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.
Bob Dylan wasn't exactly at the peak of his career when he released 'Dylan & the Dead,' a collaborative live album with the Grateful Dead, on Feb. 6, 1989. In fact, he was pretty close to the bottom of his popularity, influence and creativity. And another live album -- his third in 10 years -- certainly didn't help matters.
With the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead's formation coming up in 2015, Bob Weir is urging the group's surviving founding members to put aside their differences for some sort of commemorative event.
The Winterland Ballroom, where scores of memorable live albums and movies were recorded, went out in style on Dec. 31, 1978. The Grateful Dead headlined a farewell concert that stretched out for more than eight hours -- with Jerry Garcia and band playing a stunning six of them.
The Grateful Dead went three years between studio albums in the period leading up to 'Wake of the Flood.' Over that time, blues-soaked keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan had died, and his replacement, Keith Godchaux, would take the group into jazzier territory on the 1973 return.
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