The Grateful Dead

You can’t not think of psychedelic rock and not think of the Greatful Dead. The band is archetypical of the psychedelic theme, with tie-dye paraphernalia, the skulls and dancing bears, which can be seen decorating the bumpers of Dead Head’s with nostalgia for the Summer of Love everywhere. Their story began around 1960 in Palo Alto California, where head guitarist Jerry Garcia met the band’s future lyricist Robert Hunter. By 1964 he was a member of the future Greatful Dead with the rest of the members: Bob Weir, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, and longtime associates Bob Matthews (who engineered Dead albums and formed the Alembic Electronics equipment company) and John Dawson (later of New Riders of the Purple Sage). The band was called Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions and in 1965 it became The Warlocks. They eventually got the name Greatful Dead from Owsley’s LSD creation. It’s name was coined by an ancient Egyptian prayer. They were first signed by MGM in 1966 and then by Warner Bros. in 1967. Three of their albums got Warner Bros. out of debt: Alive/Dead, Workman’s dead, and American Beauty (my favorite song by them “Box of Rain” is on this one). They were often seen at LSD parties and performed in several concerts which people of the psychedelic culture flocked to. The Band took a Hiatus in the 70s and many of the band members went on to fulfill solo careers.


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