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Grateful Dead

1965-1995
Jerry Garcia(guitar, vocals)1965-1995
Bob Weir(guitar, vocals)1965-1995
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan(keyboards, harmonica, vocals)1965-1972
Phil Lesh(bass, vocals)1965-1995
Bill Kreutzmann(drums)1965-1995
Mickey Hart(percussion, drums)1967-1970; 1974-1995
Tom Constanten(keyboards)1968-1970
Keith Godchaux(keyboards)1971-1979
Donna Godchaux(vocals)1971-1979
Brent Mydland(keyboards)1979-1990
Vince Welnick(keyboards)1990-1995

Artistfacts for Grateful Dead

  • Ben & Jerry's has an ice cream flavor called Cherry Garcia, named after their guitarist. Garcia donated the royalties to his favorite charities. Garcia also had lines of shirts and ties. His ties have been seen on people as influential as Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
  • The name Grateful Dead refers to a motif in English (and other cultures') folktales and ballads in which a poor traveler spends his last coin to pay for the proper burial of a pauper, and is later rewarded for his good deed by some creature or person that reveals itself to be the spirit of the "grateful dead." (thanks, Gwyn - Fairfax, VA)
  • While on tour with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in 1986, Garcia fell into a diabetic coma. He was in the process of recovering from drug addiction. The coma lasted five days.
  • The Dead were into preserving the world's rainforests. Some of them went so far as to purchase a jungle in Costa Rica. They were going to try to make chewing gum from the rubber trees.
  • Hart and Kreutzmann composed percussion-heavy music for the Apocalypse Now soundtrack in 1979.
  • Garcia died in his room at Serenity Knolls, a treatment facility in Forest Hills, California. He was there battling his heroin addiction and died of a heart attack. His death marked the end of the Grateful Dead.
  • There were sections at Dead shows specifically designed for the hearing impaired. They were seated next to the speakers and given a person to translate the lyrics into sign language.
  • At the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, the Dead played a set in between The Who and Jimi Hendrix. They also played at Woodstock on the second day between Canned Heat and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
  • The Godchaux's were husband and wife. Keith had been Dave Mason's piano player. They were asked to leave in 1979.
  • Hart was kicked out his High School band because his teacher didn't think he could keep a beat.
  • Kreutzmann loves diving and has filmed a fifty-minute documentary called Ocean Spirit.
  • Garcia designed a suite at the Beverly Hills Pescott Hotel. The room features his paintings, pillows, bathrobes and towels.
  • The fans of the Grateful Dead are known as Deadheads, and have often been called the best fans in rock n' roll. They frequently followed the Dead from town to town, attempting to see as many shows as possible. They usually wore tie dyed clothing and would also engage in the use of many illegal substances.
  • Garcia was in the army for nine months in 1959 before meeting longtime collaborator Robert Hunter in Palo Alto.
  • Pigpen, Weir, and Garcia were members of Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions in 1964. Also in the band were John Dawson (New Riders of the Purple Sage) and Bob Matthews, later a Dead engineer and founder of Alembic Electronics.
  • As the Warlocks, the band were the house band for Ken Kesey's Acid Tests. These were public LSD parties held before the drug was outlawed.
  • They have lost 3 keyboard players. McKernan died of cirrhosis, Godchaux was killed in a car accident (The Dead fired him a year earlier), and Mydland died of a drug overdose.
  • By the end of the 1960s, the Grateful Dead owed Warner Brothers $100,000 for studio time. Their first three albums were not commercially successful.
  • Pigpen's last show with the band was at the Hollywood Bowl on June 17, 1972. He died of liver disease a year later.
  • Welnick was a member of the Tubes. Sometimes, Bruce Hornsby would sit in on piano during concerts.
  • Starting in 1984, they let fans tape their shows, which made them a lot more popular. They did it because the bootleggers that gathered in front of the soundboard drove the audio engineer nuts.
  • They got very little radio play and did not sell many albums, but they are one of the top-grossing concert acts of all time.
