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Grateful Dead, The


Formed: 1965, San Francisco, California; Disbanded 1995

Members: Jerry Garcia, guitar, vocals (Jerome John Garcia, born San Francisco, California, 1 August 1942; died Forest Knolls, California, 9 August 1995); Michael "Mickey" Hart, drums (born Brooklyn, New York, 11 September 1943); William "Bill" Kreutzmann, drums (born Palo Alto, California, 7 June 1946); Phil Lesh, bass (Philip Chapman, born Berkeley, California, 15 March 1940); Bob Weir, guitar, vocals (Robert Hall, born San Francisco, California, 16 October 1947); Vincent Leo "Vince" Welnick, keyboards (born Phoenix, Arizona, 21 February 1951). Former members: Tom Constanten, keyboards (Thomas Charles Sture Hills, born Long Branch, New Jersey, 19 March 1949); Donna Godchaux, vocals (born San Francisco, California, 22 August 1947); Keith Godchaux, keyboards (born San Francisco, California, 19 July 1948; died Marin County, California, 22 July 1980); Ronald C. "Pigpen" McKernan, keyboards, vocals, harmonica (born San Bruno, California, 8 September 1946; died Corte Madera, California, 8 March 1973); Brent Mydland, keyboards (born Munich, West Germany, 21 October 1952; died Lafayette, California, 26 July 1990).

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: Ladies and Gentlemen . . . The Grateful Dead: Fillmore East New York April 1971 (2000)

The Grateful Dead was the longest-running major American rock act that came to prominence in the 1960s and performed continuously throughout its three-decade career. Only the death of its unofficial leader, Jerry Garcia, in 1995 succeeded in pulling the plug on the thirty-year party that the band had hosted with its legions of followerscalled "Deadheads"virtually nonstop since late 1965.

Origins, Acid Tests, and Early Recordings

In 1963 bluegrass banjo and guitar player Jerry Garcia, blues vocalist and harmonica player Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, and washtub bass and jug blower Bob Weir formed Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions in East Palo Alto, California. Constantly recruiting new players, the group was looking to be more improvisational and spontaneous than the highly structured and formulaic bluegrass San Francisco Bay area bands of the era. Group attitudes and early attempts at lyrics were influenced by the cynicism of the poets and authors of the 1950s Beat generation that were still hanging around San Francisco clubs. After the British Invasion of 1964, however, McKernan suggested that the acoustic band should go electric and get a rhythm section. Both Garcia and Weir picked up electric guitars, McKernan obtained a portable electronic organ, and drummer Bill Kreutzmann and an electric bassist were added. When the original bass player did not work out, Garcia friend and avant-garde composer Phil Lesh was recruited for the spot. Called the Warlocks until Lesh discovered that another band was already using the name, some early demos were recorded under the name Emergency Crew; the name Grateful Dead was found by Garcia in a dictionary.

Having moved into a single house in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, the group was introduced to the hallucinogenic powers of LSD (lysergic acid diethyl amide) by author friend Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, as his party group was known. Early Grateful Dead appearances were as a house band for Kesey's infamous "acid test" challenges, where audience members were encouragedalong with the band, of courseto share a common exploration of "inner space" together. This psychedelic phenomenon peaked in early 1966 with an audience of five thousand tripping along with the Dead and other Bay area acts at the Trips Festival. Such spectacles helped contribute to LSD's becoming illegal, however, and by late 1966 whatever official or unofficial acid tests might accompany future Dead gigs were left unspoken.

A Warner Bros. record executive heard the group in San Francisco and persuaded it to come down to Los Angeles to record its first album, The Grateful Dead (1967). Recorded in three days with the band nervous and away from home, the record failed to convey the full sense of wonder and excitement that accompanied the group's live performances. This, in fact, would be a common observation from the band and from Deadheads throughout its long career, which is why there is such an uneven ratio of "live" over studio Dead albums. An audience was not simply a sounding board for the Dead: It was the synergistic component necessary for completing its improvisational sound sculptures. The group's second effort, Anthem of the Sun (1968), was a collage of studio and live performances and by Live Dead (1969), the entire album was recorded live, a rare occurrence at the time.

