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    Grateful Dead
Few bands can claim that to have inspired an entire subculture, but the Grateful Dead stand head and shoulders above the few who can. In its earliest incarnation, they were Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, founded by guitarist/vocalist Jerry Garcia with fellow guitarist Bob Weir and keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan. Along the way, the three hooked up with bassist Phil Lesh and drummer Bill Kreutzmann (and eventually, second skinsman Mickey Hart), and, as The Warlocks, found themselves acting as house band at the now legendary "acid tests" staged by Ken Kesey. In 1965, the band changed their name to The Grateful Dead, a name chosen arbitrarily from the dictionary by Garcia -- they eventually became one of the top draws on the burgeoning San Francisco psychedelic scene, due largely to the numerous free concerts they played throughout the Bay Area.

Though they were eventually signed to Warner Brothers, the band's first three releases -- 1967' Grateful Dead, 1968's Anthem of the Sun and 1969's Aoxomoxoa -- failed to capture the excitement of their live performances. Not surprisingly, it was 1969's live set, Live Dead that established them as a viable recording entity. They followed Live up with the 1970 classics Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, which featured a less psychedelic, more roots-influence sound -- they remain the band's studio peak.

The '70s were a time of personal and financial turmoil for the band -- the loss of Pigpen, the band's de facto frontman, was strongly felt (he was replaced by new keyboardist Keith Godchaux, with wife Donna in tow on back-up vocals), as was the temporary departure of Mickey Hart, and Jerry Garcia's increased dependency on drugs. Still, the band continued to record sporadically and tour rigorously until the early '80s, when Garcia's poor health (and a diabetic coma) threatened to end the band for good. By 1987, the band's fortunes had reversed; with the release of In The Dark, featuring the surprise MTV hit "Touch of Grey," the band enjoyed a resurgence of popularity with a new audience too young to have ever experienced free love. For the next 8 years, the Dead reached their greatest heights as a live band, soldiered on through the death of keyboardist Brent Mydland (who'd replaced Godchaux in 1979), and dealt with ever-increasing audience misconduct that demonized the band (and Deadheads in general) in the minds of Middle America. Garcia's death in 1995 was the effective end of the Grateful Dead, though the remaining members continue to tour with their own bands, and occasionally, as a collective called The Other Ones.
   
Grateful Dead The Music Never Stopped (Live) LiquidAudio Jambands
Oh, man, them's some SWEET sounds. Check out this tight, high-energy live version of the song whose title has come to represent the deep-seated feelings of broken-hearted Deadheads everywhere. The music lives on!

Grateful Dead Uncle John's Band (Live) LiquidAudio Jambands, Rock
Papa Jerry may be gone, but his sweet sounds live on on this Dead classic.


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