"The bus came by and I got on, that's when it all began"

The Annotated
"That's It For The Other One"

An installment in The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics.

By David Dodd
Research Associate, Music Department
University of California, Santa Cruz.

Copyright notice
Some interpretations: contributions from the WELL Deadlit conference.

"That's It For The Other One"

Words and music by Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Bill Kreutzmann ("That's It For the Other One," composed and written by Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Bill Kreutzmann. Reproduced by arrangement with Ice Nine Publishing Company, Inc. (ASCAP))

["Cryptical Envelopment"]

The other day they waited, the sky was dark and faded,
Solemnly they stated, "He has to die, you know he has to die."
All the children learnin', from books that they were burnin',
Every leaf was turnin', to watch him die, you know he had to die.

The summer sun looked down on him,
His mother could but frown on him,
And all the other sound on him,
He had to die, you know he had to die.

["Quodlibet for tenderfeet": Instrumental]

["The Faster We Go The Rounder We Get: aka part 2]

Spanish lady come to me, she lays on me this rose.
It rainbow spirals round and round,
It trembles and explodes
It left a smoking crater of my mind,
I like to blow away.
But the heat came round and busted me
For smilin on a cloudy day


Comin', comin', comin' around, comin' around, comin' around in a circle
Comin', comin', comin' around, comin' around, in a circle,
Comin', comin', comin' around, comin' around, in a circle.

Escapin' through the lily fields
I came across an empty space
It trembled and exploded
Left a bus stop in its place
The bus came by and I got on
That's when it all began
There was cowboy Neal
At the wheel
Of a bus to never-ever land


["We Leave the Castle"]

And when the day had ended, with rainbow colors blended,
Their minds remained unbended,
He had to die, oh, you know he had to die.

That's It For the Other One

Musical details: Also known as "The Other One," on most recordings. First recorded on Anthem of the Sun. Also to be found, in various forms, on


  1. Henry Kaiser on Those Who Know History are Doomed to Repeat It
  2. Solar Circus on Historical Retrospective.
  3. Phish has covered the song live at least once.

It's interesting to note that Jane's Addiction, in their version of "Ripple" on Deadicated, use the rhythmic figure of "The Other One" for the basis of the instrumental tracks. An interesting juxtaposition...

This note from rec. music.gdead on the possibility of variant lyrics:

Subject: 2.2.68 - Crystal Ballroom
Date: Thu, 01 May 1997 15:56:14 -0700

F. Scott Clugston wrote:


was listenin' to this recent acquisition today and noticed some strange lyrics in TO1. The first verse goes somethin' like this:

When I woke up this morning, my head was by my side
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? and vanished overnight
I could not even spell my name, ? ? ? ? ? ?
after this they do the usual "heat come 'round and busted me for smilin' on a cloudy day". Can anybody fill in the question marks and was it ever done this way again? BTW, this is a very nice 45 minutes of deadness:


Appreciate any inputs.

fsc@enter.net tapelist - http://www.enter.net/~fsc

And this answer:

Subject: 2.2.68 - Crystal Ballroom
Date: Sat, 3 May 1997 11:27:34 -0600 (MDT)
From: John and Rebecca McGraw
To: fsc@enter.net
CC: ddodd@brain.uccs.edu

I don't know how good a copy you've got, but my copy from the Grateful Dead Hour isn't too comprehensible.

I have, nonetheless, noticed the odd lyrics and, thanks again to the Grateful Dead hour, have some idea of how this whole thing turns into TO1 we all know & love.

10-22-67: Deadbase doesn't even have a setlist for this, & they say the 1st Other1 is next month on 11-11. Gans played it & pointed out the lyric differences.

1st verse:
When I woke up this morning my head was not attached
I asked my friends about it, try to find out where its at
[inaudible]...came up inside of me, blew the dust clouds all away
The heat came 'round & busted me for smiling on a cloudy day

2nd verse:
Well the heat down in jail they weren't very smart
They taught me how to read & write,they taught me the precious arts
When I was breaking out of jail I learned that right away
That they didn't need me telling them about smiling first and running _?_

(don't know that last word, sounds like "hey" or "hay")


1st verse:
When I woke up this morning with the sky in sight
I would ask the walls about it, but they vanished overnight
I could not think or spell my name or _?_ the words away
The heat came 'round & busted me for smiling on a cloudy day.

(word in 3rd line sounds like "fly" but I'm not certain what it is. 2nd verse is the familiar "escaping through the lily fields" one)


When I woke up this morning my head was not in sight....