Personnel Changes and Band Losses

In late 1967, Garcia friend and Beat generation poet Robert Hunter began collaborating with Garcia on lyrics and Kreutzmann drummer and percussionist friend Mickey Hart sat in with the band and was added to the lineup. Hunter's lyrics gave Garcia's music a profundity and introspection that had been lacking and Hart's presence added a polyrhythmic vitality and groove to the Dead sound. Lesh composer and pianist friend Tom Constanten was brought into the lineup in 1968, playing John Cageinspired prepared piano and adding other avant-garde touches until his 1970 departure, when keyboardist Keith Godchaux and his wife and vocalist Donna joined the band. The Dead's best-known studio albums of the timeWorkingman's Dead and American Beauty (both 1970)saw a return to acoustic instruments and brought a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sense of vocal harmonization to such highly polished and radio-friendly songs as "Uncle John's Band" and "Truckin'" that would become timeless band classics.

By the time of the Dead's first tour of Europe that would be documented on the three-disc Europe '72 (1972) set, McKernan's alcohol abuse was catching up with him, and his participation was limited; he would die of a stomach hemorrhage in 1973 at age twenty-six, the band releasing History of the Grateful Dead, Vol. 1 (Bear's Choice) (1973) in his memory. Meanwhile, Hart had departed from the band in 1971 in embarrassment after his father, who upon his son's recommendation became the band's business manager, disappeared to Mexico with a large Dead recording company advance; Hart would return in 1974.

The formation of Grateful Dead Records in 1973 was a group attempt to have more artistic control over its recorded product, but the experiment was a financial disaster and in 1975 the company needed to be bailed out by United Artists. The Dead signed with Arista Records in 1977, but stopped recording altogether in 1980 after being dissatisfied with Arista's overproducing and under-marketing of Terrapin Station (1977), Shakedown Street (1978), and Go to Heaven (1980). The Godchauxs were planning to leave the Dead in 1980 when Keith Godchaux was killed in a car accident and was replaced by German keyboardist Brent Mydland. Garcia's health was also deteriorating with increased substance abuse, and when he fell into a diabetic coma in 1986, there seemed little hope of his emerging. When he did, Garcia was able to recover and put his near-death experience into perspective with "Touch of Grey," recorded for In the Dark (1987), the first new Dead album in seven years. "Touch of Grey" became the Dead's first-ever Top 10 single, and In the Dark the best-selling album of its long career. By 1991 the Dead had becometo its own amazement as well as that of industry observersthe highest-grossing touring attraction in the music business. After twenty-two years, the Dead had finally become something it never had been before: mainstream.

Following in the footsteps of McKernan and Keith Godchaux, Mydland became the third Dead keyboardist to die prematurely when he was found dead in his home from a drug overdose in July 1990. Bruce Hornsby sat in for gigs as he was able, but it was Vince Welnick, keyboardist for the Tubes, who would join the band later that year and remain with the Dead for the final five years of its existence.

The End of an Era

Garcia himself would continue to experience health problems in the early 1990s, but Deadheads had become used to this by now. When Garcia could not make it to the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, the group brought along a cardboard cutout of him to stand alongside band members while they accepted the award, and even for the extended jam session that followed. By the record-breaking hot summer of 1995, the Dead were getting more media attention for the raucous behavior of Deadheads than for Garcia's health. Traffic jams and halted highways had always been routine accompaniments to Dead concerts, but when three thousand ticketless fans crashed the gate of a concert in Indiana and caused a riot, the band posted a scolding message on its Internet site and cancelled its next day's show at the same venue in protest of the behavior. After performing what would be its final concert on July 9, 1995, at Soldier Field, Chicago, the group took a hiatus while Garcia went to a rehabilitation center in Forest Knolls, California. It was there that Garcia was found dead in his room on August 9, 1995, having celebrated his fifty-third birthday just days before; the cause of death was heart failure.

The standard line that was used in reporting Garcia's death was the much overused yet apt cliché that it represented "the end of an era." Such insights would be expected from MTV and Rolling Stone, but it was unprecedented to see CNN offer hours of coverage of a rock performer's death and to see veteran network news anchors pontificating about that performer's "cultural significance." Surviving band members reminded fans that Garcia would have been the first one to say not to read anything into his death, except that people should take better care of themselves. That was the message that President Bill Clinton, a longtime Dead admirer who used to sport Garcia-designed ties, publicly read into the death. Given Garcia's drive to keep playing even in the wake of no less than three band deaths over the yearsincluding that of the group's then-frontman in 1973it was surprising that surviving group members made a formal announcement in December 1995 that the Grateful Dead would be no more.

