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Grateful Dead

Rock's longest, strangest trip, the Grateful Dead were the psychedelic era's most beloved musical ambassadors as well as its most enduring survivors, spreading their message of peace, love, and mind-expansion across the globe throughout the better part of three decades. The object of adoration for popular music's most fervent and celebrated fan following -- the Deadheads, their numbers and devotion legendary in their own right -- they were the ultimate cult band, creating a self-styled universe all their own; for the better part of their career orbiting well outside of the mainstream, the Dead became superstars solely on their own terms, tie-dyed pied pipers whose epic, free-form live shows were rites of passage for an extended family of listeners who knew no cultural boundaries.

The roots of the Grateful Dead lie with singer/songwriter Jerry Garcia, a longtime bluegrass enthusiast who began playing the guitar at age 15. Upon relocating to Palo Alto, CA, in 1960, he soon befriended Robert Hunter, whose lyrics later graced many of Garcia's most famous melodies; in time, he also came into contact with aspiring electronic music composer Phil Lesh. By 1962, Garcia was playing banjo in a variety of local folk and bluegrass outfits, two years later forming Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions with guitarist Bob Weir and keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan; in 1965, the group was renamed the Warlocks, their lineup now additionally including Lesh on bass as well as Bill Kreutzmann on drums.

The Warlocks made their electric debut that July; Ken Kesey soon tapped them to become the house band at his notorious Acid Tests, a series of now-legendary public LSD parties and multimedia "happenings" mounted prior to the drug's criminalization. As 1965 drew to its close, the Warlocks rechristened themselves the Grateful Dead, the name taken from a folk tale discovered in a dictionary by Garcia; bankrolled by chemist/LSD manufacturer Owsley Stanley, the band members soon moved into a communal house situated at 710 Ashbury Street in San Francisco, becoming a fixture on the local music scene and building a large fan base on the strength of their many free concerts. Signing to MGM, in 1966 the Dead also recorded their first demos; the sessions proved disastrous, and the label dropped the group a short time later.

As 1967 mutated into the Summer of Love, the Dead emerged as one of the top draws on the Bay Area music scene, honing an eclectic repertoire influenced by folk, country, and the blues while regularly appearing at top local venues including the Fillmore Auditorium, the Avalon Ballroom, and the Carousel. In March of 1967 the Dead issued their self-titled Warner Bros. debut LP, a disappointing effort which failed to recapture the cosmic sprawl of their live appearances; after performing at the Monterey Pop Festival, the group expanded to a six-piece with the addition of second drummer Mickey Hart. Their follow-up, 1968's Anthem of the Sun, fared better in documenting the free-form jam aesthetic of their concerts, but after completing 1969's Aoxomoxoa, their penchant for time-consuming studio experimentation left them over 100,000 dollars in debt to the label.

The Dead's response to the situation was to bow to the demands of fans and record their first live album, 1969's Live/Dead; highlighted by a rendition of Garcia's "Dark Star" clocking in at over 23 minutes, the LP succeeded where its studio predecessors failed in capturing the true essence of the group in all of their improvisational, psychedelicized glory. It was followed by a pair of classic 1970 studio efforts, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty; recorded in homage to the group's country and folk roots, the two albums remained the cornerstone of the Dead's live repertoire for years to follow, with its most popular songs -- "Uncle John's Band," "Casey Jones," "Sugar Magnolia," and "Truckin'" among them -- becoming major favorites on FM radio.

Despite increasing radio airplay and respectable album sales, the Dead remained first and foremost a live act, and as their popularity grew across the world they expanded their touring schedule, taking to the road for much of each year. As more and more of their psychedelic-era contemporaries ceased to exist, the group continued attracting greater numbers of fans to their shows, many of them following the Dead across the country; dubbed "Deadheads," these fans became notorious for their adherence to tie-dyed fashions and excessive drug use, their traveling circus ultimately becoming as much the focal point of concert dates as the music itself. Shows were also extensively bootlegged, and not surprisingly the Dead closed out their Warners contract with back-to-back concert LPs -- a 1971 eponymous effort and 1972's Europe '72.

