"...till the chains of your dreams are broken"

The Annotated "Lost Sailor"

An installment in The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics.
By David Dodd
Library, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Copyright notice
"Lost Sailor"
Words by John Perry Barlow
Barlow has posted the lyrics to his songs.

"Lost Sailor"

Written in Mill Valley, California, July, 1979.

Recorded on

First performance: August 4, 1979, at the Oakland Coliseum Arena. "Lost Sailor" was played in the first set, following the first-ever "Althea", and preceding the set-closing "Deal." It remained in the repertoire through the early part of 1986, then disappeared.

Dog star

The star is Sirius (seen here via Tom Polakis' Twilight Astronomy Landscapes page), often used as a navigational aid by sailors, because of its brightness.

The line has frequently been misconstrued as "Where's the Dark Star?" There's even an entry for this in Skeleton Key, which serves as an opening for a mini-essay, with examples, of the wonderful opportunities for mis-hearing the words of Grateful Dead songs.

Drifting and dreaming

The title of a song: "Drifting and Dreaming (Sweet Paradise) (A Hawaiian Love Song)" (1925) words by Haven Gillespie; music by Egbert van Alstyne, Erwin R. Schmidt, and Loyal Curtis.

I will spare you all a complete quote of the text, which is of the "Moon, June, spoon" variety.

First posted: August 4, 1995
Last revised: August 14, 1995