Written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter after Mickey Hart's father ran off with the band's money in 1972 but came to be used to memorialize any great rock and roll figure (Duane Allman, Bob...
Rat in a drain ditch, caught on a limb, you know better but I know him
Like I told you, what I said, steal your face right off your head

Now he's gone, now he's gone, Lord he's gone, he's gone
Like a steam locomotive, rollin' down the track
He's gone, he's gone and nothin's gonna bring him back, he's gone

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride, hot as a pistol but cool inside
Cat on a tin roof, dogs in a pile
Nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile

Now he's gone, now he's gone, Lord he's gone, he's gone
Like a steam locomotive, rollin' down the track
He's gone, he's gone and nothin's gonna bring him back, he's gone

Goin' where the wind don't blow so strange
Maybe off on some high cold mountain chain
Lost one round but the price wasn't anything
A knife in the back and more of the same

Same old, rat in a drain ditch, caught on a limb
You know better but I know him
Like I told you, what I said
Steal your face right off your head

He's gone, now he's gone, Lord he's gone, he's gone
Like a steam locomotive, rollin' down the track
He's gone, he's gone and nothin's gonna bring him back, he's gone
Like a steam locomotive, rollin' down the track
He's gone, he's gone and nothin's gonna bring him back, he's gone

Ooh, nothin's gonna bring him back
Ooh, nothin's gonna bring him back
Ooh, nothin's gonna bring him back
Ooh, nothin's gonna bring him back
Ooh, nothin's gonna bring him back
Ooh, nothin's gonna bring him back
Ooh, nothin's gonna bring him back
Ooh, nothin's gonna bring him back (he's gone for good)
Ooh, nothin's gonna bring him back
Ooh, nothin's gonna bring him back


Lyrics submitted by itsmyownmind, edited by GoAskAlice1963

"He's Gone (Live in Veneta, OR, 8/27/72)" as written by Robert C. Hunter Jerome J. Garcia

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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He's Gone song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentactually it was micky harts FATHER.
    tenneseejedon March 28, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIf you look this song up on the Annotated Grateful Dead website, by David Dodd he says

    "He's Gone as originally 'written, referred to the disappearance of Mickey Hart's father, Lenny Hart, who was acting as the band's manager, with a good deal of money. (See interview in Relix, vol. 5, #2, p. 24.) Since then, the song has become riddled with meaning, played often quite tenderly when someone close to the band dies. "

    arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/…
    AngelDayZ26on February 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Steal your face right off of your head"
    refferring to the persona lsd gives you: without a face, without an ego.
    "he's gone"
    could this be refferring to jerry or someone in particular?
    lsdtangerineon November 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthaha actually this song refers to Mickey harts (the drummer) uncle. His uncle was the band's manager forawhile and was in charge of all the money. After a concert his uncle dissappeared with all the dead'smoney with him. So after taht they wrote this song about it.
    k9ttyk1ton February 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt cold also be about losing PigPen.
    lowlifeclownon January 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNine mile skid on a ten mile ride, hot as a pistol but cool inside.
    lowlifeclownon January 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdeffinetly not about jerry, he was still alive. maybe pigpen, but the story about mickey's dad is interesting. id like to assume that someone's wrong about the money thing and this song is more about wantin someone back just to have them back, not just to get money. but that's just cause thats what i think of the song, not cause it could ever be true.

    steal your face right off your head....ever think about that in correlation to one of the grateful dead's main logos, the skull? its a faceless head, thats for sure. also, if the story above is true, then it'd be typical for the dead to turn something shitty into something so kool and longlasting. you see those dead head skulls everywhere
    areeseon January 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, Pigpen was still alive and singing.
    It could only be about Mickey's father's thing. Poor Mickey, got so ashamed he left the band for some time.
    Tiger Kingon March 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, Pigpen was still alive and singing.
    It could only be about Mickey's father's thing. Poor Mickey, got so ashamed he left the band for some time.
    Tiger Kingon March 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSpeaking to me in the moment... This song is so literal the meaning was elusive( never could reach it... just slipped away when i tried...)

    Like I told you... what i said. steal your face right off your head.

    In the true moment. with out ego... naked truth.
    this is a compass for that experience. reminding you where it's at.

    Nine mild skiddin... reminding us, we are not in control altogether.... but it's alright. ( hot as a pistol... but cool inside.)

    listen... Jerry says it... YOU KNOW BETTER... BUT I KNOW HIM.

    truth is... who knows what the people who wrote this song thought it meant to them at that time.... and who knows all the different things it has meant to people since.

    ooh... nothings gonna bring him back
    harmony7777on September 12, 2007   Link

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