They Love Each Other 5/8/77


  • They Love Each Other 5/8/77 - Transcription & analysis

A short, sweet solo from JG on They Love Each Other, from what is arguably the Dead’s best-known live performance. And as you will see, the very first lick is a monster, and there are a few other keepers in there too. In terms of chords and structure, it’s about as simple as it gets. Mostly on G, a couple resolutions to C, and a “chorus” section that goes F > C > G. A quick glance at the chords might suggest G mixolydian, but as with a lot of things Jerry, it’s not quite that simple. Jerry treats the G largely as a Gmaj7, changing to G7 on the last measure before C, and then often treating the C like a Cmaj7.

Jazzy Implications: G13 to Cmaj7

In the video, starting at around 6:00 (and referring to measures 5-8 in my transcription), I allude to the idea of how Jerry implies the sound of the G13 chord followed by Cmaj7 chord. But I failed to emphasize how cool this actually is! The basic chords in the song are G7 to C, pretty standard stuff. But by emphasizing the E and F notes over the G chord, he creates the sound of a G13, and then by emphasizing the B natural over the C chord he creates the sound of a Cmaj7. I’d venture to say that most rock guitarists (myself included) would not think to do that in this song.

To hear those two chords by themselves, try playing these two back to back:

And then sit back and marvel at what a cool idea this is, and how friggin’ sweet it sounds in the song. This, along with the opening lick, is one to hang onto.

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