Hard Rock Music Archives
Grateful Dead (1965-1995): a Rock band from Palo Alto, California, USA.
merican rock band Grateful Dead formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California, USA from the ashes of former act The Warlocks, a group formed in early 1965 from the remnants of 'jug' band Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. The band's first show was at Magoo's Pizza Parlor located at 639 Santa Cruz Avenue in suburban Menlo Park, on May 5, 1965; the shop would eventually become a furniture store. The act quickly became known for its eclectic style, fusing elements of rock, folk, country, jazz, bluegrass, blues, gospel, and psychedelic rock, utilizing live performances of lengthy instrumental jams. Despite only ever having one hit single Touch of Grey from the album In the Dark (1987) that reached 9 in the Billboard charts, their only track to ever break the top-40, they amassed a large fanbase known as "Deadheads".
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 US Library of Congress in 2012. On February 10, 2007, the Grateful Dead received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The Grateful Dead have sold more than 35 million albums worldwide.
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Formed during rise of the counterculture of the 1960s, the Grateful Dead personified all that was that culture and never surrendered it even as their hair went gray; psychedelic images and tie-dyed clothing seemed to never go out of fashion with this act.
The founding members were Jerry Garcia (lead guitar/vocals), Bob Weir (rhythm guitar, vocals), Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (keyboards/harmonica/vocals), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals; who replaced Dana Morgan Jr., who had played bass only for the first few shows) and Bill Kreutzmann (drums). Mickey Hart (drums) and non-performing lyricist Robert Hunter joined in 1967. With the exception of McKernan, who died in 1973, and Hart, who took time off between 1971-1974, the core membership have remained together for the acts' entire history. Other additional members of the band over the band's existence have included 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 thru 1990-1992, as well as a guest with the band on occasion before and after tours.
Over the course of their career their discography would feature: The Grateful Dead (1967), Anthem of the Sun (1968), Aoxomoxoa (1969), Live/Dead (1969), Workingman's Dead (1970), American Beauty (1970), Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses) (1971), Europe '72 (1972), History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear's Choice) (1973), Wake of the Flood (1973), From the Mars Hotel (1974), Blues for Allah (1975), Steal Your Face (1976), Terrapin Station (1977), Shakedown Street (1978), Go to Heaven (1980), Reckoning (1981), Dead Set (1981), In the Dark (1987), Dylan & the Dead (1989), Built to Last (1989) and Without a Net (1990).
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 as The Dead in 2003, 2004, and 2009. In 2015, the four surviving core members marked the band's 50th anniversary in a set of concerts that were billed as their last performances together. There have also been several spin-off acts featuring one or more core members in the form of Dead & Company, Furthur, The Rhythm Devils, Phil Lesh and Friends, RatDog and Billy & the Kids. A massive number of compilations and live retrospective albums have been released since the band's demise (not all listed at Diskery).
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