Fire On the Mountain
Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Mickey Hart
© 1978 Ice Nine Publishing
Recorded on: Shakedown Street, Dead Set and Dick's Picks Volume 6


Long distance runner what you standing there for?
Get up, get off, get out of the door
You're playing cold music on the bar room floor,
drowned in your laughter and dead to the core
There's a dragon with matches loose on the town
Take a whole pail of water just to cool him down

Fire - Fire On the Mountain
Fire - Fire on the mountain

Almost aflame still you don't feel the heat
Takes all you got just to stay on the beat
You say it's a living, we all gotta eat
but you're here alone there's no one to compete
If mercy's in business I wish it for you
More than just ashes when your dreams come true

Fire - Fire on the mountain
Fire - Fire on the mountain

Long distance runner what you holdin out for?
Caught in slow motion in your dash to the door
The flame from your stage has now spread to the floor
You gave all you got, why you wanta give more?
The more that you give, why, the more it will take
to the thin line beyond which you really cannot fake

There's a fire
Fire on the mountain


The Grateful Dead first performed this on March 18, 1977 at Winterland Arena, San Francisco. It followed Scarlet Begonias, closing the first set. These two songs, like so many others in the Dead's rich repertoire launched extended improvisations as "Scarlet" sprouted wings and flew, generated a fractal consciousness and burned, its ashes forming phoenix-like in to "Fire." Forever after the two became known as "Scarlet Fire" on the cases of tapers everywhere.

Also, Mickey Hart recorded a percussion instrumental version with his Diga Rhythm Band on their album Diga, naming it "Happiness Is Drumming". Even if you don't normally listen to this type of music because you think it is just glorified drum circle tripping, buy it anyway because it's pretty yummy stuff.

A few years ago when weekend mornings meant hours of peaceful plodding, I used the first two lines of the song as a mantra when the alarm went off around 2 or 3 a.m. It's not a bad song to roll in your head as you lope down the road.
CST Approved