A complete collection of annotated lyrics by the prolific rock band, published to coincide with their fiftieth anniversary, features literary, historical, and cultural references for every original song.
This book is another one of those late-night Grateful Dead inspired dorm room conversations with friends . . . only this time it’s your professors sitting cross-legged on the floor asking if anyone else wants to order a pizza. The Grateful Dead emerged from the San Francisco counter-culture movement of the late 1960s to become an American icon. Part of the reason they remain an institution four decades later is that they and their fans, the Deadheads, embody deviation from social, artistic, and industry norms. From the beginning, the Grateful Dead has represented rethinking what we do and how we do it. Their long, free-form jams stood in stark contrast to the three minute, radio friendly, formulaic rock that preceded them. Allowing their fans to tape and trade recordings of shows and distributing concert tickets themselves bucked the corporate control of popular music. The use of mind-altering chemicals questioned the nature of consciousness and reality. The practice of “touring,” following the band from city to city, living as modern day nomads presented a model distinct from the work-a-day option assumed by most in our corporate dominated culture. As a result, Deadheads are a quite introspective lot. The Grateful Dead and Philosophy contains essays from twenty professional philosophers whose love of the music and scene have led them to reflect on different philosophical questions that arise from the enigma that is the Grateful Dead. Coming from a variety of perspectives, ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, The Grateful Dead and Philosophy considers how the Grateful Dead fits into the broader trends of American thought running through pragmatism and the Beat poets, how the parking lot scene with its tie-dyed t-shirt and veggie burrito vendors was both a rejection and embrace of capitalism, and whether Jerry Garcia and the Buddha were more than just a couple of fat guys talking about peace. The lyrics of the Grateful Dead’s many songs are also the basis for several essays considering questions of fate and freedom, the nature-nurture debate, and gamblers’ ethics.
Released in 1970, Workingman's Dead was the breakthrough album for the Grateful Dead, a cold-water-shock departure from the Acid Test madness of the late '60s. It was the band's most commercially and critically successful release to date. More importantly, these songs established the blueprint for how the Dead would maintain and build upon a community held together by the core motivation of rejecting the status quo – the “straight life” – in order to live and work on their own terms. As a unified whole, the album's eight songs serve as points of entry into a fully-rendered portrait of the Grateful Dead within the context of late twentieth-century American history. These songs speak to the attendant cultural and political anxieties that resulted from the idealism of the '60s giving way to the uncomfortable realities of the '70s, and the band's evolving perspective on these changes. Based on research, interviews, and personal experience, this book probes the paradox at the heart of the band's appeal: the Grateful Dead were about much more than music, though they were really just about the music.
The Grateful Dead’s 100 Essential Songs examines the band’s remarkable musical legacy, delving into 100 songs (plus a few extras) performed by the Dead throughout their career. It includes a playlist of performance and studio recordings, as well as other song analyses and first-hand narratives of hundreds of Dead concerts.
This book examines the linkages between the music and message of the Grateful Dead and the Christian gospel. The Grateful Dead emerged from the San Francisco “hippie” scene in the late 1960s, and offered a message of community and divine encounter. While the Dead drew on the teachings of many spiritual traditions, the band’s ethos echoed quite powerfully the wisdom of Christian Scripture. This reflection examines the ways in which the Grateful Dead embodied Christian teachings in areas of community, praise, and service. The Grateful Dead left an enduring legacy, whose power and longevity stem in significant part from the confluence of values between the Gospel and Grateful Dead.
For almost three decades, the Grateful Dead was America's most popular touring band. No Simple Highway is the first book to ask the simple question of why—and attempt to answer it. Drawing on new research, interviews, and a fresh supply of material from the Grateful Dead archives, author Peter Richardson vividly recounts the Dead's colorful history, adding new insight into everything from the Acid Tests to the band's formation of their own record label to their massive late career success, while probing the riddle of the Dead's vast and durable appeal. Arguing that the band successfully tapped three powerful utopian ideals—for ecstasy, mobility, and community—it also shows how the Dead's lived experience with these ideals struck deep chords with two generations of American youth and continues today. Routinely caricatured by the mainstream media, the Grateful Dead are often portrayed as grizzled hippy throwbacks with a cult following of burned-out stoners. No Simple Highway corrects that impression, revealing them to be one of the most popular, versatile, and resilient music ensembles in the second half of the twentieth century. The band's history has been well-documented by insiders, but its unique and sustained appeal has yet to be explored fully. At last, this legendary American musical institution is given the serious and entertaining examination it richly deserves.
All Graceful Instruments: The Contexts of the Grateful Dead Phenomenon gathers thirteen representative essays from a wide array of fields into an interdisciplinary anthology that reveals the depth and extent of this fascinating, variegated cultural phenomenon. Contributors use the techniques of literary criticism, musicology, sociology, philosophy, business theory, and more to explore the meaning and significance of the music of the Grateful Dead, the implications of their artistic and commercial success, and the social dimensions of their following, the Deadheads. For scholars and students of American history and culture, this book makes a convincing case for why the Grateful Dead phenomenon is worthy of academic attention and what that study can offer. By focusing a wide array of critical approaches on a single, discrete subject, All Graceful Instruments provides a refreshing approach to interdisciplinary studies that should appeal to a wide audience.