Devandra Banhart Honors the Grateful Dead’s Blues for Allah Anniversary With Cover

Devandra Banhart in concert in Barcelona
(Photo by Xavi Torrent/Redferns)

Celebrating the 45th anniversary of The Grateful Dead‘s Blues for Allah, Devendra Banhart recorded his own rendition of “Franklin’s Tower.”

Released as an Amazon Original track, the song was produced by Noah Georgeson and recorded remotely with his current touring band, which includes guitarist Nicole Lawrence, Jeremy Harris on synths and Gregory Rogove on drums and percussion, all tracking from different studios around Los Angeles and Stinson Beach, Calif.

Banhart spoke of why he chose to cover “Franklin’s Tower” in a statement:

“More than ever
I find myself
Fighting dread
With the dead…

We chose “Franklin’s Tower” for its opening line, one of my favorite opening lines of all time:
“In another time’s forgotten space
Your eyes looked through your mother’s face”

This is the gift of the Dead,

The paradox of personal universality…

Wisdom found at the end of a maze,

The bliss of unconditional love and acceptance…

There’s a Dead for everyone…

Through the pandemic, I go on daily immersions into Blues for Allah, marveling at Phillip Garris’s eerie and alluring cover art, Help/Slip/Frank guiding me through the weird underworld that the day has become, & I feel at once remarkably insignificant and the most precious thing in the universe, A wave, held in the ocean of my mother’s eyes… a child dancing, rolling away the dew… Knowing Help is indeed on the way…”

Listen to a snippet of Devandra Banhart’s cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Franklin Tower” below.

You can listen to the full song along with other tracks Amazon Music’s Chill Indie playlist here.


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