Legacy and Future of the Dead

With the Grateful Dead having passed into history, Dead-inspired jam-based bands that had emerged in the 1990s such as the Dave Matthews Band and Phish became more popular than ever. With the Dead's liberal policy of allowing fans to tape record its live shows, die-hard Dead-heads had more recordings to trade and pore over than most could possibly fully absorb in a lifetime. And now that the party really was over, the overall meaning and significance of that party could be pored over in books, documentaries, and recording compilations: The 1960s had finally passed into memory.

With the Grateful Dead, it was never about the music in and of itself; it was music being used as a rallying point for a common experience. What died with Garcia was a thirty-year continuum of a shared experience of musicians and audiences bonding together to be part of something bigger than they were individually. Neither the band nor its legions of followers forgot this aspect of 1960s counterculture, and both became the torchbearers of this ongoing tradition, passing it on to entire new generations of fans as time went on. Encountering the Dead live was, above all, an experience, and an experience that became an obsession for many who had to keep on having it. This remained true right through the band's final 1995 performances in a way that was not true of the handful of 1960s acts that were still performing in the 1990s. The Rolling Stones, for instance, toured infrequently even into the 1990s, and always needed a new album to promote to do so. Even so, the big hits were the bread and butter of these tours, and most went to see the Stones for nostalgia. Audiences would look back, with fondness and a smile, at a time when they were young and happy, and then most would go back home to the present. Not Deadheads. They were not recalling anything: Most had never left the 1960s. Many still had lava lamps and colored light organs, black lights and bell-bottoms tucked away, along with rubber bands and blocks of dye.

In 1998 surviving Dead members Lesh, Weir, and Hart, along with keyboardist Hornsby, saxophonist Dave Ellis, and guitarists Mark Karan and Steve Kimock, made appearances billed as the Other Ones. A double live CD called The Strange Remain (1999) was subsequently released, which includes favorites from the Dead canon along with five new songs. During the summer of 2002, Lesh, Weir, Hart, and Kreutzmann reunited for two concerts in Wisconsin along with guitarist Jimmy Herring and keyboardists Rob Barraco and Jeff Chimenti. Called "Terrapin Station: A Grateful Dead Family Reunion," thirty thousand fans descended on the event. That success saw the group embark on a national tour of seventeen venues during the late fall of 2002. The enthusiastic response from Deadheads and the media was so overwhelming that the band announced it would re-form on a permanent basis. After a seven-year hiatus, however, and without Garcia, it would not be called the Grateful Dead; henceforth, the group would be formally known by the nickname that had been applied to it for years: the Dead.


Built to Last (Arista, 1989); Without a Net (Arista, 1990); Steal Your Face (Arista re-release, 1990); Terrapin Station (Arista re-release, 1990); Shakedown Street (Arista re-release, 1990); Go to Heaven (Arista re-release, 1990); In the Dark (Arista re-release, 1990); Reckoning (Arista re-release, 1990); Wake of the Flood (Arista re-release, 1995); Grateful Dead from the Mars Hotel (Arista re-release, 1995); Blues for Allah (Arista re-release, 1995); Infrared Roses (Arista re-release, 1995); Dozin' at the Knick (Arista, 1996); Dick's Picks, Vol. 9: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, 9/16/90 (Arista, 1997); Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions (Grateful Dead Records, 1999); So Many Roads (19651995) (Arista, 1999); Dick's Picks, Vol. 17: Boston Garden, Boston, MA, 9/25/91 (Arista, 2000); View from the Vault (Grateful Dead Records, 2000); Ladies and Gentlemen . . . The Grateful Dead: Fillmore East New York April 1971 (Arista, 2000); View from the Vault II (Grateful Dead Records, 2001); Grateful Dead: The Golden Road (19651973). (Warner Bros./Rhino, 2001); Steppin' Out with the Grateful Dead: England '72 (Arista, 2002); Go to Nassau (Arista, 2002); Postcards of the Edge: Grateful Dead Perform the Songs of Bob Dylan (Arista, 2002); Birth of the Dead (Rhino, 2003); The Grateful Dead (Warner Bros./Rhino re-release, 2003); Anthem of the Sun (Warner Bros./Rhino re-release, 2003); Aoxomoxoa (Warner Bros./Rhino re-release, 2003); Live Dead (Warner Bros./Rhino re-release, 2003); Working-man's Dead (Warner Bros./Rhino re-release, 2003); American Beauty (Warner Bros./Rhino re-release, 2003); Grateful Dead (Skull and Roses) (Warner Bros./Rhino re-release, 2003); Europe '72 (Warner Bros./Rhino re-release, 2003); History of the Grateful Dead, Vol. 1 (Bear's Choice) (Warner Bros./Rhino re-release, 2003).


