Samson and Delilah
Composer: Traditional

Samson and Delilah was first performed by the Grateful Dead in June 1976. From then on it was a regular in the repertoire being played at least 20 times a year through to 1982. From 1983 onward it was played less often averaging perhaps a dozen performances a year. In total the Grateful Dead played the song over 350 times. The last performance was in July 1995.

Early recordings have the titles If I Had My Way, If I Had My Way I'd Tear The Building Down and Samson And The Woman. Some later recordings use some of these titles though Samson and Delilah is most commonly used and title on all Grateful Dead related recordings. On recordings writing credits are often Traditional, Blind Willie Johnson or Rev. Gary Davis.

The song was recorded a number of times in 1927. Note that the dates given below for these recordings are the recording date rather than the release date. It is possible that the song was also recorded in the early 1920's.

Grateful Dead

info Terrapin Station, 1977
info Dead Set, 1981
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 3, 1995
info The Arista Years, 1996
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 9, 1997
info Terrapin Station (Limited Edition), 1997
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 15, 1999
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 17, 2000
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 18, 2000
info View From The Vault, 2000
info View From The Vault (DVD), 2000
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 20, 2001
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 21, 2001
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 27, 2003
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 29, 2003
info The Closing of Winterland, 2003
info The Closing of Winterland (DVD), 2003
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 33, 2004
info Beyond Description, 2004
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 34, 2005
info Grateful Dead Download Vol. 4: 6/18/76, 2005
info Live at the Cow Palace: NYE 1976, 2006
info To Terrapin: Hartford '77, 2009
info Road Trips: Vol 2, Number 4: Cal Expo 1993, 2009
info Winterland June 1977: The Complete Recordings, 2009
info Road Trips: Vol 4, Number 2: April Fool's '88, 2011
info Road Trips: Vol 4, No. 5: Boston Music Hall 6.9.76, 2011
info Spring 1990 (box set), 2012
info Spring 1990: So Glad You Made It, 2012
info Dave's Picks Vol. 4: Williamsburg, VA, 9/24/76
info May 1977 (box set), 2013
info Dave's Picks Vol. 8: Atlanta, GA 11/30/80, 2013
info Spring 1990 (The Other One), 2014
info Dave's Picks Vol 12: Hamilton, 11/4/77, 2014
info 30 Trips Around The Sun Box Set, 2015
info 30 Trips Around The Sun: The Definitive Live Story: 1965-1995, 2015
info Capitol Theatre, 4/25/77, 2016
info Dave's Picks Vol 18, 2016
info July 1978 Complete, 2016
info Red Rocks: 7/8/78, 2016
info May 1977: Get Shown the Light, 2017
info Dave's Picks Vol 23: Eugene, 1/22/78, 2017
info Dave's Picks Vol 25: Binghampton, 11/6/77, 2018
info Dave's Picks Vol 28: Passaic, 6/17/76, 2018
info Dave's Picks Vol 29: San Bernardino, 2/26/77, 2019

Fare Thee Well shows 2015

info Fare Thee Well July 3, 4 & 5 2015 Complete Box, 2015
info Fare Thee Well July 5, 2015

The Dead

info Mansfield, MA, June 22, 2003
info Vernon, NY, June 29, 2003
info Morrison, CO, July 6, 2003
info Somerset,WI, August 3, 2003
info Wantagh, NY, August 10, 2003
info George, WA, September 21, 2003
info Morrison, CO, June 20, 2004
info Sacramento, CA, June 27, 2004
info Camden, NJ, August 8, 2004
info Bristow, VA, August 15, 2004
info Dead '09: Greensboro, NC, April 12, 2009
info Dead '09: Worcester, MA April 19, 2009
info Dead '09: Hartford, CT, April 26, 2009
info Dead '09: Philadelphia, PA, May 2, 2009