The latter release was the final Dead album to feature Pigpen McKernan, a heavy drinker who died of liver failure on March 8, 1973; his replacement was keyboardist Keith Godchaux, who brought with him wife Donna Jean to sing backing vocals. 1973's Wake of the Flood was the first release on the new Grateful Dead Records imprint; around the time of its follow-up, 1974's Grateful Dead From the Mars Hotel, the group took a hiatus from the road to allow its members the opportunity to pursue solo projects. After returning to the live arena with a 1976 tour, the Dead signed to Arista to release Terrapin Station, the first in a series of misguided studio efforts that culminated in 1980's Go to Heaven, widely considered the weakest record in the group's catalog -- so weak, in fact, that they did not re-enter the studio for another seven years.

The early '80s was a time of considerable upheaval for the Dead -- the Godchauxs had been dismissed from the lineup in 1979, with Keith dying in a car crash on July 23, 1980. (His replacement was keyboardist Brent Mydland.) After a pair of 1981 live LPs, Reckoning and Dead Set, the group released no new recordings until 1987, focusing instead on their touring schedule -- despite the dearth of new releases, the Dead continued selling out live dates, now playing to audiences which spanned generations. As much a cottage industry as a band, they traveled not only with an enormous road crew but also dozens of friends and family members, many of them Dead staffers complete with health insurance and other benefits.

Still, the Dead were widely regarded as little more than an enduring cult phenomenon prior to the release of 1987's In the Dark; their first studio LP since Go to Heaven, it became the year's most unlikely hit when the single "Touch of Grey" became the first-ever Dead track to reach the Top Ten on the pop charts. Suddenly their videos were in regular rotation on MTV, and virtually overnight the ranks of the Deadheads grew exponentially, with countless new fans flocking to the group's shows. Not only did concert tickets become increasingly tough to come by for longtime followers, but there were also more serious repercussions -- the influx of new fans shifted the crowd dynamic considerably, and once-mellow audiences became infamous not only for their excessive drug habits but also for their violent encounters with police.

Other troubles plagued the Dead as well: in July 1986, Garcia -- a year removed from a drug treatment program -- lapsed into near-fatal diabetic coma brought on by his continued substance abuse problems, regaining consciousness five days later. His health remained an issue in the years which followed, but the Dead spent more time on tour than ever, with a series of dates with Bob Dylan yielding the live album Dylan & the Dead. Their final studio effort, Built to Last, followed in 1989. Tragedy struck in October of that year when a fan died after breaking his neck outside of a show at the New Jersey Meadowlands; two months later, a 19-year-old fan on LSD also died while in police custody at the Los Angeles Forum.

As ever, the Dead themselves were also not immune to tragedy -- on July 26, 1990, Mydland suffered a fatal drug overdose, the third keyboardist in group history to perish; he was replaced not only by ex-Tubes keyboardist Vince Welnick but also by satellite member Bruce Hornsby, a longtime fan who frequently toured with the group. In the autumn of 1992 Garcia was again hospitalized with diabetes and an enlarged heart, forcing the Dead to postpone their upcoming tour until the year's end; he eventually returned to action looking more fit than he had in years. Still, few were surprised when it was announced on August 9, 1995, that Garcia had been found dead in his room at a substance abuse treatment facility in Forest Knolls, CA; the 53 year old's death was attributed to a heart attack.

