (trad., arr. Grateful Dead) – 5:03
- "Brown Eyed Women" (Garcia, Hunter) – 4:37
- "Hurts Me Too" (James, Sehorn) - 7:18
- "Ramble On Rose" (Garcia, Hunter) – 6:01
- "Sugar Magnolia' (Weir, Hunter) - 7:10
- "Mr. Charlie" (McKernan, Hunter) - 3:37
- "Tennessee Jed" (Garcia, Hunter) - 7:10
- "The Stranger (two souls in communion)" (McKernan) - 6:50
- "Truckin'" (Weir, Garcia, Lesh, Hunter) - 13:06
- "Epilogue" (Grateful Dead) - 5:06
- "Prelude" (Grateful Dead) - 7:38
- "Morning Dew" (Dobson, Rose) - 11:41
- "Looks Like Rain" (Barlow, Weir) – 7:37
- "Good Lovin'" (Rudy Clark, Arthur Resnick) – 18:30>
- "Caution (do not stop on tracks)" (Kreutzmann, Weir, Garcia, Lesh, McKernan) - 4:39>
- "Who Do You Love?" (McDaniel) – 0:23>
- "Caution (do not stop on tracks)" (Kreutzmann, Weir, Garcia, Lesh, McKernan) - 1:44>
- "Good Lovin'" (Clark, Resnick) – 5:59
"Cumberland Blues" – April 8, 1972 at Empire Pool, London (more from this date later released on Steppin' Out)
"Brown-Eyed Women" – April 14, 1972 at Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen
"Jack Straw", "China Cat Sunflower", "I Know You Rider" and "Tennessee Jed" – May 3, 1972 at Olympia Theatre, Paris
"Sugar Magnolia" – May 4, 1972 at Olympia Theatre, Paris
"He's Gone" – May 10, 1972 at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
"Mr. Charlie" – May 23, 1972 at Lyceum Theatre, London (more from this date later released on Steppin' Out)
"You Win Again" & "It Hurts Me Too" – May 24, 1972 at Lyceum Theatre, London (more from this date later released on Rockin' the Rhein)
"One More Saturday Night", "Ramble on Rose", "Truckin'", "Epilogue", "Prelude", and "Morning Dew" – May 26, 1972 at Lyceum Theatre, London (an additional track from this date later released on Steppin' Out and Weir Here)
"Looks Like Rain", "The Yellow Dog Story" – April 8, 1972 at Empire Pool, London (see also Steppin' Out)
"Good Lovin'", "Caution", and "Who Do You Love?" – April 14, 1972 at Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen
"The Stranger (two souls in communion)" – April 26, 1972 at Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt (majority of concert previously released as Hundred Year Hall)
The Grateful Dead
Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
Phil Lesh – bass guitar, vocals
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan – organ, harmonica, vocals
Keith Godchaux – piano
Bill Kreutzmann – drums
Donna Godchaux – backing vocals
Robert Hunter – songwriter
Heard, Jackson, Kid, Parrish, Ramrod, Razine, Winslow, Barry, Rudzo –equipment
Dan Healy –technical assistance
Candace Brightman, Ben Haller - stage lighting
Betty Cantor, Jim Furman, Bob Matthews, Rosie, Wizard –recording
Betty Cantor, Bob Matthews –mixing
Kelley / Mouse Studios –cover art
- "The Yellow Dog Story" (Weir) – 3:09
Album – Billboard
Singles – Billboard
The Recording Industry Association of America sales certifications for Europe '72 are:
1Cumberland Blues5:43Europe '72 Wikipedia
2He's Gone (Live in Amsterdam - 1972)6:57
3One More Saturday Night4:49