Silver Threads And Golden Needles

Lyrics: Reynolds/Rhodes
Music: Reynolds/Rhodes

Played by the Grateful Dead from their first days in 1966 through to 1970, but then dropped from their repertoire. The version below is one they sang in 1970 acoustic sets (with some variations). Earliesr versions from 1966 omit the first verse, with Bob Weir instead singing the first verse twice. (Thanks to Lucius for help with the lyrics)

I grew up in ragged gingham where love is a sacred thing
You grew up in silk and satins where love's just a passing game (note 1)
I know you've never loved me, oh I know I's just a fool
To think your pride would let you live love by the golden rule

Chorus
Silver threads and golden needles cannot mend this heart of mine
And I dare not drown my sorrows in the warm glow of your wine
You can't buy my love with money, 'cause I ain't never been that kind
Silver threads and golden needles cannot mend this heart of mine

I don't want your lonely mansions, with a tear in every room
All I want's the love you promised once beneath the haloed moon
But you think I should be happy with your money and your name
Sit alone and bide my sorrows while you play love's cheating game

[chorus]
[chorus]
Notes
(1) might be "... just a passing play"

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     studio 1966 Rare Cuts And Oddities
     18 Apr 1970 Family Dog at the Great Highway
     15 May 1970 Road Trips Vol 3 No 3 (late show)

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section

The original recording was by Wanda Jackson, issued on a single in 1956 as the 'B' side to "Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad" (thanks to Eric Levy for pointing this out). Her lyrics differ a little from the Dead's:
I don't want your lonely mansion, with a chill in every room
I just want the love you promised beneath the haloed moon
But you think I should be happy with your money and your name
And pretend that I don't notice while you play your cheating game

Chorus
Silver threads and golden needles can't patch up this heart of mine
And I'll never drown my sorrows in the warm glow of your wine
You can't buy my love with money, for I never was that kind
Silver threads and golden needles can't patch up this heart of mine

I grew up in faded gingham where love is a sacred thing
You grew up in silk and satin where love's the passing game
I know now you never loved me, and I know I was a fool
To think your pride would let you live by the golden rule

[chorus]
Subsequently, "Silver Threads And Golden Needles" was a hit for the Springfields in 1962. Their version omits the verse "I grew up ...".

It's not clear what version the Dead learnt their's from. The Springfields is the best known, but omits one of the verses the Dead sang. But the lyrics the Dead sing are closer to the Springfield's version than Wanda Jackson's (eg "... mend this heart of mine" rather than "... patch up." I presume they learnt it from someone else's recording, but I haven't yet identified who's.


Futher Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


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