While Garcia's death spelled the end of the Dead as a continuing creative entity, the story was far from over. As the surviving members disbanded to plot their next move, the band's merchandising arm went into overdrive -- in addition to Dick's Picks, a series of archival releases of classic live material, licensed products ranging from Dead T-shirts to sporting goods to toys flooded the market. Plans were also announced to build Terrapin Station, an interactive museum site. In 1996, Weir and Hart mounted the first Furthur Festival, a summer tour headlined by their respective bands RatDog and Mystery Box; in 1998, they also reunited with Lesh and Hornsby to tour as the Other Ones. In spirit if not in name, the Grateful Dead's trip continued on. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Three From The Vault (Live At Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY - 2/19//71)

Disc 1
Disc 2

Track List: Beyond Description (1973-1989)

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4
Disc 5
Disc 6
Disc 7
Disc 8
Disc 9
Disc 10
Disc 11
Disc 12


Oh yeah yesterday iiiii.oh that wasn't me?
There's a guy from the CIA creeping around laurel canyon. He puts microphones in people's ears. But that's ok because Bigfoot will take care of him <><><>◇◇◇◇◇◆ ° · ° · ° ° ° ° < > < > < ~ ` · · · ° · ° ★ Can anyone decipher this code?
Mars was in opposition tonight. Great views from the canyon. High pressure settling in causes crystalline views of space and the creatures that inhabit there. The mysterious elusive space beings are still undercover, but not for long. Lots of wind sound on this studio 'get away'. I hear gale force gusts coming through the speakers. Sending sonic aftershocks into the inner realms of the time space continuem. Has anybody else seen the guy from the CIA creeping around the canyon? Is anybody here? H
Hey RenaeJackson - read this or you might be kissed by BIGFOOT!!! The New Interdimensi o n a l - I n t e r p l a n e t a r y Order is almost here!!!!! The space beings and Bigfoot will be revealed at the great cosmic convergence! Hoodoo!
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't read this you will die in two days. Now that you've started reading this don't stop. This is so scary. Put this on five songs in the next 143 min. when your done press F6 an your lovers name will pop up on your screen in big letters. Trust me it works.
This review is not the way I remember them. The Dead and Garcia were and still are the ultimate band to take you on a great adventure in music.

