American Beauty Songs Ranked

American Beauty is the fifth studio album by rock band the Grateful Dead. Released November 1, 1970, by Warner Bros. Records, the album continued the folk rock and country music style of their previous album Workingman’s Dead, issued earlier in the year. Though the Americana approach is still evident in the songwriting, comparatively the sound focused more on folk harmonies and major-key melodies, showing influence from Bob Dylan and Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. Upon release, American Beauty entered the Billboard 200 chart, ultimately peaking at number 30 during a nineteen-week stay in January 1971.[10] On July 11, 1974, the album was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, and it later reached Platinum and Double Platinum certification in 1986 and 2001, respectively. In 2003, the album was ranked number 258 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, 261 in a 2012 revised list, and 215 in a 2020 revised list. Here are all of the American Beauty’s songs ranked.

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10. Brokedown Palace

“Brokedown Palace”, where the poetry and vision become even fuller, deeper, brighter, the metaphors more magically wrought, the emotions more exquisitely paraded. Very good singing by all here. This song served as a prototype for others of a similar pondering later on down the line”

9. Operator

“Operator,” is the lone Pigpen tune on the album. Its a short but sweet country-blues. “Operator” is a throwback to the style of ‘Workingman’s Dead’, but better. “

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8. Till the Morning Comes

“This up-tempo number is the most fun, uninhibited song on the album. Wonderful, simply wonderful! “Till the Morning Comes,” is a catchy little tune.”

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7. Attics of My Life

“Attics of My Life,” is a fantastic vocal performance from the Dead as harmony singers. It is their arguably their best attempt at CSN&Y style singing. The song is a beautiful reflection on life, death, and aging.”

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6. Candyman

“Candyman” is a pretty haunting tune that sends chills when you hear Garcia’s jovial singing voice sound dark and harrowing when he sings “if I had me a shot gun I’d blow you straight to hell.”

5. Ripple

“Ripple” is my pick on the album. Jerry’s singing is a return to his strained heartfelt vocals. The song is just one of those great life as a journey tunes. It tells how we must travel a road through life that is unique, beautiful and all our own. It isn’t a song of isolation, however. We still need people. You can’t help but get a warm feeling, when Jerry sings “if I knew the way, I would take you home….””

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4. Sugar Magnolia

“Sugar Magnolia” shows that although their musicality is not always up to the standards of the Band (‘Big Pink’ through ‘Stage Fright’), the lyrics are, as I said before, nothing short of genius. They are so good that at times the music rides on the back of the lyrics, which become strong, wondrous beasts of burden.”

3. Box of Rain

“Box of Rain,” is the song that Phil and Hunter wrote for his father. The imagery of the song is quite beautiful and open to interpretation. Phil’s singing on the track is joyful and heartfelt.”

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2. Friend of the Devil

“Friend of the Devil,” is a fun Garcia-Hunter tune about being an outlaw outrunning the devil. David Grisman’s mandolin gives the song a bluegrass feel. This bouncy, up-tempo tune is by turns emotionally upbeat, humorous and plaintive. The lyrics are exceedingly brilliant, but then, that’s the main signature of the entire album.”

1. Truckin’

“Closing out the album is the Dead’s signature tune, “Truckin’.” It is an autobiographical tune about life on the road and drug busts. It also contains one of the most famous lines that Hunter ever wrote that has become the slogan for the Dead, “what a long strange trip its been…….””