grateful dead

50 Years of The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead has the most devoted following of any rock band in history, but also has its fair share of detractors. Jim and Greg reexamine the legacy of The Grateful Dead as the band celebrates its 50th anniversary.

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The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead celebrated its 50th anniversary in July with a series of farewell shows at Soldier Field in Chicago. We're using that as an opportunity to reexamine the legacy of the controversial band. The Dead formed in the Bay Area in the 1960s and featured a core membership of guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, keyboardist Ron“Pigpen”McKernan, bassist Phil Lesh, drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, with important contributions from lyricist Robert Hunter. Though it was the prototypical "jam band," The Dead's sound was much more eclectic and harder to pin down than that sometimes derisive term indicates, incorporating free jazz, psychedelia, bluegrass, blues, early rock ‘n’ roll, and more.

The Dead built a community of devoted fans who would travel with the band from town to town, some of whom would tape the performances and share the recordings, which the band encouraged. Though Deadheads contend the true essence of the band was experienced in its experimental live shows, Jim has little patience for the erratic performances and instead prefers the band's early studio recordings. Greg argues that The Dead was a consistently great live band during its peak in the '70s, before drugs took their toll and the surprise 1987 chart hit "Touch of Grey" altered the fanbase. Garcia, who died in 1995, was an irreplaceable musical genius, and the band leaves behind a legacy of experimentation, eclecticism, and an unparalleled musical community.

reviewSummertime '06Summertime ‘06 available on iTunes

Vince Staples Summertime ‘06

The year 2015 has been a prosperous time for rap and hip hop, with Fetty Wap, Wiz Khalifa, A.$.A.P. Rocky, and Silento dominating the charts. However, a new and different kind of artist has emerged with the debut album Summertime '06 from California rapper, Vince Staples. An ode to growing up in his native Long Beach, Greg finds Staples to be very talented in both writing and articulating his perspective. He compares Summertime '06 to early works by gangster rappers like N.W.A. and likes how he gives a lens into a culture that no one else is really talking about right now. It's a Buy It from Greg. Jim agrees and says that gangster rap can easily become misogynistic and pro-violence sounding, but that's not really what Staples is interested in doing. Jim compares him to artists like Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, but wishes that Vince would write more about the sense of community and positivity in the neighborhoods like Kendrick and Chance do. However, he believes Staples is a very important voice and give Summertime '06 a Buy It.


Featured Songs

  1. Grateful Dead, Truckin', American Beauty, Warner Bros., 1970
  2. Grateful Dead, Box of Rain (Live), Fare Thee Well Show (07/03/15), N/A, 2015
  3. Grateful Dead, Mindbender (Confusion's Prince), Birth of the Dead, Rhino, 2003
  4. Grateful Dead, Beat It On Down the Line, The Grateful Dead, Warner Bros., 1967
  5. Grateful Dead, That's It for the Other One, Anthem of the Sun, Warner Bros., 1968
  6. Grateful Dead, Dark Star, Live/Dead, Warner Bros., 1969
  7. Grateful Dead, Dire Wolf, Workingman's Dead, Warner Bros., 1970
  8. Grateful Dead, Uncle John's Bands, Workingman's Dead, Warner Bros., 1970
  9. Grateful Dead, Box of Rain, American Beauty, Warner Bros., 1970
  10. Grateful Dead, Cumberland Blues, Europe '72, Warner Bros., 1972
  11. Grateful Dead, Turn On Your Lovelight, Dick's Picks Volume 4, Grateful Dead, 1996
  12. Grateful Dead, Dark Star, Road Trips Volume 4 Number 3, Rhino, 2011
  13. Grateful Dead, Terrapin Station, Terrapin Station, Arista, 1977
  14. Grateful Dead, Terrapin Station (Live), To Terrapin: Hartford '77, Rhino, 2009
  15. Grateful Dead, Feel Like a Stranger, Go to Heaven, Arista, 1980
  16. Grateful Dead, Touch of Grey, In the Dark, Arista, 1987
  17. Grateful Dead, Drums, Space (Live), Live at Soldier Field (07/09/95), N/A, 1995
  18. Grateful Dead, Brokedown Palace, American Beauty, Warner Bros., 1970
  19. Grateful Dead, Comes a Time, Live at War Memorial Auditorium (05/09/77), N/A, 1997
  20. Grateful Dead, Morning Dew, 30 Trips Around the Sun, Rhino, 2015
  21. Grateful Dead, Cold Rain and Snow, The Grateful Dead, Warner Bros., 1967
  22. Grateful Dead, Can't Come Down, Birth of the Dead, Rhino, 2003
  23. Grateful Dead, Casey Jones, Workingman's Dead, Warner Bros., 1970
  24. Grateful Dead, Sugar Magnolia, American Beauty, Warner Bros., 1970
  25. Grateful Dead, St. Stephen, Live/Dead, Warner Bros., 1969
  26. Grateful Dead, Viola Lee Blues, Dick's Picks Volume 8, Grateful Dead, 1997
  27. Vince Staples, Lift Me Up, Summertime '06, Def Jam Recordings, 2015
  28. Vince Staples, Summertime, Summertime '06, Def Jam Recordings, 2015
  29. The Weeknd, Can't Feel My Face, Can't Feel My Face (Single), Republic, 2015
  30. Lady Gaga, Telephone (Featuring Beyoncé), The Fame Monster, Interscope, 2009
  31. The Foo Fighters, Everlong (Acoustic), Greatest Hits, RCA, 2009
  32. Wilco, EKG, Star Wars, dBpm, 2015
  33. Wilco, Where Do I Begin, Star Wars, dBpm, 2015
  34. Brian Eno, Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Broken Head, After the Heat, Sky Records, 1978

Footnotes The Grateful Dead Dead 50 Greg's Fare Thee Well review Vince Staples