Grateful Deadwas a famous American rock band which was formed in 1965 in San Francisco., California. They had a unique way with electric guitars and combined folk, rock, bluegrass, blues, country, jazz, psychedelia, space music, and gospel. Their fans who followed them around for years from concert to concert were known as “Deadheads”. They began playing at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, California. The group was first called the Warlocks. They had to change the name because another band was already recording under that name. They could not get a contract unless they changed their name. They were managed by Hank harrison in the beginning, then switched to Rock Scully. They moved to San Francisco. Other bands from this area were Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver messenger Service, Big Brother & the Holding Company, and Santana. This made San Francisco the center for hippie counterculture of the era. The members of the band included Jerry Garcia (guitar and banjo), Pigpen, Phil Lesh, and Bill Kreutzmann (drummer).
They got their name for their group out of the dictionary. The members of the band saw themselves as all equal but Jerry Garcia was the one seen most by the public and talking to the media. The media referred to him as their primary spokesperson but he did not see it that way. He felt that they were equal. Jerry Garcia is a native of San Francisco and grew up in the Excelsior District. Bluegrass music was one of his main influences and he enjoyed performing on the banjo. He also loved playing the pedal steel guitar in the bluegrass band, Old, and also in , Way, with David Grisman. Phil Lesh played the bass guitar, Bob Weir played rhythm guitar, Ron (pigpen) McKernan played keyboard and harmonica .and was also the lead singer until his death in 1873. Pigpen died at the young age of 27. They all shared in the singing of the songs. A second drummer came into the band in 1967. His name was Micky hart and he was from New York. Hart quit the group in 1971. Mickey rejoined the group in 1975 and stayed with them this time. Tom Constanten , another keyboard player, joined the group in 1968 and stayed until 1970. In 1972, Keith Godchaux joined them in 1971 as another keyboard player and Keith;s wife joined in 1972 as a backup vocalist. The group had a Europe tour in 1972 and shortly after this Pigpen’s health began to fail him so he could no longer tour with the group.
Over the next years there were other changes in the band members list and the band had a total of eleven members over the years. The members had drug problems but the Grateful dead was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
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