Every Friday starting today at 4:20 we will highlight a story about a performance of "Fire On The Mountain." It's the same idea as our Terrapin Tuesday series. We are excited to bring you this new weekly offering, so let's get this fire burning.
Written by lyricist Robert Hunter and composed by Mickey, this song is a special one to the band. In his book Box Of Rain, Hunter described writing the lyrics at Mickey's ranch "in heated inspiration as the surrounding hills blazed and the fire approached the recording studio where we were working…"
In 1976, Mickey recorded and released an instrumental version of it, titled "Happiness Is Drumming," on the Diga Rhythm Band's Diga LP. Take a listen here: http://bit.ly/digarhythmfire.
Before the Grateful Dead performed "Fire," Mickey and Jerry recorded a rap version of it. This version has never been released, but was played on the 500th installment of David Gans' Grateful Dead Hour radio program. Take a listen here: http://bit.ly/firerapwithjerry.
The Grateful Dead debuted "Fire On The Mountain" on March 18, 1977 at the Winterland Arena in San Francisco. (You can see it in the attached clip, starting at 6:57.) They launched into it from "Scarlet Begonias," and from then on, the two songs were often played together. "Scarlet-Fire" became a staple of the band's repertoire and was a frequent launchpad for some of their most adventurous jamming. The Dead performed "Fire on the Mountain" 253 times between 1977 and 1995.
Enjoy the debut of this classic favorite. Check back next Friday for the next "Fire" installment.