That's the real true sound of Bigfoot!!! You have all been deceived by what you have heard! Those tv shows claiming to record Bigfoot sounds are all deception! Bigfoot doesn't howl! He doesn't whoop! He doesn't growl! He just says, "A WOOGY WOOGY WOOGY WOOGY!!!!! He is peaceful! He just wants to be left alone until he is ready to reveal himself, and that day is coming soon!!!!!!!! ! ! ! !
Who is number one? You are number 6! I am not a number! I'm a free man! Soon citizens, the entire human race will be free from the constraints of real time. We gave reached our chief maximum. The next phase of intergalacti c , interplaneta r y , interdimensi o n a l transformati o n and transmorgifi c a t i o n is about to be reality. May all eyes look up to outer space! May all ears be lent to the forest! May all mouths be open to speak the language of Bigfoot!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
What do space aliens, jellyfish and Bigfoot have in common? Do you know that our universal realm is about to experience a once in a 4,859,026,55 2 , 1 7 3 year transformati o n ? We want information. Information!
What do jellyfish and Bigfoot have in common? Does it seem like they have nothing? Do they appear to be on opposite ends of the interdimensi o n a l interplaneta r y order? EXACTLY! Thats the deception! They have more in common then a dog with fur. Soon it will be clear to everyone. Be patient. Soon it will all be clear. It's all part of the interdementi o n a l interplaneta r y interface. Soon the interface will unfold.
The New Interdimensi o n a l Interplaneta r y Order is almost upon us. As the night wind stirs up the forest creatures to awaken the source of all earthly pretense to call us back to our true destiny. When the comet Ison completes its orbit, it will awaken the mysterious space beings to show us the plan for the new universal order.
Are your eyes focused in the outer dimensional realms of space? Are your ears tilted to the intermediary bilateral cognisence of the forest? Shh! Did you hear that? Bigfoot is calling!
Keep your eyes to outer space and your ears to the woods citizens. Soon the outer planetary interrrrdime n s i o n a l portis humanoid creatures we call aliens will soon make their plans for us known. And listen to the woods. Soon Bigfoot will reveal himself. He will speak to us and convey his plan for the New Interplaneta r y Order. Exciting!!!! !
Late at night when I lay on my back on my deck here in the upper canyons of California I can see objects swimming through space. Space is an ocean made up of dark matter. On the bottom of the solar system lies decayed matter of previous ecosystems.
Do you that there are jellyfish in space? They swim through the the parameters of dark matter. Dark matter is like an invisible ocean in space with a concistancy between water and jello. Perfect for a jellyfish to make its habitat. Other sea organisms make outer space their home as well.
The Dick Panthers are better.
Friggin' hippies! (jk!)
Veggie burritos! Mushroom chocolates! d o s e s . . . . . .
The 3 day shows. Whooooooweee those were times.
Not a dead head but love the songs
I been told I was there, but I don't remember it, you see, I was drunk, stoned and tripping . Must have been a great time !!!
Great dead tune, and I'm not a dead head
Phish should just give the same title for all their studio albums: Phish-'About 50 Minutes of F**kin' Around'---wi t h the subtitle, 'Buyer Beware'
I saw a space jellyfish. It was floating upwards. There's some weird creaking noises on this studio Ripple. Sounds like an old wooden rocking chair. I crank this one real loud because Bigfoot likes acoustic songs. He can hear us.
It goes like, 'wave that flag, wave it wide and high' then poop! Every time like a clockwork orange, tangerine dream s**t storm. I hear voices and gurgling, blurping sounds in the background on this studio Victim. The voice is ghostly and calls my name in whispers. Heavy breathing as the glass breaks too. Cosmic debris floating in space can be heard as well. Do you know there are space jellyfish?
For studio stuff, the jam in the middle of Easy Wind is about as funky as it gets, more cowbell!
PLAY DEAD DAMITTT!!!!! ! . . . . . l o l
All of my friends,
Come to see me last night...
I love the Grateful Dead!!!
The DEAD---a great niche in music history--unm a t c h e d and immortal. What a long strange trip it's been--INDEED !
Love all my Dead heads... Just great people. Peace :)
sunshinebry2 0 0 0
Just got Winterland 77 box set. It is truly magical. Some of the best dead ever! I feel blessed.
my favorite band my parents were dead heads so I heard it my whole life, my opinion is to get the older stuff or live they are the best
The best Dead is live Dead.. I enjoy studio cuts in a pinch but it was on stage communing with us, the fans, they laid down their best tracks!!
My grandparents are dead heads and my parents are dead heads and I'm a dead head my whole family is a dead head ☺️
I saw my first show when I was 13...your good.
Is it bad that i am a 14 year old dead head lol
Wo, oh, what I want to know, how does the song go?
I just took a dump during u.s. blues again. Man, everytime I here the studio version of u.s. blues it makes me s**t. Luckily I was near a toilet this time. The other day I was in my car and u.s. blues came on and I s**t myself. Can't listen to GD radio in car anymore. Or when out walking and riding my bike. Or I should just make sure to walk or bicycle in the woods.
Your Rosebud was wooden. I know a Rosebud of yacht like proportions sent to slip jimmy over the canary in the coal mine, to the center of the universe-wor m hole. Whole lottsa crazy sound effects on this west la fade. Hear popping and robotic voices. I feel like I gotta take a dump.
Rosebud's shipwrecked up on the Ohio behind a wall of glass telling me to take it easy but I took a photograph. And she's just a wooden machine but you and Rosebud, you're still singing to me.
Ancient fish are really our alien ancestors cytoplasmic ameaoba offspring. The dead have little to do with prehistoric fish other then they might have eaten some of them. Cosmic debris crashed to earth causing craters that were early breeding pools for the cytoplasmic offspring of alien mutations. Humans are just alien mutations of our true humaness which is bigfoot. We did not evoke from bigfoot. Bigfoot evolved from us!
The grateful dead where they like antique phish?
Oh my god the memories, I
I can 't eve post! 60s 70s!!,
Saw them in 93 in Highgate VT! Had a great time! Great memories!
Bay area shows were the best
Today's Menu? Pastrami sandwich!
Lovin Jack A Roe oh the truth you I'll tell
Who cares?
don't like this artist
If I have to explain you wouldn't understand. Keep on GROOVIN!
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