"It's an obsession but it's pleasin'..."

The Annotated "Lazy Lightnin'"/"Supplication"

An installment in The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics.
By David Dodd
Library, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (The opinions expressed are those of the author, not of the University of Colorado.) Copyright notice; © 1995,1996, David Dodd
"Lazy Lightnin'"/"Supplication"
Words by John Perry Barlow; music by Bob Weir
Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission

Lazy lightning
Sleepy fire in your eyes
Is it desire in disguise?
I keep on tryin' but I--
I can't get through

Lazy lightning
I'd like to find the proper potion
To kinda capture your emotion
You're right beside me but I--
I can't get through

You're a loop of lazy lightning,
Liquid loop of lazy lightning,
Must admit you're kinda fright'ning,
But you really get me high

So exciting,
When I hear your velvet thunder
Seems so near I start to wonder,
Would you come closer if I--
I asked you to?

So inviting,
The way you're messin' with my reason
It's an obsession but it's pleasin'
Tell me a lie and I will swear
I'll swear it's true

You're a loop of lazy lightning,
Liquid loop of lazy lightning,
Must admit you're kinda fright'ning,
Liquid loop of lazy lightning

Rope of fire 'round my heart,
Rope of fire ever tight'nin',
Rope of fire 'round my heart,
It's either lunacy or lightnin'

Lazy lightning
The way you always 'lectrify me
Someday I know you'll satisfy me
And all that lightning will be my lightning too
My lightning too


(Whoo-hoo-hoo) Dizzy ain't the word for the way that you're
Makin' me feel now
(Whoo-hoo-hoo) I need some indication if
All of this is real now
(Whoo-hoo-hoo) I've heard it said there could be something
Wrong in my head, now
(Whoo-hoo-hoo) Could it be infatuation or am I just
Bein' mislead, now
Little bolt of inspiration, right beside me now
Sparkin' my imagination, lightening now
Causin' instant excitation, cause you're frightening now
Come to heed my supplication, got to have it now
My light'nin' too, My light'nin' too

"Lazy Lightnin'"

Written in Mill Valley, California, October, 1975.

Recorded on

First performance: June 3, 1976, at the Paramount Theater, Portlant, Oregon. "Lazy Lightnin'"/"Supplication" appeared in the first set, following "They Love Each Other" and preceding "Candyman". Other firsts in the show:

"Lazy Lightnin'"/"Supplication" was played fairly often through the early 80's, but was dropped from the repertoire in 1984. They were always played as a pair.

The song is in a seven meter, like "Estimated Prophet." This being Weir's 49th birthday, I thought it would be appropriate to add the song, as 7 x 7 is 49. Happy birthday, Bob!


A frequent motif in Grateful Dead lyrics. It's interesting that that other thunder and lightning song, "The Wheel," also appeared for the first time in a Grateful Dead show at the 6/3/76 concert.


Always an interesting topic in Grateful Dead songs, from "Dark Star" to "Playing in the Band".


This note from a reader:
Subject: Supplication
Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 09:29:31 +0059 (EDT)
From: rob@birdie.nodc.noaa.gov

got the following reference from this link: http://www.bibliomania.com/Reference/PhraseAndFable/data/1191.html#supplication

Maybe you'd find it intersting, maybe not.


The First Hypertext Edition of
The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable


Supplication This word has greatly changed its original meaning. The Romans used it for a thanksgiving after a signal victory (Livy, iii. 63). (``His rebus gestis, supplicatio a senatu decreta est'' [Caesar: Bell. Gall., ii.].) The word means the act of folding the knees (sub-plico ). We now use the word for begging or entreating something.

Keywords: @lightning, @thunder, @reason
DeadBase code: [LAZY], [SUPP]
First posted: October 16, 1996 (Bob Weir's 49th birthday!)
Last revised: May 16, 1997