An influence on a huge part of the Psychedelic Rock world.
Also a huge influence on Grunge.
There are very few bands that can claim to be as cross genre as the Grateful Dead.
They got together in 1965 out of Palo Alto, California, amid the rise of counterculture of the 1960s.
The founding members were the guitarist/vocalist Jerry Garcia, the other guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir, keyboardist/harmonica player/vocalist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, bassist/vocalist Phil Lesh, and the Drummer Bill Kreutzmann.
They became known for their individual and eclectic style, which fused elements of Rock, with Folk, as well as Bluegrass, traditional Blues, bits of Reggae, some feel of Country, plus the improvisation of Jazz, Psychedelic Rock, and Space Rock, and for live performances of long musical improvisation.
"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".
Rolling Stone magazine ranked them 57th in the issue The Greatest Artists of all Time.
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and their Barton Hall Concert at Cornell University (May 8, 1977) was added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry.
The Grateful Dead have sold more than 35 million albums worldwide
Grateful Dead members had been various San Francisco bands together, before the Grateful Dead, 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. With the exception of McKernan, who died in 1973, the core of the band stayed together for its entire 30-year history.
Other longtime members of the band include;-
- Mickey Hart (drums 1967–1971, 1974–1995, 2015)
- Keith Godchaux (keyboards 1971–1979)
- Donna Godchaux (vocals 1972–1979)
- Brent Mydland (keyboards, vocals 1979–1990)
- Vince Welnick (keyboards 1990–1995). *Pianist Bruce Hornsby was a touring member from 1990 to 1992, as well as guesting with the band on occasion before and after.
Former members of the Grateful Dead, along with other musicians, toured as the Dead in 2003, 2004, and 2009 after touring as the Other Ones in 1998, 2000, and 2002. There are many contemporary incarnations of the Dead, with the most prominent touring acts being Furthur, Phil Lesh & Friends, Bob Weir & Ratdog, and the Rhythm Devils with drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. The group is slated to officially perform together again for their fiftieth anniversary.
Fans and enthusiasts of the Grateful Dead are commonly referred to as Dead Heads. While the origin of the term may be unclear, Dead Heads were made canon by the notice placed inside the Skull and Roses album by manager Jon McIntire:
"DEAD FREAKS UNITE
Who are you?
Where are you?
How are you?
send us your name and address and we'll keep you informed
Dead Heads PO Box 1065, San Rafael, California 94901."
Many of the Dead Heads would go on tour with the band. As a group, the Dead Heads were considered very mellow. "I'd rather work nine Grateful Dead concerts than one Oregon football game," Police Det. Rick Raynor said. "They don't get belligerent like they do at the games."
The Dead Heads, some of whom followed the band from concert to concert for years, were also closely associated with the Hippie movement and were seen as a form of institution in the culture of America for many years.
- 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)
- Without a Net (1990)