[Editor's Note: This blog originally incorrectly stated that an "anonymous individual" had painted lyrics from the Grateful Dead song "Touch of Grey" on a building in San Francisco. It has now been updated to report that the building is home to "Love on Haight," a "tiedye emporium" at 1400 Haight Street, and that Sunshine Powers, the owner of that emporium, is the person who painted the Dead lyrics on two plywood boards fixed to the front of her shop.]
(CNSNews.com) - Sunshine Powers, the founder and owner of “Love on Haight” a “tiedye emporium” in San Francisco’s legendary Haight Ashbury district, has painted two plywood boards with inspirational lyrics from the Grateful Dead’s hit song “Touch of Grey” and placed them on the front windows of her shop.
The lyrics say: “We will get by/We will survive.”
These poignant words were captured in a photograph that AFP photographer Josh Edelson took on March 17—one day after six Bay Area counties, including San Francisco, ordered their citizens “to shelter in place” as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.
The caption on the photo did not indicate when the words were painted on the plywood boards or by whom—and this writer initially wrote in this blog, incorrectly, that the Grateful Dead lyrics had been painted there by an “anonymous individual.”
On Wednesday evening, Sunshine Powers sent an email to CNSNews.com to correct this error.
“I own the shop Love on Haight,” Powers said in the email. “I spray painted the words on the plywood.”
“My shop has stood for 30 years and it will stand for 39 more,” she said.
We are San Franciscans,” Powers said. “We have dealt with so much.
“We will survive and thrive. But first we must deal with the war that is being waged on our country,” she said.
“We must come together,” she said, “and overcome this virus.”
“Love on Haight” is located at 1400 Haight Street in San Francisco—about two-and-a-half blocks from where the Grateful Dead once lived at 710 Ashbury Street.
“Love on Haight is dedicated to the revitalization of Haight Street by bringing back the color, creativity and consciousness that Haight Street is historically known for,” says the shop’s website.
“Over fifty years ago, what happened on these streets in 1967 shaped who we are as a society and hopefully what that community is doing here and now will influence the next 50 years…this is our duty as members of this iconic community,” it says.
“Love on Haight is one of the last artisan shops left on Haight Street,” says the shop’s website. “We work with over 150 artists, over 80 of them are tiedye artists from around the world,” it says.
“Over half of our products are made here in San Francisco,” it says.
The “Love on Haight” website features several categories of products, one being clothing products that feature Grateful Dead-inspired images and patterns.
“Love on Haight” also helps the homeless.
“A portion of our profits go towards fighting the homeless youth crisis that we face in the Haight Ashbury,” says its website. “Since its inception Love on Haight has supported nonprofits like Taking it to the Streets, Homeless Youth Alliance and Larkin Youth Service. We are firm believers that the fastest way to solve our homeless crisis is housing and we are dedicated to making our community better for everyone who lives here.”
The photo by Josh Edelson of the Grateful Dead lyrics on the front of “Love on Haight” shows Dr. Stuart Malcolm of the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic on the sidewalk there. He was on the street that day to talk to homeless people in the neighborhood.
Another photo by Josh Edelson shows Dr. Malcolm speaking with a person who is sitting on the sidewalk below the sign.
Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter wrote the lyrics for “Touch of Grey.” Grateful Dead lead guitarist Jerry Garcia wrote the music.
The song was recorded by the Dead in 1987 and released as a single and on their album “In the Dark.” It hit No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it the top hit the Grateful Dead ever recorded. It beat “Truckin,’” which rose to No. 64 and “Uncle John’s Band,” which hit No. 69.
Robert Hunter’s lyrics say in part:
“I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It’s even worse than it appears
But it’s all right.
“The cow is giving kerosene
Kid can’t read at seventeen
The words he knows are all obscene
But it’s all right.
“I will get by/I will get by
I will get by/I will survive.”