info Feb 14, 2010, Ithaca, NY
info Feb 23, 2010, New York, NY
info Mar 6, 2010, Denver, CO
info May 30, 2010, Angels Camp, CA
info July 4, 2010, Oxford, ME
info September 26, 2010, Morrison, CO
info November 14, 2010, Cincinnati, OH
info March 13, 2011, New York, NY
info March 27, 2011, New York, NY
info July 17, 2011, Wantagh, NY
info July 24, 2011, Holmdel, NJ
info July 31, 2011, Alpharetta, GA
info Oct 2, 2011, Morrison, CO
info Nov 6, 2011, Amherst, MA
info Nov 20, 2011, St. Louis, MO
info July 8, 2012, Columbia, MD
info July 15, 2012, Bethel, NY
info September 23, 2012, Morrison, CO
info September 30, 2012, Mountain View, CA
info October 7, 2012, Santa Barbara, CA
info December 30, 2012, San Francisco, CA
info February 24, 2013, Broomfield, CO
info April 21, 2013, Port Chester, NY
info July 14, 2013, Cooperstown, NY
info Sept 8, 2013, Arrington, VA
info Sept 22, 2013, Morrison, CO

Dead & Company

info Citi Field, Flushing, NY, 26 June, 2016
info Folsom Field, Boulder, CO, 03 July, 2016
info Alpine Valley Music Theatre, Elkhorn, WI, 10 July, 2016
info Phoenix, AZ, 28 May, 2017
info Mountain View, CA, 4 Jun, 2017
info oston, MA, 18 Jun, 2017
info New York, NY, 12 Nov, 2017
info Boston, MA, 19 Nov, 2017
info Riviera Maya, MX, 18 Feb, 2018


info Poughkeepsie NY: October 26, 2003
info Albany NY, March 21, 2004
info Las Vegas NV, February 6, 2005
info Johnson City NY, May 1, 2005
info Charlottesville, VA, August 7, 2005
info Orlando, FL, November 20, 2005
info Long Beach, CA, December 11, 2005
info Majesty of the Seas, Carribean Sea, Feb 5, 2006
info Morrison, CO, July 2, 2006
info St. Paul MN, October 22, 2006
info Las Vegas NV, February 11, 2007
info Vancouver BC, February 18, 2007
info Greensburg PA, March 4, 2007
info San Francisco CA, April 22, 2007
info Lowell MA, August 12, 2007
info Darien Center NY, August 19, 2007
info Lebanon, NH, October 28, 2007
info University Park, PA, November 4, 2007
info Raleigh, NC, November 11, 2007
info Upper Darby, PA, March 30, 2008
info Hunter, NY, June 1, 2008
info Hiram, ME, August 10, 2008
info Bridgeport, CT, November 9, 2008
info Greensboro, NC, November 16, 2008
info Columbus, OH, July 5, 2009
info Rochester, NY, July 12, 2009
info Seattle, WA, August 23, 2009
info Boulder, CO, August 30, 2009
info Negril, Jamaica, January 24, 2010
info Negril, Jamaica, January 31, 2010
info Port Chester, NY, March 2, 2014
info Atlanta, GA, March 16, 2014
info Asbury Park, NJ, June 8, 2014

Phil Lesh & Friends

info April 19, 2014, Las Vegas, NV, 2014
info May 30, 2014, Port Chester, NY, 2014
info October 19, 2014, Las Vegas, NV, 2014
info November 21, 2014, Port Chester, NY, 2014
info November 1, 2015, Port Chester, NY, 2015
info February 28, 2016, Las Vegas, NV, 2016
info August 28, 2016, Arrington, VA, 2016

Other Dead related

info A Buck Dancer's Choice, Various Artists, 2013
info 10/18/2016 Nashville, Phish, 2016

Dark Star Orchestra

info DSO Live: Jan 23, 2004, Columbus, OH, 2004
info DSO Live: Jan 24, 2004, Cincinnati, OH, 2004
info DSO Live: Feb 13, 2004, Austin, TX, 2004
info DSO Live: Mar 10, 2004, Pittston, PA, 2004
info DSO Live: Mar 12, 2004, New Haven, CT, 2004
info DSO Live: Mar 13, 2004, Wantagh, NY, 2004
info DSO Live: Mar 15, 2004, Winooski, VT, 2004
info The 1000th Show, 2005