D. Brook, The Book of the Dead (London, 1972); H. Harrison, The Dead Book (New York, 1973); B. Jackson, Grateful Dead: The Music Never Stopped (New York, 1983); P. and J. Grushkin, C. Bassett, Grateful Dead: The Official Book of the Deadheads (New York, 1983); D. Shank and S. Silberman, Skeleton Key: A Dictionary for Deadheads (New York, 1994); M. M. Getz and J. R. Dwork, The Deadhead's Taping Compendium (New York, 1998); M. M. Getz and J. R. Dwork, The Deadhead's Taping Compendium, Volume II (New York, 1999); S. Peters, What a Long, Strange Trip: The Stories Behind Every Grateful Dead Song 19651995 (Berkeley, CA, 1999); M. M. Getz and J. R. Dwork, The Deadhead's Taping Compendium, Volume III (New York, 2000); D. Gans, Conversations with the Dead: The Grateful Dead Interview Book (New York, 2002); D. McNally, A Long, Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead (New York, 2002); D. McNally, Grateful Dead: The Illustrated Trip (New York, 2003).


dennis polkow

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The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead

Rock band

For the Record

Selected discography


The Grateful Dead is one of only a handful of rock bands that have been going at it for nearly two and a half decades. But, unlike their contemporaries, the Dead have built their reputation on noncommercial music dedicated to the art of improvisation. I would never have thought Id be interested in something for twenty-five years, band leader Jerry Garcia told Rolling Stone. Thats a long time for anything. But if we never get to that place, the process itself stays interesting, so the trip has been worth it.

The group began as an acoustic unit, Mother McCrees Uptown Jug Champions, with Bob Weir, Bob Matthews, Ron Pigpen McKernan, John Dawson and Garcia. Pigpen convinced the band to go electric and in 1964 they added Bill Kreutzmann on drums and bassist Phil Lesh, a classically trained trumpet player who had never before touched the four-stringed instrument. They were known briefly as the Warlocks before pulling the moniker Grateful Dead out of an Oxford dictionary. Based in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Franciscothe center of the peace-love-flower-power-drug

For the Record

Band formed in San Francisco, Calif.; original members included guitarist-vocalist Jerry Garcia (full name, Jerome John Garcia; born August 1, 1942 in San Francisco, Calif. ; father was a jazz musician); guitarist-vocalist Bob Weir (Full name, Robert Hall Weir; born October 16, 1947 in San Francisco, Calif.); bass guitarist Phil Lesh (born March 15, 1940 in Berkeley, Calif.); drummer Bill Kreutzmann (born June 7, 1946, in Palo Alto, Calif.); and vocalist-harmonica player Ron Pigpen McKernan (born September 8, 1946; died of a liver ailment, March 8, 1973). Drummer Mickey Hart (born in Long Island, New York) joined the band in 1967;

McKernan was replaced in 1974 by keyboardist Keith Godchaux (born July 19, 1948, in San Francisco, Calif.; killed in a car accident July 22, 1980; husband of band member Donna Godchaux) and vocalist Donna Godchaux (born August 22, 1947, in San Francisco, Calif.; wife of band member Keith Godchaux; left band shortly after husbands death in 1980); Keith Godchaux was replaced by keyboardist Brent Mydland (died July 26, 1990 of a morphine and cocaine overdose); Mydland was replaced in 1990 by Vince Welnick.

Addresses: Office P.O. Box 1566, Main Office Station, Montclair, NJ 07043.

movement in the mid-1960sthe Dead became the house band for Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters parties at the authors pad in La Honda (documented in Tom Wolfes The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test book).

The bands influences were not other musicians, but rather the Beat Generation writers, including Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and the infamous LSD chemist Owsley Stanley, who encouraged the Dead to experiment freely with the then-legal drug and extremely loud volumes of music (at one point the Deads arsenal included twenty-three tons of equipment!) Garcia and company were the hippie band, playing music for getting stoned, seeing God, dancing, singing along, blowing bubbles, mellowing out, or whatever, wrote Jon Sievert in Guitar Player, good-time music without rock star pretensions.