(rest of 1st stanza is same as 11-11-67. looks like the content of the 10-22 version has been put in the rhyme scheme of the 11-11 version)

Also, on 2-3 the lyrics are the familiar ones, though the "it left a smoking crater of my mind I like to blow away" line is totally flubbed, but that could be because it wasn't stuck in Weir's mind yet, or it may not have even been written.

I'm not saying any of these transcriptions are authoritative. There's lots of intense jamming on all of these, and you have to wonder how anal Weir was about getting to the mike for the beginnings of stanzas (my guess: not at all). There's only a couple places where I'm confused, and those are marked.

Gotta love that Grateful Dead hour!

-John McGraw

p.s. when I first read your post, I thought I'd check David Dodd's awesome annotated lyrics page (http://www.uccs.edu/~ddodd/gdhome.html#songs). While it didn't have any answers I could quickly & easily forward to you, it did have your post quoted on it. Because of this, I'm cc'ing this to David.


Blair Jackson, in Grateful Dead: the Music Never Stopped has this to say about The Other One:

"The song, which the Dead frequently dedicated to Owsley and which some have suggested deals with the persecution of the acid chemist, opens with a series of serious, but pleasantly melodic verses sung by Garcia over Pigpen's liturgical organ line and Garcia's florid acoustic guitar... The tune continues to tell the tale of this ill-fated individual until the melody fades and Kreutzmann's and Hart's drums set up the relentless chugging rhythm of the next section, sung by Weir, which eulogizes Prankster Neal Cassady (who died in Mexico in early 1968 under slightly mysterious, possibly drug- related circumstances), and attempts to verbalize, to a degree, psychedelic euphoria. Abruptly, that song closes and the music returns to the original theme sung by Garcia." (pp. 84-85)

David Gans, in Playing in the Band, has this to say about "The Other One":

"There's another piece with a ... simple appearance which provides a launching pad for far-reaching group exploration. It's listed in the songbooks as "Cryptical Envelopment" for publishing reasons, but band and fans know it as "The Other One." It's that brief passage of frantic, fearful 12/8 on side one of Anthem of the Sun and side two of the "Skullfuck" album (Grateful Dead, the 1971 double live LP) with the perfect paranoia imagery and the perfect scary cartoon soundtrack flavor.

"`The thing about `The Other One' that's so thrilling is that it has all these climaxes at an incredible rate when it's already going at a very strong pace,' says Hart.

"Never has such black music packed such joie de vivre! The visual images are of lovely things turning dangerous (`Spanish lady come to me, she lays on me this rose/It rainbow spiral round and round and trembles and explodes') and of everyday scenes turning fabulously opportune: `The bus come by and I got on/That's when it all began...'
As with `Dark Star' the `song' portion of `The Other One' is straightforward, though characteristically clever, and the sketch of a lyric and the `head' of the song are merely jumping-off points.

"`The Other One' has a more clearly circumscribed emotional color than `Dark Star' (`Breathlessness,' says Weir, who wrote it). It's a joyful song of terror and a scary song of fun, and in performance the band takes it through many dark passages with brightly lit tonalities close at hand. You can see the cinematic version of `The Other One' in you mind's eye without having to know the words."(pp. 74-75)

In an interview published in Golden Road, Spring, 1991, p. 30, Garcia was asked about his portion of the lyric:

"Golden Road: Who or what inspired your section of "That's It For the Other One"--"The other day they waited," etc.?

Garcia: ... "Seriously, I think that's an extension of my own personal symbology for "The Man of Constant Sorrow"--the old folk song--which I always thought of as being a sort of Christ parable."

Here are some ideas on the song's meaning contributed via the WELL's Deadlit conference:


Thanks to Dave Kopel for the following annotation!

The word is a combination of the Latin "quod" (meaning "what") andlibet ("it pleases"). For use of quodlibet in its most literal sense, see, for example, the Latin translation of the Book of Leviticus.

But over time, quodlibet acquired a more specialized meaning. In medieval times, there would be certain days when professors of theology would open up the class, and answers questions on any theological topic. In fact, people not even enrolled in the school could come in off the street and pose a question. The professor would be required to answer any and all questions. The quodlibet was, thus, the opportunity for posing important, sometimes difficult questions to the masters of theology. Some theologians shunned quodlibets, while others loved them. St. Thomas Aquinas was among this latter group. (Transcriptsof some quodlibets by Aquinas, Ockham and others are available for sale at a nominalcost.) 

Still later, building on both earlier meanings of "quodlibet", the word began to be applied to certain types of musical compositions. The Oxford Companion defines the word as"a collection of of different tunes or fragments brought together as a joke."The device was introduced by J.S. Bach in the Goldberg Variations. It is suggested that the word comes from the practice of allowing performers to "work into the web of the music any tune they liked." (See also the explanation of quodlibet inthe Grove's Dictionary, as part of the discussion of"variation.") The word came to be used for certain kinds of jazz improvisations, as well.

