To avoid misunderstandings let’s start by saying that Brokedown Palace is the title of many works. A 1986 novel by writer Steven Brust, a 1999 film by Johnatan Kaplan and its soundtrack. And a song written by the American band Grateful Dead.
We will obviously take care of the latter: the paladins of psychedelic and acid rock music of the 70’s. We are talking about a blend of folk, blues, rock and jazz featuring improvisations of live modal music. To explain what modal music is, it’s enough to identify ourselves in the historical period of activity of Grateful Dead.

We are at the end of the 1960s, in the midst of the hippie philosophy that, especially in America, has marked many young people’s minds. The term acid rock, in addition to referring to the type of music, is a clear reference to the use of LSD. And it is precisely from the perceptual and mood alterations of this substance that this musical genre derives.

 

Broke down Palace by Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead

It is not by chance that a true cult was born around the Grateful Dead. Some of their fans followed their concerts for years living as nomads, in often altered states and in line with hippie culture. The music of the Grateful Dead was mostly live and Warner Bros began to become interested in them only in 1967, when they already had a large number of followers. For some time the band accompanied Bob Dylan live: they were friends and Dylan was in a bad moment of his life.

American beauty

The song Brokedown Palace is part of the 1970 album published by Warner Bros American Beauty. In this album you can feel the influence of Bob Dylan and it was the only album that the band enjoyed recording in studio. Normally it was always hard to tear them away from live performances. It was the album that consecrated the band to a more commercial success. The price to pay, as often happens, was the loss and revolt of their historic fans. 
The lyrics of Brokedown Palace, like many others belonging to acid rock, are of personal interpretation. For someone it’s about reaincarnation, for someone else about a past love story. The thing we are sure of is that Grateful Dead used to play it to close their concerts. In an endless melancholic atmosphere.