The Grateful Dead were San Francisco’s most representative rock band in the 1960s, when that city was at the center of a musical revolution. Combining an adventurous spirit that swung from one side of American music to another with a stage show that made their concerts a mind-altering experience unlike any other (all washed down with a large amount of drugs), the Dead’s influence and reputation far exceeded their mainstream popularity. They peaked in the early ‘70s with a pair of albums — ‘Workingman’s Dead’ and ‘American Beauty’ – that dug up old-school roots music for hippies. After that, they settled into a quarter-century career in which their records served as mere vehicles for the band’s onstage explorations of the music. By the ‘90s they had become one of the world’s biggest touring groups. Leader Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995 ended their long run.
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