Other recordings

no info Single (If I Had My Way I'd Tear The Building Down / If I Had A Ticket Lord Can I Ride?), Rev. T.E. Weems, March 1927
no info Single (I've Got A Hiding Place / If I Had My Way), Rev T.T.Rose and Gospel Singers, April 1927?
no info Single (The First Born Was A Murderer / Samson and the Woman), Rev. J.M. Gates, Oct 1927
no info Single (Mother's Children Have A Hard Time / If I Had My Way I'd Tear The Building Down), Blind Willie Johnson, Dec 1927
no info Single (Motherless Children / Oh Lord, If I Had My Way), The Blind Pilgrim, Dec 1927 (same recordings as for the Blind Willie Johnson release)
no info Single (If I Had My Way / Way Down In Egypt Land), Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet, 1939
no info Blind Willie Johnson: His Story Told, Annotated and Documented, Blind Willie Johnson, 1957
no info Treasures of North American Negro Music, Vol 2, Blind Willie Johnson, 1958
info Hootenanny at Carnegie Hall, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 1960
info American Street Songs, Pink Anderson and Rev. Gary Davis, 1961
no info Peter Paul and Mary, Peter Paul and Mary, 1962
info Pure Religion!, Rev Gary Davis, 1963
info In Concert, Peter, Paul and Mary, 1964
info Blues At Newport, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 1964
no info Freedom Highway, The Staple Singers, 1965
no info At Newport, Rev. Gary Davis, 1967?
info Dave Van Ronk, Folksinger, Dave Van Ronk, 1967
no info Bring Your Money, Honey, Rev. Gary Davis, 1968
info Forty Niner, Clover, 1971
info Van Ronk, Dave Van Ronk, 1972
info The Great Blues Men, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 1972
no info Hard Line, The Blasters, 1985
info Gospel, Blues and Street Songs, Pink Anderson and Rev. Gary Davis, 1987
info The Washington Squares, The Washington Squares, 1987
info Hesitation Blues, Dave Van Ronk, 1988
info Inside Dave Van Ronk (comp), Dave Van Ronk, 1989
no info Sweeter As The Years Go By, Blind Willie Johnson, 1990
no info The Blasters Collection, The Blasters, 1991
info Blues At Newport (1959-64), Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 1991
no info News & the Blues: Telling It Like It Is, Various Artists (Blind Willie Johnson), 1991
info Harlem Street Singer, Rev. Gary Davis, 1992
no info Travelin' Shoes, Golden Gate Quartet, 1992
no info Remember Me, Tim & Mollie O'Brien, 1992
info Tom Hanway & Blue Horizon, Tom Hanway & Blue Horizon, 1992
info Complete Recordings Of, Blind Willie Johnson, 1993
no info From Blues to Gospel, Rev. Gary Davis, 1993
no info Blues Junk, Jeff Howell, 1993
no info Revolution Mind, Magdalen, 1993
no info Meetin' Tonight!, The Clara Ward Singers, 1994
info The Gospel Sound, Various Artists (Blind Willie Johnson), 1994
info Folk Song America, Vol. 2, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 1994
info Prestige/Folklore Years, Vol. 4: Singing Out Loud: Philadelphia Folk Festival, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 1994
no info Their Early Years: 1937-1939, The Golden Gate Quartet, 1995
info The Music Never Stopped: Roots of the Grateful Dead, Various Artists, 1995
info Gospel At Newport, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 1995
info Dark Star: The Music of the Grateful Dead, David Murray, 1996
info Riverside Folklore Series, Vol. 2: Singing the American Roots, Various Artists (Rev Gary Davis), 1996
no info The Roots of Rap: Classic Recordings from the 1920's and 30's, Various Artists (Blind Willie Johnson), 1996
no info Live & Kicking, Rev. Gary Davis, 1997
info Dark Was the Night: The Essential Recordings, Blind Willie Johnson, 1997
info Pickin' On The Grateful Dead, Various Artists, 1997
info From Greenwich Village: The Complete Washington Squares, The Washington Squares, 1997
info Vanguard Collector's Edition, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 1997
