Grateful Dead

Visions of Johanna

Lyrics By: Bob Dylan
Music By: Bob Dylan

Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're tryin' to be so quiet?
Sitting here stranded, though we're all doin' our best to deny it
And Louise holds a handful of rain, temptin' you to defy it
Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there's nothing, really nothing, to turn off
Just Louise and her lover so entwined
And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind

In the empty lot where the ladies play blindman's bluff with a key chain
And all-night girls they whisper of escapades out on the "D" train
We can hear the night watchman click his flashlight
Ask himself if it's him or them that's insane
But Louise she's alright, she's just near
She's delicate and seems like the mirror
She just makes it all so concise and so clear
That Johanna's not here
The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place

Now, little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously
He brags of his misery, he likes to live dangerously (note 1)
And when bringing her name up, he speaks of her farewell kiss to me
He's sure got a lot of gall, to be so useless and all
Muttering small talk at the wall, while I'm in the hall
How can I explain? It's so hard to get on
And these visions of Johanna they kept me up past the dawn

Inside the museums, Infinity goes up on trial
Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while
Mona Lisa must have had the highway blues, you can tell by the way she smiles
See the primitive wallflower freeze
When the jelly-faced women all sneeze
Hear the one with the mustache say "Jeeze, I can't find my knees"
Jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule
But these visions of Johanna make it all seem so cruel

The peddlar now speaks to the countess who's pretending to care for him
Saying "Name me someone that's not a parasite and I'll go out and say a prayer for him"
But like Louise always says "Ya can't look at much can ya man?"
As she, herself, prepares for him
And Madonna she still has not showed
We see this empty cage now corrode
Where her cape of the stage once had flowed
The fiddler now steps to the road
He writes everything's been returned which was owed
On the back of the fish truck that loads
While my conscience explodes
The harmonicas play the skeleton keys and the rain
And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain

And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain

Garcia sang this a few times with the Dead from 1986 to 1995, sticking pretty close to the Dylan original.

(1) Garcia mucks up this line on the version on 'Fallout From The Phil Zone'. He starts with "He likes to live dangerously" and then mumbles something ending in "misery".

Visions of Johanna