  • The band was friends with Lithuanian basketball player Sarunas Marciulionis, and when the Lithuanian team needed money to play in the 1992 Olympics, The Dead helped them out. Lithuania won the bronze and wore tie-dyed uniforms on the podium to repay the favor.
  • The name "Grateful Dead" was chosen from the dictionary. Some claim it was a Funk & Wagnalls, others, the Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book Of the Dead), but according to Phil Lesh in his biography (page 62), "Jer (Garcia) picked up an old Britannica World Language Dictionary... in that silvery elf-voice he said to me, 'Hey, man, how about the Grateful Dead?'" The definition there was "A song meant to show a lost soul to the other side." (thanks, max - virginia beach, VA)
  • When The Dead were touring with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers in 1986, Garcia was recovering from drug addiction and fell into a diabetic coma for 5 days.
  • The sound system they set up for shows was called "The Wall Of Sound." It was a huge array of speakers and amplifiers that required 4 trucks to transport. There were 2 copies of The Wall, as one would travel to the next show while the other was in use. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • Throughout their career the Grateful Dead played 317 cover songs and 184 original tunes. (thanks, Paul - Freeland, PA)
  • They performed a quickly arranged concert the night before the 2008 Super Tuesday primaries in support of Barack Obama. The Deadheads For Obama concert was the band's first show since their 2004 reunion tour. According to Phil Lesh, it was the first time they've ever performed at a political rally. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
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Comments: 38

Excuse me Big J, but are you suggesting the sublime wrote that song?Ashes - Durango , Co
One afternoon while roofing a home in San Jose, CA, I was listening to KSFO or what radio carried the sports in N CA, and they had a live pregame show from Cobo Hall in Detroit. The host was interviewing Warrior head coach Don Nelson. Something sounded a bit funny, so I started paying attention as the two seemed to be dancing around something. Little hints. Facts came out. The Grateful Dead had played the night before, and the touring Warriors had been invited to see the show as backstage guests of the band. They went, and uh, Don thought that they had a good time, but wasn't sure how they'd play this evening. The hall still reeked of some sort of burned weed or something. Don and the host were chuckling. I was laughing my ass off. Almost fell off the roof. I choose to believe that this was the beginning of the Warriors-Grateful Dead relationship that included the Lithuania Olympic basketball jerseys. As a supporter of public TV, I got a "Free" Lithuania basketball logo'd t-shirt. I had hoped to get it signed by Sarunas, but never had the chance, until I saw that the HardRock Cafe in S.F. was Hanging team jerzsey #1 GARCIA on the wall at noon, about 3 or 4 yrs. later. Sarunas would be there. I walked off the job, went home, got the shirt and headede up to The Hard Rock Van Ness. I got there just as the ceremony started. Boby Weir and Micky were there, along with Don Nelson Jr., Sarunas, Chris Mullen, and Bill Walton. I got all of htem to sign the shirt, and a guy from Liquid Blue t-shirts gave me a free shirt with embroidered dancing bears on the left breast. that shirt was signed just by Boby and Mickey. What a treat. Thank you all, and thank you Jerry, wherever you are. Peace to all,
Dizz Quixote
Dizz Quixote - Medford, Or
I have a grateful dead ring that i have had for over 20 years, it is the skull with roses head. inside is a stamp with G&S imprinted as well as a symbol of what looks kind of like an @ with 86 beside of it could someone please tell me if they know anything about it and if it is valuable? thanksMatthew - Accident, Md
At Woodstock, the Grateful Dead actually performed after Mountain (w/ Leslie West), not Canned Heat.Barry - New York, Nc
the grateful dead is my life. even though they broke up three years after i was born i still call myself a deadhead. jerry in my opinion is the best guitar player ever. his musics paints pictures even more elaborate than van gough.(with a little help from lsd). robert hunter is the greatest song writter and he deserves more credit. some sources of info on the dead dont even list him as a member. but jerry did say "robert hunter is like the band member that doesnt come on stage" but not in those exact words....
thanxs
peace.love.GD
Josh - Jamesville, Ny
Garcia's heart-attack was induced by sleep apnea, which has nothing to do with heroin.Kyle Patrick - New Carlisle, In
one of the most amazing things about the grateful dead is the radical departure from the music on their first album to their second.