In 1967 they added a second drummer, Mickey Hart, and signed a record contract with Warner Bros. Their debut LP, Grateful Dead, was recorded in Los Angeles in a mere three days. Its hurried sound prompted the band to slow down and experiment with various studio techniques on their follow-up, Anthem Of The Sun. We were thinking more in terms of a whole record, and we were also interested in doing something that was far out, Garcia said in The Rolling Stone Interviews. For our own amusementthat thing of being able to do a record and really go away with itreally lose yourself. The Dead went a little overboard on their third album, Aoxomoxoa, which was, as Garcia continued in Interviews, Too far out, really, for most people.

Their forte has been, and continues to be, live performances which free the band to explore and improvise on blues, jazz, rock and country genres in a very loose setting without the use of set lists. They are essentially a live band, the masters of the vibe, the electrical flow between them and their audiences, stated Rock 100. The Dead, it has been said play their audience, and their performances are studies in synergy and the dynamics of sounds massing tension in titanic jams until the ballroom seems ready to explode, and then cooling everything out at that breathtaking moment with a trickling steel guitar solo on a Merle Haggard shitkicker special.

The Dead encourage their fans, known affectionately as Deadheads, to freely record their concerts, which are of marathon length and sometimes include hourlong instrument tunings. We have an audience which allows us to be formless. The Grateful Dead can go into any venue and play anything, and the audience will have experienced the Grateful Dead show, Garcia told Rolling Stones Fred Goodman. The audience has allowed us that luxury.

The Deadheads allegiance is almost as phenomenal as the band itself. The club formed in 1971 and has grown to such large proportions that it now includes The Deadhead Hour radio show, the Golden Road fan magazine, and two 24-hour phone lines that constantly report concert dates. I couldnt hold down a full-time job and do this, one Deadhead stated in Rolling Stone. The Dead tour eight months out of the year. I think our greatest appeal is to somebody whos a bright kid, in late high school or college, Dead lyricist John Barlow told Rolling Stone. There arent any initiations or requirements or membership tests or anything else to become a Deadhead; you just have to like it and feel like youre part of it, and then youre a brother to them all.

After 1970s Live Dead, which included the two Dead classics Dark Star and St. Stephens, the band went back to their roots with an emphasis on vocals for a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young-style folk flavor on Workingmans Dead. During the recording the group endured a sticky situation when Mickey Harts father was fired for embezzlement of band funds. American Beauty, from the same year, was also vocal-oriented and recorded with very simple studio techniques. The LP included one of their signature tunes, Truckin, and was followed by their first gold LP, The Grateful Dead, in 1971. A year later they recorded the live three-record Europe 72.

The Dead lost one of their key members in 1973 when Ron Pigpen McKernan died of a liver ailment after a long history of substance abuse. The band issued a compilation LP in his honor, and then formed their own label and began working on Wake Of The Flood with new members Keith Godchaux and his wife Donna. Tragedy has continued to haunt the bands keyboardists: Keith himself was killed in a 1980 auto accident (Donna Godchaux left the band shortly after her husbands death) and his replacement, Brent Mydland, died as a result of a drug overdose in 1990. Mydland was replaced by former Tubes keyboardist Vince Welnick.

Weir played with both the Dead and Kingfish for the next few years and Garcia worked on various other projects as the band shifted directions for 1975s Blues For Allah. Ive always been happy with our albums but Ive rarely listened to them after theyre finished, Lesh said in Rolling Stone. This ones different. It indicates a new point of departure for our music. We wanted to free ourselves from our own cliches, to search for new tonalities, new structures and modalities. They recorded one more LP on the Grateful Dead label before signing with Arista and releasing Terrapin Station and Shakedown Street, both of which smacked more of contemporary marketing than the usual Dead punch. Shakedown Street was produced by twits and plumbers, Hart told Rolling Stone, it was a shame and a travesty.

After 1980s Go To Heaven, the Dead took an eight-year hiatus from recording. Garcia delved heavily into cocaine and heroin in the meantime, resulting in an arrest in January of 1985. While performing in a backup band for Bob Dylan, Garcia collapsed into a diabetic coma following one of the shows and regained consciousness twenty-four hours later. By December 15, 1986, the Dead were back together and working on their highly acclaimed In The Dark LP. The arrangements are real, Garcia said in Guitar World. The mix is my understanding about how Grateful Dead music works Theres real structure to it, theres real architecture to it and theres real conversation, like in a string quartet, to it.

