Fans of rock music know the Grateful Dead. For better or worse, love them or hate them, the Grateful Dead were an important and constant force in rock music from the late 1960s through the mid-1990s.
The Grateful Dead formed in San Francisco, California in 1965. For years, a core group of musicians featuring Jerry Garcia on guitar and vocals, Bob Weir also on guitar and vocals, Phil Lesh on bass and vocals, Bill Kreutzmann on drums, and Mickey Hart also on drums, made music inspired by rock, folks, blues, and R & B, among other influences. Original member of the band, keyboardist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan died in 1972, to be followed by Keith Godchaux on keys. Godchaux’s wife Donna joined the band on addition vocals. Brent Myland took over on keys and vocals when Keith and Donna left the band in 1979. Other part time musicians with the group featured Vince Welnick and Bruce Hornsby. In addition Robert Hunter, the bands lyricist, was always considered a member of the group.
The surviving members of the band, including Weir, Lesh, Kreutzmann, Hart, and Hornsby joined with other musicians to play a series of 50th anniversary shows in the summer of 2015.
Some people have no time for the long, drawn out jams that the band performed live and disliked the counter-culture elements of their hippie aesthetic. Others loved them, quit schools and jobs and followed the band from city to city proclaiming “there is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert!”
Find out more about the band with the books below.
Living with the Dead: Twenty Years on the Bus with Garcia and the Grateful Dead
An original manager of the Grateful Dead rock band reminisces about the group’s evolution from folk revivalists to concert rockers. With humor and insight, he recreates twenty years of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, and describes the various members of the Dead, primarily Jerry Garcia. Strong language. 1996.
Searching for the Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead
Bassist for the Grateful Dead who joined the band in 1965 details the evolution of the group led by Jerry Garcia. Describes the concert tours, fanatic Dead Head fans, and the financial and drug problems that plagued the musicians. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2005.