i believe that no where in history did any artist or group of artists acheive anything as phenomenal as this.
i just loved their first album and a year later when anthem came out it went right over my head for about two weeks and then i really heard it.
understanding that record advanced my musical intelligence about 5 years!
they did it again with live dead and working man's dead. peace
Norm - Paterson, Nj
My dad told me that they set up college trust funds for all their roadies' kids. I thought that was pretty damn cool of them, if it's true. Can anyone confirm?Jim - Toledo, Oh
Shakedown street is my favorite Grateful Dead song ever! It refers to the fans known as deadheads who follow the band all over. They have to make a living somehow so they sell there wares out on shakedown street. You could find anything you wanted: drugs, jewelry, food, clothes, mainly drugs. "Nothing's shaking on shakedown street/ used to be the heart of town/ don't tell me this town aint got no heart/ you just got to poke around." That translates to "don't sweat it man, just cuz it's not right in front of your face doesn't mean it's not there!" Thanks for letting me rant!Danci - Treetown, Ok
vince welnick just died too, 4th dead keyboarder to die.John - Hampton, Nh
The Grateful Dead sponsored the 1992 Olympic Lithuanian National Basketball team, who won the bronze medal. The team sported tie-dye warm-ups and jearseys for the Olympic Games. The Dead also donated thousands of dollars to children's charities in Lithuania.Kelsey - Birmingham, Al
even though i was just a kid when jerry died, i still remembered that day, august 9, 1995, in the car on the way to the store. great band, always, the music goes with my mood all the time (being hippie) and also, great concert footage. got live in winderland, new year's and it's great how they just played and created a "culture" worth saving. i salute all deadheads (including me, lol)!!Sara Mackenzie - Middle Of Nowhere, Fl
Warren Haynes is awesome. I saw him permorm with the Allman brothers a wer weeks ago.Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
Alright, that Don dude made me a little sad. I'm not a true Deadhead, but they rock. Not only the music but good things they did and the way they were. i love those guys and do not see the love that that preached overrated at all. Peace and love to everyone, even Don.Darrell - Kalkaska, Mi
They didn't break up Warren Haynes replaced Garcia if I remember correctley.Noel - Dublin, Ireland
The years from 1990-1994 were my "Dead" years, as I hung out with dead heads, tape heads (concert music collectors), and a few spinners (spinning dancers at concerts). I still own about 30 shows on tape. The two shows I went to will never be forgotten. Good times, great friends.James - Windsor, Ca
Hey did you know thta the grateful dead were going to name themselves Mithical Ithical Icical Tricical, but then Jerry found a dictionary and when he opened it up the first thing he saw was the term "Grateful Dead". The band didn't really choose to keep that name, they didn't even like the name. But for some reason people just started calling them that and the name just stuck with them. And you did know that jerrys father died but did you know that he died right in front of jerrys eyes. Take that to the person that said that jerrys dad died.Roscoe - Lake Bluff, Il
Hey man, I'm from San Francisco. The Dead is a great band. Come on, they're just a bunch of guys who just like music.Jason - San Francisco, Ca
Did you know Jerry Garcias dad died in a fishing accident and his brother chopped of Jerrys index finger on his right hand witha a hatchet and he went into a coma and had to relearn how to play the guitar in the 60's and the way he learned was buy looking at other guitaritsts fingers and he started playing piano when he was 3 buit quit at 6 when his dad died and then he got his first guitar at a pawn shop, it was a Dan Electro.Alex - Farmington, Nm
Aug. 9, 1995 forever changed my life. That was the day the music died. Jerry you are so missed.Celeste - Drexel Hill, Pa
Saw the Dead open for the Iron Butterfly in Kansas City, KS back somewhere in '68, said hi to Jerry and got his signature, Pigpen stole the show with his rap and harp blowing on "Lovelight"etc, TC was playing keyboards too that night. Don't remember much about the Butterfly's set that night, and by the way Peter, where is Kansas City, Nebraska, I know of one in MO and KS and even the old Max's KC in NYC but NE?Rudolpho - Waverly, Mo
Such a classic band...I guess I gotta love 'em.Grace - Liverpool, United States
Yay W! The commentor, not the president.Kyle - Brooklyn, Ny
James,

The song is "Touch of Grey" and is on the "In the Dark" album.
