The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California…..which ranged mostly from quintet to septet….and is known for its eclectic style….which fused elements of rock, country, bluegrass, blues, gospel, folk, reggae, jazz, experimental music, psychedelia, and space rock for live performances of lengthy instrumental jams….and for their devoted fan base, known as “Deadheads”. Writer Lenny Kaye said of The Dead that “Their music 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”.
The band was ranked 57th by Rolling Stone magazine in its The Greatest Artists of All Time issue….and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994….whereby a recording of their May 8, 1977, performance at Cornell University’s Barton Hall was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2012. The Grateful Dead have sold more than 35 million albums worldwide.
The Grateful Dead was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area amid the rise of the counterculture of the 1960’s….known as the SEX, DRUGS and ROCK n ROLL generation. The founding members were Jerry Garcia (lead guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (rhythm guitar, vocals), Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (keyboards, harmonica, vocals), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals), and Bill Kreutzmann (drums).
After the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995….former members of the band….along with other musicians, toured as the Other Ones in 1998, 2000, and 2002, and the Dead in 2003, 2004, and 2009…..and in 2015, the four surviving core members marked the band’s 50th anniversary in a series of concerts that were billed as their last performances together.