Thus, Kurt Weill's opus number 9, composed in 1923, is titled Quodlibet.

An early music consort at Wright State University in Dayton has taken the name, as has a renaissance ensemble in New Mexico.

Spanish Lady

There's a Spanish Lady in the old folk song "Dublin City".

Heat came round and busted me...

This note from a reader:
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 13:09:51 -0800
From: Steve Biederman
To: ddodd@well.com
Subject: Annotated Lyrics Submission: "Smilin' on a Cloudy Day"

I see you haven't added this stuff that tnf (David Gans, for anyone who is unclear on Truth N Fun...) did with Bob and Phil, where he reveals getting busted for "smiling on a cloudy day".
Sorry, I only saved the text itself and not the conf, topic, or date. (Me, I saved it off on July 23 1996; don't know whether tnf posted it then or earlier and I only ran across it then):
Weir: Interesting story with "The Other One." Uh, it was one of the first tunes I ever wrote. Actually, we came up with the "map," basically, for the song in a rehearsal somewhere, just kickin' stuff around. And then I took it and started shaping it up, and things like that. We for the song in a rehearsal somewhere, just kickin' stuff around. And then I took it and started shaping it up, and things like that. We went on a tour, in the Pacific Northwest, and I was, you know, I was not done with it, I was wondering what the song was about, and then one night it sort of came to me. Basically, it's a little, a little fantastic, uh, episode about my meeting Neal Cassady. I wrote the two verses - that's all there is to it, really, is two verses - and, uh, then, uh, we played the gig that night and came home the next day and when we came home we learned the news that Neal had died that night...
DG: Wow.
Weir:...the night that I wrote that. As legend has it, he died counting the railroad ties on the tracks -
Lesh: From Dallas to Denver.
Weir: Something like that. San Miguel de Allende [Mexico], I think, is where he was.
Lesh: Okay.
Weir: Um, so I guess that was a little visitation, that's - not unlike Neal.
Lesh: But if I remember correctly, as soon as you had, as soon as you had the words, then we did the song.
Weir: Yeah.
Lesh: I mean, we did it that night
DG: Wow.
Lesh: It didn't require any rehearsal.
Weir: Right.
[Over "The Other One:"] DG: Now, I remember a version from a little bit earlier, maybe the late in '67, you had a different set of lyrics; the first verse is about, you know, "the heat come 'round and busted me"...
Weir: Right.
DG: ... and then there was a second verse that was about "the heat in the jail weren't very smart," or somethin' like that...
Weir: Oh, I don't...
DG: ...and then you had - so...
Weir: Yeah, that was, that was after, uh, that was after my little...
Lesh: Water balloon episode?
MM: Uh-oh!
DG: Oh, I wanna hear this!
Weir: I got him good. Uh, there was this, there was, I was, uh, I was on the third floor of, uh, our place in the Haight-Ashbury. Um, and there was this cop who was illegally searching a car belonging to a friend of ours, um, down on the street - the cops used to harass us, uh, every chance they got. They didn't care for the hippies back then. And uh, and so I had a water balloon, and what was I gonna do with this water balloon, come on. And, uh...
Lesh: Just happened to have a water balloon, in his hand...
MM: See, I wasn't gonna bring that up...
Lesh: ...ladies and gentlemen.
Weir: And so I got him right square on the head, and uh...
Lesh: A prettier shot you never saw.
Weir: ...and, uh, and he didn't, he couldn't tell where it was comin' from, but then I had to go and go downstairs and walk across the street and just grin at him...
Lesh, MM, DG:
Weir:...and sorta rub it in a little bit.
DG: Smilin' on a cloudy day. I understand now.
Lesh, DG:
MM: It all becomes clear.
Weir: And, uh, at that point, he decided to hell with due process of law, this kid's goin' to jail. He didn't have a thing on me, they, they . It never got to court, but on the other hand, I did get thrown in jail and beat up a little bit.
MM: I still want to go back; you just happened to have that water balloon handy, it was kind of just like standard procedure.
DG: Gee, I wonder if...
Weir: He was the guy that was breakin' the law, too, the cop was.
MM: That's, that's - I agree.
Weir: I guess - what, what does a water balloon amount to, is that assault with a, uh...
DG: Friendly weapon.
MM: With a moist weapon.
Lesh, DG:
MM: That goes under the water laws.
MM: And if it was tap water, that also...
Lesh: Disrespect for an officer.
Weir: Right.
DG: That was enough in those days - as I recall.

