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LIFE The Grateful Dead

LIFE The Grateful Dead

LIFE The Grateful Dead

Psychedelic. Experimental. Counterculture. Poetic. Communal. Free. The adjectives used to describe the Grateful Dead could fill a small thesaurus and still never capture the quicksilver essence of a rule-defying rock group that never goes out of style. With a forward by lyricist Robert Hunter and rare archival photos, this special edition, ‘The Grateful Dead: Along the Golden Road,’ brought to you by editors at LIFE, pays tribute to one of the most beloved bands in American music history. Revisit “The Grateful Dead, Family and Friends.” Drop back in on “The Scene” that was to go beyond music to create a lifestyle for a community of millions. Listen in on the intimate recollections of Robert Hunter, David Nelson, Herb Greene, and Grace Slick. Last, consider just how this music seems to transcend even death in “Afterlife,” a moving look at the legacy and longevity of this music so dedicated to peace and the people for whom it was made.

Land:
United States
Sprache:
English
Verlag:
Meredith Corporation
Erscheinungsweise:
One-off
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5 Min.
not fade away

Among the recent interesting facts about the Grateful Dead—and in the nearly 55 years since the band began its quixotic, improbable and extravagantly unique existence there have been far too many interesting facts to enumerate—is that on April 13, 2019, the 12th annual Record Store Day in the United States, the band had the best-selling exclusive release in the country. Twenty-three years removed from their last performance, the Dead, with the issuing of an album that captures a pair of shows from 1980, beat out new releases from a range that included Prince, Green Day, Bob Dylan, Greta Van Fleet and dozens of others. Interesting, indeed, but not, on its face, surprising. Record Store Day, which caters to devotees of vinyl and CD albums, is an event for enthusiasts and…

3 Min.
robert hunter remembers

I’ve never seen a film nor read an article that successfully described the ’60s as I personally lived them. The music of the day can bring bits back momentarily, mental flashes of what I was doing when certain songs ruled radio—the sound of the music rather than the content of the lyrics. The Angels singing “My Boyfriend’s Back” between updates concerning Kennedy’s murder as I drove my delivery route through Berkeley, sidewalks filled with shocked faces … or “Like a Rolling Stone” in ’65, when I was billeted for a week in a high school gym in Watts, my National Guard unit called up to contain the riots there—riding through town in a five-ton truck, top down with fixed bayonets … the Fillmore Acid Test with the Grateful Dead strumming…

13 Min.
the scene

You might recall Blue Cheer, a heavy metal band. You probably don’t remember the Mystery Trend or the Harbinger Complex. You certainly know of Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Steve Miller Band and Country Joe & the Fish and Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks. Historians among you know whereof we speak when we refer to the Great! Society and the Ace of Cups, the former of which featured the Slicks (Grace; her husband, Jerry; and Darby, Jerry’s brother) and the latter of which was one of the first-ever all female American rock bands to be offered a recording deal. And then, of course, there were the Airplane, the Charlatans, Big Brother & the Holding Company … and the Grateful Dead. There was no betting on the Dead early on. As…

10 Min.
david nelson remembers

“I grew up on the Peninsula in a white suburban community where you really had to dig for this music—old American folk music—that I avidly loved,” says Nelson, who is 76 and still lives in northern California, in the Mendocino County town of Ukiah. “But we had Berkeley, and I’d get on a bus and come back from Berkeley with piles and piles of records: Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe. “I really wanted a guitar and my parents got me a pedal steel. What was this? It was lying down flat.” If he masked his disappointment from his folks, he nonetheless wanted to get his fingers on the frets of what he thought of as the real deal: a conventional acoustic guitar. “I was friends with Peter Albin,” he says of the boy…

16 Min.
dawn and day of the dead

It got going pretty quickly, not that anyone on the inside particularly noticed. They had the first, eponymous album in ’67. Then the next year’s Anthem of the Sun and 1969’s Aoxomoxoa tried to blend in the live experience that, the Dead seemed to know instinctively, would be their calling card, even if “Casey Jones” and “Uncle John’s Band” and “Truckin’” and “Ripple” were yet to come. And yet still, on the game-changing Live/Dead album, also issued in 1969, the credits are charming, very much Amateur Hour: “Lyrics: Robert Hunter/Tunes: Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh.” Tunes? A “Consulting Engineer” was “Owsley,” who we all know was Owsley Stanley, also known as Bear, who was active in the Bay Area as an LSD “cook” and became the Dead’s energizer bunny of choice. Under “Sound”…

9 Min.
herb greene remembers

Great photographers and journalists gravitate to great events: It’s their job as well as their reason for living. Sometimes—and this is serendipity—great photographers find themselves in the midst of events that hardly seem great in the moment but that are fun and interesting and worth shooting. Millions of frames have been lost to dust because such events prove to be, at day’s end, little more than fun and ephemeral—worth recording in the instant but interesting to no one down the road. And then there are the blessed surprises. By the time other photogs started arriving in San Francisco and opening their lenses in the 1960s, San Francisco was already happening. But earlier, when Herb Greene shot the Warlocks, there was certainly no telling that those pictures might be treasures five weeks later,…