The Grateful Dead in 1970, from a promotional photo shoot. Left to right: Bill Kreutzmann, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh.
|Origin||San Francisco, California, U.S.|
The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band is known for its eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, country, jazz, bluegrass, blues, gospel, and psychedelic rock; for live performances of lengthy instrumental jams; and for its devoted fan base, known as "Deadheads". "Their music", writes Lenny Kaye, "touches on ground that most other groups don't even know exists." These various influences were distilled into a diverse and psychedelic whole that made the Grateful Dead "the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world". The band was ranked 57th by Rolling Stone magazine in its The Greatest Artists of All Time issue. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and a recording of their May 8, 1977 performance at Cornell University's Barton Hall was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2012. The Grateful Dead has sold more than 35 million albums worldwide.
The Grateful Dead was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area amid the rise of the counterculture of the 1960s. The founding members were Jerry Garcia (lead guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (rhythm guitar, vocals), Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (keyboards, harmonica, vocals), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals), and Bill Kreutzmann (drums). Members of the Grateful Dead had played together in various San Francisco bands, including Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions and the Warlocks. Lesh was the last member to join the Warlocks before they became the Grateful Dead; he replaced Dana Morgan Jr., who had played bass for a few gigs. Drummer Mickey Hart and non-performing lyricist Robert Hunter joined in 1967. With the exception of McKernan, who died in 1973, and Hart, who took time off from 1971 to 1974, the core of the band stayed together for its entire 30-year history. The other official members of the band are Tom Constanten (keyboards; 1968–1970), John Perry Barlow (nonperforming lyricist; 1971–1995), Keith Godchaux (keyboards; 1971–1979), Donna Godchaux (vocals; 1972–1979), Brent Mydland (keyboards, vocals; 1979–1990), and Vince Welnick (keyboards, vocals; 1990–1995). Bruce Hornsby (accordion, piano, vocals) was a touring member from 1990 to 1992, as well as a guest with the band on occasion before and after the tours.
After the death of Garcia in 1995, former members of the band, along with other musicians, toured as the Other Ones in 1998, 2000, and 2002, and the Dead in 2003, 2004, and 2009. In 2015, the four surviving core members marked the band's 50th anniversary in a series of concerts that were billed as their last performances together. There have also been several spin-offs featuring one or more core members, such as Dead & Company, Furthur, the Rhythm Devils, Phil Lesh and Friends, RatDog, and Billy & the Kids.
- Meriwether, Nicholas G. (2012). Reading the Grateful Dead: A Critical Survey. Scarecrow Press. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-8108-8371-0.
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- "purveyors of freely improvised space music" – Blender Magazine, May 2003 Archived June 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- "’Dark Star’, both in its title and in its structure (designed to incorporate improvisational exploration), is the perfect example of the kind of ’space music’ that the Dead are famous for. Oswald's titular pun ’Grayfolded’ adds the concept of folding to the idea of space, and rightly so when considering the way he uses sampling to fold the Dead's musical evolution in on itself." – Islands of Order, Part 2, by Randolph Jordan, in Offscreen Journal Archived September 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, edited by Donato Totaro, Ph.D, film studies lecturer at Concordia University since 1990.
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- Barnes, Luke (June 26, 2013). "UC Santa Cruz's Grateful Dead archive offers a reason to visit the campus this summer". santacruzsentinel.com. The Santa Cruz Sentinel. Archived from the original on May 8, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
- Rolling Stone, p. 332
- Garofalo, p. 218
- Although he is identified as an official member on the band's website, Barlow (who frequently collaborated with Weir, Mydland and Welnick) was not inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "The Grateful Dead". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
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- "Dead 50". Grateful Dead.