What does Touch of Grey mean?

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The Grateful Dead: Touch of Grey Meaning

Song Released: 1987


Touch of Grey Lyrics

Paint by numbermorning sky looks so phony.
Dawn is breaking everywhere, light a candle, curse the glare
Draw the curtains I don't care, 'cause it's all right
I will get by, I will get by, I will get by, I will survive.

I see you've got...

  1. anonymous
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    Oct 27th report

    Reminds me of sister-in-law when she was divorcing my heroin user brother. I took it to mean that she did not care that he had his list of reasons they should stay together.

    That she was disillusioned, depressed. That it was alright, she would survive, and they would both survive. I did not pay much attention to the lyrics ~ and just read the Deltas, et al, were related to military or Nato alphabet.

    I recently tried to whistle through my teeth and spit surprised that I could do so.

  2. anonymous
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    Apr 28th 2021 report

    Anthem of the trailer trash generation. Letting every last thing go including the family pet. You can bitch at me but I'm not listening. There's not even good grass and the cow's milk is undrinkable. I would never presume to interpret it, but would love to know what the author meant.

  3. anonymous
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    Dec 1st 2020 report

    I have always felt a sense of sadness when listening to the lyrics. To me, the lyrics represent a certain apathy in which we, human beings in this society of greed, partake. Kids can’t read, cows drinking kerosene but that’s alright. We will get by. To me, it shows that as we continue to advance with greed and technology in our culture, we grow continuously more apathetic and selfish. We want to be unaware.

  4. anonymous
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    Jan 8th 2020 report

    See you got your fists out reminds me of Janis Joplin.

  5. anonymous
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    Jan 28th 2018 report

    While the world is in shambles, even through the our most depressing time we can always just close the curtains. Knowing the exact words in the song should make it self explanatory. Just an all time wonderful song that enlightens me each day when I wake up. First thing I listen to everyday of my life. Coping with daily struggles seems so much easier when I have prepared with my favorite song, "Touch of Grey!"

  6. anonymous
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    Jan 31st 2017 report

    I may have written the Jan 13th, 2016 1:48am post, or maybe not, but it fits my interpretation. I have also wondered if the Ables and the Bakers and the C....s could be "Charlie" from the old military alphabet. The Deltas and the East and the Freeze could refer to Vietnam (and the Cold War), making a "Charlie" reference seem racist, and the war was the ABCs we all must face.

  7. anonymous
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    Mar 25th 2016 report

    A song about still being uptomistic about yourself and about life to get you by, even after going through ''THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL'' sort of speaking, where life can turn out to be a living hell for you to come out on the other side a little older, wiser and with a ''Touch of Grey'' around the gills to breathe deep and to listen much more to the new sounds of life for the continue to survive for another day.

  8. anonymous
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    Jan 13th 2016 report

    I take it a bit more literally. Touch of grey refers to getting old. You wake up one morning and think to yourself that life has passed you by and still no rainbow in the sky for you, for all you tried to make a better life "Kid can't read at 17" "rent is in arrears" and you feel bitter "say your piece and get out".

    I first heard this song when I was young and more idealistic, and I thought it was funny. Today, with my own "touch of gray" I see all the irony in it, and still enjoy listening.

  9. anonymous
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    Apr 8th 2014 report

    What's the point of it all?

  10. anonymous
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    Sep 21st 2013 report

    This song has always sounded to me what depression feels like. "Paint-by-number morning sky looks so phony...Light the candles/curse the glare/draw the curtains I don't care cause/it's all right" pretty well describes a depressed person's inability to face to day and disillusionment with the world. The It's all right refrain resonates especially, since most people will try to hide their defeating pain.

    I feel there's a lot of detail about things that are going wrong, responsibilities that haven't been fulfilled, and a general loss of hope. At the end of every grievance, the refrain of "it's alright/I will get by" expresses the struggle of surviving in a world where the cracks are all that can be seen. Even finding a little touch of grey in every silver lining is kind of how depression feels. But by ending it with "WE will get by," there is a sense that one can survive through feeling that terrible. The last stanza, where the lyrics say "a touch of grey/kind of suits you anyway" is weirdly what I always wanted to hear when I felt my most depressed. Like saying "Even though you're sad and hate everything, I still like you" from a good friend.

  11. anonymous
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    Dec 4th 2011 report

    Hello, I enjoy this song a lot, only becomes it sort of reminds me of my life. I feel that this song depicts what everyone has to deal with in life. We try are best to find a good wage and make a happy home for our family. "All the abc's we all must face"...go to college, get a job, have a family. Sometimes things dont work out so linear, thats life. If you lose your job and your wife does nothing but resent your lazy bum, but think about it you got your list of things you need to do, i see that. Dont forget your best laid plans dont always go that smooth, just remember that every silver lining has a touch of gray. Imperfection is the gray to your silver plans. I had a dog, which made me very happy, then she died, and "the dog has not been feed in years"...Education has been watered down, parents have a hard enough time keeping the food on the table. Good luck, just remember that every silver lining has a touch of gray. bye.


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