The Grateful Dead Biography
The Grateful Dead were an American rock band from Palo Alto, California, that formed in 1965. The band is known for its eclectic style, which incorporated elements of rock, folk, country, jazz, bluegrass, blues, rock and roll, gospel, reggae, world music, and psychedelia; for live performances of long instrumental jams that typically included modal and tonal improvisation; and for its devoted fan base, known as “Deadheads.” “Their music hits on ground that most other groups don’t even know exists,” writes Lenny Kaye. The Grateful Dead were dubbed “the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world” after combining their numerous inspirations into a wide and trippy whole. They are known for their hit “Friends With the Devil”.
In Rolling Stone magazine’s “The Greatest Artists of All Time” issue, the band was placed 57th. The band was elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and a recording of their performance at Cornell University’s Barton Hall on May 8, 1977 was added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry in 2012. Despite only having one top-40 single in their thirty-year career, “Touch of Grey,” the Grateful Dead remained one of the highest grossing American touring acts for decades, building a loyal fan base through word of mouth and the exchange of live recordings due to the band’s permissive attitude toward taping.
The Grateful Dead were formed in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1960s counterculture renaissance. Jerry Garcia (lead guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (rhythm guitar, vocals), Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (keyboards, harmonica, vocals), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals), and Bill Kreutzmann (drums, vocals) were the original members of the Grateful Dead, then known as the Warlocks, had previously performed together in a variety of San Francisco ensembles, including Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, a traditional jug band. Before the Grateful Dead changed their name, Lesh was the last member to join the Warlocks, replacing Dana Morgan Jr., who had played bass for a few shows. In 1967, Mickey Hart, a drummer, and Robert Hunter, a non-performing lyricist, joined the band.
The core of the band remained together for the entire 30-year career of the band, with the exception of McKernan, who died in 1973, and Hart, who took a break from 1971 to 1974. Tom Constanten (keyboards; 1968–1970), John Perry Barlow (non-performing lyricist; 1971–1995), Keith Godchaux (keyboards, occasional vocals; 1971–1979), Donna Godchaux (vocals; 1972–1979), Brent Mydland (keyboards, vocals; 1979–1990), and Vince Welnick (keyboards, vocals; 1990–1995) are the other official members of the band. From 1990 through 1992, Bruce Hornsby (accordion, piano, vocals) was a touring member as well as a guest with the band before and after the tours.
Following Garcia’s death in 1995, former band members and other musicians played as the Other Ones in 1998, 2000, and 2002, then as the Dead in 2003, 2004, and 2009. The four remaining core members of the band celebrated the band’s 50th anniversary in 2015 with a series of concerts billed as their final performances together. There have also been several spin-offs featuring one or more core members, such as Dead & Company, Further, the Rhythm Devils, Phil Lesh and Friends, RatDog, and Billy & the Kids.
|Without a Net|
|From the Mars Hotel|
|Anthem of the Sun|
|The Grateful Dead|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Considered The Best Grateful Dead Album?
There are a lot of different opinions out there about what the best Grateful Dead album is. A lot of people would probably say that “American Beauty” is the band’s best album, while others might say that “Workingman’s Dead” is superior. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference as to which Grateful Dead album is considered the best.
How Many Grateful Dead Live Albums Are There?
There are currently 24 Grateful Dead live albums that have been released, the most recent being ‘May 1977: Get Shown the Light’ released in 2017. The very first live album was ‘Grateful Dead’, a 2-LP set released in 1971. It included tracks recorded at various venues between 1967 and 1970. Many of the live albums focus on a certain period or tour, such as ‘Europe ’72’, which was the first live album to be certified Gold by the RIAA. Other popular releases include ‘Live/Dead’, which was the Dead’s first live album to go Platinum, and ‘Reckoning’, which features acoustic renditions of songs from throughout the band’s career.
What Is Considered The Best Grateful Dead Song?
There are a lot of great Grateful Dead songs, but some standouts include “Casey Jones,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Sugar Magnolia,” and “Ripple.” While there are many different opinions on what the best Grateful Dead song is, these are definitely some of the band’s most popular and well-loved tunes.
What Is Genre Of The Grateful Dead Song?
The Grateful Dead song is in the genre of folk rock.