The Bus

Chapter Six of Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is entitled "The Bus." He says:
"I couldn't tell you for sure which of the Merry Pranksters got the idea for the bus, but it had the Babbs touch. ... Then somebody--Babbs?--saw a classified ad for a 1939 International Harvester school bus. The bus belonged to a man in Menlo Park. ...Kesey bought it for $1,500--in the name of Intrepid Trips, Inc. Kesey gave the word and the Pranksters set upon it one afternoon. They started painting it and wiring it for sound and cutting a hole in the roof and fixing up the top of the bus so you could sit up there in the open air and play music, even a set of drums and electric guitars and electric bass and so forth, or just ride. Sandy went to work on the wiring and rigged up a system with which they could broadcast from inside the bus, with tapes or over microphones, and it would blast outside over powerful speakers on top of the bus. There were also microphones outside that would pick up sounds along the road and broadcast them inside the bus. There was also a sound system inside the bus so you could broadcast to one another over the roar of the engine and the road. You could also broadcast over a tape mechanism so that you said something, then heard your own voice a second later in variable lag and could rap off of that if you wanted to. Or you could put on earphones and rap simultaneously off sounds from outside, coming in one ear, and sounds from inside, your own sounds, coming in the other ear. There was going to be no goddamn sound on that whole trip, outside the bus, inside the bus, or inside your own freaking larynx, that you couldn't tune in on and rap off of.

"The painting job, meanwhile, with everybody pitching in in a frenzy of primary colors, yellow, oranges, blues, reds, was sloppy as hell, except for the parts Roy Seburn did, which were nice manic mandalas. Well, it was sloppy, but one thing you had to say for it; it was freaking lurid. The manifest, the destination sign in the front, read: "Furthur," with two u's."

Here's a picture, from the Key-Z site, of the current incarnation of the bus.

Other buses in rock music lyrics include the Who's "Magic Bus" and the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour."


I Got On

Being "on the bus" means, well, let's hear Kesey explain it (via Tom Wolfe):
"`There are going to be times,' says Kesey, `when we can't wait for somebody. Now you're either on the bus or off the bus. If you're on the bus, and you get left behind, then you'll find it again. If you're off the bus in the first place--then it won't make a damn.' And nobody had to have it spelled out for them. Everything was becoming allegorical, understood by the group mind, and especially this: `You're either on the bus...or off the bus." (Wolfe: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, p. 74)

Entry for "On the Bus" from Skeleton Key.



"Little by little, Owsley's history seeped out. He was 30 years old, although he looked younger, and he had a huge sonorous name: Augustus Owsley Stanley III. His grandfather was a United States Senator from Kentucky. Owsley apparently had had a somewhat hungup time as a boy, going from prep school to prep school and then to a public high school, dropping out of that, but getting into the University of Virginia School of Engineering, apparently because of his flair for sciences, then dropping out of that. He finally wound up enrolling in the University of California, in Berkeley, where he hooked up with a hip, good-looking chemistry major named Melissa. They dropped out of the University and Owsley set up his first acid factory at 1647 Virginia Street, Berkeley." (Wolfe: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, p. 188.)

Wolfe goes on to tell of the quality of Owsley's LSD, renowned world-wide, and of its influence on The Beatles:

"It was in this head world that the...Beatles first took LSD. Now, just to get ahead of the story a bit--after Owsley hooked up with Kesey and the Pranksters, he began a musical group called the Grateful Dead. Through the Dead's experience with the Pranksters was born the sound known as "acid rock." And it was that sound that the Beatles picked up on, after they started taking acid, to do a famous series of acid-rock record albums, Revolver, Rubber Soul, and Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band. Early in 1967 the Beatles got a fabulous idea. They got hold of a huge school bus and piled into it with thirty-nine friends and drove and wove across the British countryside, zonked out of their gourds. They were going to...make a movie." (Wolfe, p. 189)



Often written as "Skippin' through the lily fields."


Never-ever land

A more-or-less direct reference to "Never-Never Land", from Sir James Matthew Barrie's Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. According to Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi's The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (HBJ, 1980), "...visitors can be taken to Never-Never Land by a never-aging boy, Peter Pan, who refuses to grow up and claims to have run away the day he was born." (p. 263)

Their minds remained unbended

A letter from Jack Legate to John Scott, dated 3/18/88 states that this line
"...more or less alludes back to:
MINDBENDER (performed in early 1966; on the 11/3/65 Emergency Crew demo):
If only I could (be less fine)
If only I knew what to find,
Everywhere and all of the time--
It's bending my mind
...Phil and Jerry give the title "Mindbender". (Each accuses the other of writing it.)

Keywords: @rose, @death, @bus
DeadBase code: [O1]
First posted: February, 1995
Last modified: June 22, 1998