The Album Cover

About The AlbumEdit

In the Dark is the twelfth studio album by the Grateful Dead. It was recorded between January 6 and 13, 1987 and originally released on July 6, 1987.

In the Dark was the band's first album in six years, and its first studio album since 1980's Go to Heaven. It became unexpectedly popular. The peppy "Touch of Grey" became their only single to reach the top ten (and, for that matter, top 40) on the Billboard Hot 100; it also became a frequently played video on MTV. "Hell in a Bucket" and "Throwing Stones" also achieved significant album-oriented rock radio airplay. The album itself reached the top ten of the Billboard 200 album chart, again the highest ranking the group would ever have.



Most of the songs on this album had been played by the Dead since 1982 or 1983, which gave them a five-year edge on perfecting these songs for this album. After the critically panned Go To Heaven, which contained songs that were mostly under a year old, the maturity of In The Dark was significantly more appreciated.

The album title represents how the band compiled the album. The Dead are well known for their striving for that "perfect" sound (e.g. the Wall of Sound) as well as their experimental episodes. Since live music is their forte, they decided to try to capture a "hybrid" live sound for this album.

Since, the band had been playing the songs for a while, they decided to record the baseline tracks for the album in a darkened theater that was empty (no audience), on a stage with the same lighting as they would use on tour (just to have the band perform in a more comfortable, familiar setting). The idea was to capture the "feel" they had for the songs as if they were playing them to a live audience. An idea which had been inspired by the video shoot that ended up becoming So Far which had been also partly recorded at Marin Vets in April '85.


They then brought these recorded tracks to the studio and then if needed, "cleaned" them up, overdubbing them or redoing a guitar, vocal, keyboard, or drum track in the studio using the same "riffs" they used on the stage recording.

From Garcia spoke about the recording in an interview; “Marin Vets turns out to be an incredibly nice room to record in. There's something about the formal atmosphere in there that makes us work. When we set up at Front Street to work, a lot of times we just sort of dissolve into hanging out. Going in [Marin Vets] without an audience and playing just to ourselves was in the nature of an experiment...”

In the Dark was released on CD in 1987 by Arista Records before being re-released in 2000 by BMG International. It was then remastered, expanded, and released with new cover art as part of the [Description (1973-1989)] 12-CD [set] in October 2004. The remastered version was later released separately on CD, on April 11, 2006, by Rhino Records.


  1. "Touch of Grey" (Garcia, Hunter) – 5:50
  2. "Hell in a Bucket" (Barlow, Weir) – 5:37
  3. "When Push Comes to Shove" (Garcia, Hunter) – 4:08
  4. "West L.A. Fadeaway" (Garcia, Hunter) – 6:38
  5. "Tons of Steel" (Mydland) – 5:18
  6. "Throwing Stones" (Barlow, Weir) – 7:20
  7. "Black Muddy River" (Garcia, Hunter) – 6:07
  8. "My Brother Esau" (single B-side)(1987-01-15 Marin Veterans Auditorium, San Rafael, CA) (Barlow, Weir) – 4:20
  9. "West L.A. Fadeaway" (alternate version)(1984-03 Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA) – 7:09
  10. "Black Muddy River" (studio outtake) 1986-12-05 Club Front, San Rafael, CA) – 5:41
  11. "When Push Comes to Shove" (studio outtake)(1986-12-05 Club Front, San Rafael, CA) – 4:22
  12. "Touch of Grey" (studio outtake)(1982-08 Club Front, San Rafael, CA) – 5:47
  13. "Throwing Stones" (live) (1987-07-04 Schaefer Stadium, Foxboro, MA) – 9:36


Grateful Dead:


  • Bob Bralove - programming, special effects, spatialization
  • Guy Charbonneau, Dan Healy, Jeffrey Norman, David Roberts, Jeff Sterling - engineers
  • John Cutler - producer, engineer
  • Gail Grant - design
  • Herb Greene - art direction, photography
  • Randy Tuten - cover art