The Grateful Dead was a rock band that formed in 1965 in San Francisco, California, United States from the remnants of another band, “Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions,” The Grateful Dead were known for their unique and eclectic songwriting style which fused elements of rock, folk music, bluegrass, blues, country, and jazz, and also for live performances of long modal jams. The group disbanded immediately after the death of singer/guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995, although the surviving band members have since performed together under a number of other names, including The Other Ones, The Dead, Furthur, Dead & Company, and others.
The Grateful Dead consisted of: Jerry Garcia (vocals, guitar; 1965-1995), Bob Weir (guitar, vocals; 1965-1995), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals; 1965-1995), Bill Kreutzmann (drums, 1965-1995), Mickey Hart (drums; 1965-1970, 1974-1995), Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (keyboards, organ, harmonica, vocals; 1965-1972), Tom Constanten (piano; 1968-1970), Keith Godchaux (keyboards; 1971-1979), Donna Jean Godchaux (vocals; 1971-1979), Brent Mydland (keyboards, vocals; 1979-1990), Bruce Hornsby (keyboards; 1990-1992) and Vince Welnick (keyboards; 1990-1995). All of these members, with the exception of Hornsby (who was their induction presenter), were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Lyricist Robert Hunter – who wrote many of the band’s songs – is often considered to be an unofficial member of the band and was also inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of the band.
Some fans followed them from concert to concert for years. These “Deadheads” were renowned for their dedication to the band’s music. Many followers referred to the band simply as The Dead.
The Grateful Dead, known then as the Warlocks, became the de facto resident band of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, with the early sound heavily influenced by Kesey’s LSD-soaked Acid Tests. Their musical influences varied widely with input from the psychedelic music of the era, combined with blues, jazz, rock and roll, and bluegrass. These various influences were distilled into a diverse and psychedelic whole that made the Grateful Dead “the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world.”
One of the most notable things about the Grateful Dead is their duration. They were together for thirty years, stopping only upon the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995. Their output, comprised mainly of a vast number of recorded concerts, is unmatched by any other band.
The music of the Grateful Dead lives on through many tribute bands as well as projects of the rest of the band. These remaining members did perform together for a while as The Other Ones and later on as The Dead. As The Other Ones, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzman, Warren Haynes (Govt Mule), and Jeff Chimenti (Ratdog), began touring in the spring of 2009. The Dead’s music continues today as Phil Lesh and Friends and Ratdog (Bob Weir solo). Phil Lesh and Bob Weir formed the band Furthur in 2009 and also went touring.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Grateful Dead, four original members — Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir — reunited for final performances together at Chicago’s Soldier Field. “Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead” took place over three nights on July 3, 4, and 5, 2015. The band was joined by Trey Anastasio (guitar), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), and Bruce Hornsby (piano). Read more on Last.fm.
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tags: classic rock, Psychedelic Rock, psychedelic, Jam
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