The Grateful Dead was an American psychedelia-influenced rock band. Formed in 1965 in San Francisco from the remnants of another band, “Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions,” the Grateful Dead were known for their unique and eclectic songwriting style—which fused elements of rock, folk music, bluegrass, blues, country, and jazz—and for live performances of long modal jams.
Some of the band’s fans followed the band from concert to concert for years. These “Deadheads” were renowned for their dedication to the band’s music. Many followers referred to the band simply as The Dead.
The Grateful Dead became the de facto resident band of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, with the early sound heavily influenced by Kesey’s LSD-soaked Acid Tests, as well as rnb. Their musical influences varied widely with input from the psychedelic music of the era, combined with blues, jazz, rock and roll, and bluegrass. These various influences were distilled into a diverse and psychedelic whole that made the Grateful Dead “the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world.”
One of the most notable things about the existence of the Grateful Dead is the extent to which they were together as a band. They were a complete band for thirty years only being stopped by the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995. Their recorded output, with the vast number of concerts available as downloads as well as cds etc is probably unmatched by any other band in terms of quantity, although it is generally acknowledged that the quality is uneven. However their undoubted studio masterpiece, and the heart of their oeuvre is Aoxomoxoa, from 1969.
The music of the Grateful Dead lives on through many tribute bands and solo projects of the rest of the band. The reconciliation of the Dead’s music by its members most notably thrives today in Phil Lesh and Friends and Ratdog (Bob Weir solo) although the remaining members did still perform together for a while as The Other Ones and later on simply as The Dead.