Location of Missing Grateful Dead Songs Narrowed [VIDEO]
Grateful Dead founder Jerry Garcia’s abundant songwriting went hand in hand with his frequent drug use. So when he was arrested in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on January 19, 1985 for possessing narcotics, it came as no surprise that his confiscated briefcase full of drugs also had unfinished songs in it. Yet, those works, from collaborations with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, are nowhere to be found in the San Francisco Police Department's evidence lockers, or anywhere else for that matter.
And now, new evidence has surfaced in the search for those lost songs said to be inside the briefcase, although their location remains a mystery. On Monday, the SFPD released records from the department's evidence tracking system, revealing that a briefcase was released from their custody about 11 months after it was confiscated. This is apparently the briefcase said to contain tapes of lost songs.
The records indicate that the Police Department confiscated this briefcase during the arrest of Garcia, and that it was released from evidence on Nov. 20, 1985, about 11 months after the department took it into custody. Consequently, the mystery surrounding the briefcase noe seems to lead back to the legendary Grateful Dead guitarist's attorney. Police say the evidence record validates this theory.
The release of the evidence record is the latest development in a search that began almost immediately after Garcia was arrested in Golden Gate Park for possession of drugs. The record shows officers released the item, with the incident number from when Garcia was arrested, described in the system as an attaché case containing miscellaneous papers,.
The entry includes a transaction code, which police said means the evidence was turned over to a responsible partly, likely Garcia or his attorney at the time. While the record seems to put to rest one part of the mystery, it also seems to keep alive another. Lyricist Robert Hunter has confirmed there were songs he and Garcia were working on inside the briefcase, requesting that if the police still had the songs, to return them. Were those song lyrics and Garcia notes used later on without Hunter realizing it, or somehow lost after it left the evidence room?
The prospect of discovering lost Grateful Dead songs had sparked many imaginations. Police have been unable to provide additional records confirming the identity of who received the property. It's been 20 years since Garcia died of a heart attack, but a legion of Deadheads keep his memory alive. There was a suggestion in 2013 that the city might change the name of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McLaren Park, but thousands of fans rose up in protest and defeated the proposal. The response these songs would get, if located, would be greater than any music the group ever put out in its hey-day.