The Dead scored their first Top 10 single, Touch of Grey, which seemed to sum up Garcias brush with death and the future of his band: I will get by/I will survive. The Dead were suddenly being discovered by new audiences as their video So Far shot up the charts and they were trying to figure out ways to cope with their newfound success and popularity.

Im excited about it, and I have misgivings, said Robert Hunter, longtime Dead lyricist and Army pal of Garcia, in Rolling Stone. I would like the world to know about the Grateful Dead; its a phenomenal band. But I dont think the Grateful Dead is going to be as free a thing as it was. Thats the devil we pay.

Selected discography

On Warner Bros. Records

Grateful Dead, 1967.

Anthem of the Sun, 1968.

Aoxomoxoa, 1969.

Live Dead, 1970.

Workingmans Dead, 1970.

American Beauty, 1970.

The Grateful Dead, 1971.

Europe 72, 1972.

Bears Choice: History of the Grateful Dead, Volume 1, 1973.

Best of the Grateful DeadSkeletons From the Closet, 1974.

What a Long Strange Trip Its Been: The Best of the Grateful Dead, 1977.

On Grateful Dead Records

Wake of the Flood, 1973.

From Mars Hotel, 1974.

Blues for Allah, 1975.

Steal Your Face, 1976.

On Arista Records

Terrapin Station, 1977.

Shakedown Street, 1978.

Go To Heaven, 1980.

Dead Set (live 2-record set), 1981.

Reckoning, 1986.

In The Dark, 1987.

The Dead Zone: The Grateful Dead CD Collection, 1977-1987 (available on compact disc only; six-CD set contains six digitally remastered albums: Terrapin Station, Shakedown Street, Go To Heaven, In the Dark, Reckoning, and Dead Set ), 1987.

Built To Last, 1989.

Without a Net, (double live album), 1990.



down beat, November 1987.

Guitar Player, November 1977; October 1978; August 1981; October 1987; July 1988; June 1989.

Guitar World, November 1985; December 1987.

Musician, September 1987.

Rolling Stone, November 6, 1975; February 26, 1976; May 6, 1976; June 16, 1977; October 6, 1977; April 20, 1978; March 8, 1979; August 28, 1986; July 16-30, 1987; August 13, 1987; November 30, 1989.

Rolling Stones College Papers, Winter, 1980.


Dalton, David, and Lenny Kaye, Rock 100, Grosset & Dunlap, 1977.

The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll, edited by Jim Miller, Random House/Rolling Stone Press, 1976.

The Rolling Stone Interviews, 1967-1980, by the editors of Rolling Stone, St. Martins Press/Rolling Stone Press, 1981.

The Rolling Stone Record Guide, edited by Dave Marsh with Jim Swenson, Random House/Rolling Stone Press, 1979.

Calen D. Stone

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Grateful Dead, The

The Grateful Dead, American rock music group formed in 1965 by guitarists Jerry Garcia, 1942–95, and Bob Weir, 1947–, harmonica player Ron Pigpen McKernan, 1945–73, bassist Phil Lesh, 1940–, and drummer Bill Kreutzmann, 1946–; later members included keyboardists Keith Godchaux, 1947–80, and Brent Mydland, 1953–90, and, on and off, drummer Mickey Hart, 1950–. One of the formative acid-rock bands, the Grateful Dead became known in San Francisco as the house band for author Ken Kesey's LSD "Acid Tests." They altered rock music by incorporating into their sound elements of country music, bluegrass, and blues. The band's most important recordings (Anthem for the Sun, 1968; Workingman's Dead, 1970; American Beauty, 1971) were made before 1972; thereafter they sustained their reputation through extensive concert tours. The remaining members of the Grateful Dead disbanded in 1995 following Garcia's death, but toured as the Other Ones in 2002 and as, simply, the Dead (with the addition of Jimmy Herring) beginning in 2003. The group is also noted for their ardent fans, or "Deadheads," who strive to preserve the communitarian spirit associated with the band's origins in the 1960s counterculture.

See R. Greenfield, Dark Star: An Oral Biography of Jerry Garcia (1996); C. Brightman, Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead's American Adventure (1999); B. Jackson, Garcia: An American Life (1999); S. Peters, What a Long, Strange Trip (1999); R. G. Adams, ed., Deadhead Social Science (2000); D. McNally, A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead (2002); P. Lesh, Searching for the Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead (2005).

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