Rasputin - Dtown, Pa
Does anyone know what song it was that had a music video of the entire band as mechanical skeletons playing a concert? i love that song, but i forget which song it is, and i know it was pretty popular at one pointJames - Des Moines, Ia
ummm, hate to burst your bubble Big J but The Grateful Dead was playing Scarlet Begonias while Brad Nowell was still wearing diapers
the lyrics were written by Robert Hunter
music by Jerry Garcia
just thought Id let you know
W - Roanoke, Va
For those of you who never saw a Garcia show- a quick recap - back in the mid-seventies, shows were more communal. Later on, 80's and 90's, they became way too popular to get a communal feeling from them. But Garcia still had a way of drawing those large audiences, like 20,000 people, to focus on what he was doing on stage at any particular time. I remember many times I wished I could've told him, "Jerry, pace yourself. Don't overdo it." But he lived to play guitar and share the message of brotherhood through his art. And like many great artists, he lived a short but brilliant life that left its mark in history.Pete - Emerson, Nj
i saw the dead play back in the early 90's for the 1st time, and also the last 3 shows of the flag tour2004. i recommend if u havent seen this band, quit your job/school and go to at least 10 shows next year, with a pocket full of "space supstance"... ill see u there, peace brothers (>")>Forrest - Mountains, Nc
I'm not old enough to have gone to a dead show with Jerry but I've seen them plenty without him and heard plenty with him and no band can touch what they have, like Graham said, "They're not the best at what they do, they're the only one's who do what they do." How the hell can you argue with one of the top grossing concert act of all time? You also cannot argue with a band that got a company to make the wall of sound for them or the fact that midi pickups were made because of the band's unique sound. Be Grateful that they were around (P.S. they've been around since 1965 ;)Sharif - Chicago, Il
No pummeling from me, but Bill Graham said it best: "The Grateful Dead aren't the best at what they do; they are the only ones that do what they do". They had a style that was truely unique and difficult for some people to understand. What other band could seamlessly slip a Marty Robbins song into the middle of a acid rock song. I loved it. Just my $.02Jim - San Clemente, Ca
I know some "DeadHead" freaks out there are gonna want to pummel me,but the Grateful Dead are one of the most overrated bands ever. Period. End of story. Maybe if you clear your heads, you'll ask yourself what the fuss is all about. You had to be gooned out of your mind to get into this band. That's probably what it's all been about. Peace.Don - Pittsburgh, Pa
dude i just saw the dead at alpine valley on the 24th of july, it was an amazing show, of course there was no jerry, but warren haynes was a great singer, i danced through the whole show! i dont remember it too much though, CLOUDY MIND!! but it was amazing they played china cat sunflower/ i know you rider and phil lesh said that he had one of the best memories ever at that concert when they went away for their encore, it took about 2 minutes for everyone in alpine valley to have their lighters up it was quite a sight man.....it was amazing to be there....it was a fun show! check out the setlist its all good too!Shawn - Milwaukee, Wi
grateful dead is the best band in the world! jerry is my favorite person from that band.i am a 12 year old deadhead!Peter - Kansas City, Ne
Bassist Phil Lesh now gives a short speech promoting organ donation after every show he plays, as part of any lineup including "The Dead" or Phil Lesh & Friends, because he fell victim to hepatitis C and had his life saved by a liver transplant in 1998.Gwyn - Fairfax, Va
"Never had such a good time in my life before
I'd like to have it one time more
One good ride from start to end
I'd like to take that ride again"

-- from "Might As Well"
Gwyn - Fairfax, Va
Best times ever had were at Dead showsBree - Sarasota, Fl
Scarlet begonias is good...not by the dead..but by the GREATEST BAND OF ALL TIME! sublime, who else?Big J - Long Beach, Ca
#1 Jam band!Ryan - Janesville, Wi