no info Generations of Blues, Vol. 3: Guitar Greats, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 1997
no info Legendary Blues Singers, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 1997
no info Dark Was the Night, Blind Willie Johnson, 1998
no info Gospels & Spirituals, Golden Gate Quartet, 1998
no info The Collection: Their Greatest Hits & Finest Performances, Peter, Paul and Mary, 1998
no info Early Soul Gospel, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 1998
no info Preachers and Congregations, Vol. 7: 1925-1928, Various Artists (Rev. T.E. Weems), 1998
info Terrapin, Joe Gallant and Illuminati, 1999
info Two Rivers, Ben Murray & Siobhan Quinn, 1999
info Friends With You, Side By Side, 19??
no info Live at Cambridge 1971, Rev. Gary Davis, 2000
no info Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3: 1939, The Golden Gate Quartet, 2000
no info Rev. J.M. Gates, Vol. 5: 1927, Rev. J.M. Gates, 2000
no info Blues Advice, Ernie Hawkins, 2000
no info Carry the Word, Spencer Bohren, 2000
no info Division Street, Devil in a Woodpile, 2000
no info Gospel Singers & Preachers: 1926-1948, Various Artists (Rev T.T.Rose), 2000
no info Amazing Gospel, Various Artists (Blind Willie Johnson), 2001
no info Philadelphia Folk Festival: 40th Anniversary, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 2001
info Newport Folk Festival: Best of the Blues 1959-68, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 2001
info Cool Blue Rocks: Rock 'N' Roll in the Bluegrass Tradition, Various Artists (Tim O'Brien), 2001
info There Is No Eye: Music For Photographs, Various Artists (Rev Gary Davis), 2001
info Long Strange Trip: Swingin' and Pickin' on the Grateful Dead, Various Artists, 2001
info The Roots Of The Grateful Dead & Jerry Garcia, Various Artists (Leadbelly), 2001
no info Testament: The Complete Slash Recordings (1981-1985), The Blasters, 2002
no info Great Gospel Performance, Golden Gate Quartet, 2002
info Vanguard: Roots of Folk, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 2002
info If I Had My Way: Early Home Recordings, Reverend Gary Davis, 2003
info Heroes of the Blues: The Very Best of, Rev. Gary Davis, 2003
no info Blues Story, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 2003
no info The Singing Waiters: 1947-1948, The Jubalaires, 2004
no info Soul of a Man, Blind Willie Johnson, 2004
no info King of the Guitar Evangelists, Blind Willie Johnson, 2005
no info Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!, Edison Rocket Train, 2005
no info A Summer Song, Chad & Jeremy, 2005
info Blind Willie Johnson and the Guitar Evangelists, Various Artists (Blind Willie Johnson), 2005
no info Don't Stop at Half, Jim MacDougall & the Funky Divas of Gospel, 2006
no info Oh Glory, How Happy I Am: The Sacred Songs of Rev. Gary Davis, Andy Cohen, 2006
no info Let Us Get Together, Marie Knight, 2007
info Nobody's Fault But Mine, Blind Willie Johnson, 2007
no info 900 Miles, Bethany & Rufus, 2007
no info Now and Forever, Chad & Jeremy, 2007
no info Manchester Free Trade Hall 1964, Reverend Gary Davis, 2008
no info Dixiefrog: 2008 Roots & New, Various Artists (Marie Knight), 2008
info Classic African American Gospel, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 2008
no info Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Soundtrack, Various Artists, 2008
no info I'm Gonna Live the Life I Sing About, Danny Kalb, 2009
no info About Time, McNamara & Neeley, 2009
no info Beyond the Headlights, Keith Miles, 2009
info Deep South, Bill Leverty, 2009
no info God Don't Never Change, Ashley Cleveland, 2009
no info Live at Gerdes Folk City 1962, Rev. Gary Davis, 2009
info Make It Your Sound, Make It Your Scene: Vanguard Records & The 1960s Musical Revolution, Various Artists (Rev. Gary Davis), 2012
info 7/2/15, Chicago, IL, Infamous Stringdusters & Keller Williams, 2015

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