It’s been 10 years this summer since Jerry Garcia’s
death, but the music of his group, the Grateful Dead, is alive and well
in cyberspace. Garcia’s winsome voice and soaring guitar jams were
so critical to the group’s sound, that after his death the band just toured
for a while as “The Other Ones.” Throughout their long strange trip,
faithful hordes of Deadheads followed them
from concert to concert, many recording them and later trading their recordings. The band came to accept and encourage the practice, which in turn helped spur the band’s popularity. In the early 2000's, Archive.org, which makes public domain and other free material available on the web, began to accept and catalog over 2800 concerts of the band (with the band’s permission), available at
At this site the concerts are arranged by year and date. The sound quality varies widely–the best are recorded from live radio concerts or off the sound crew’s sound board. Some fans prefer the crowd noise of the audience recordings, which captures more of the atmosphere of the events. (revision Nov, 2005--all the soundboards have been pulled, and only streaming allowed on the audience recordings. )
Because of the fans’ dedication, more than just their concerts are well preserved. If you ever attended a Grateful Dead concert, you can probably find out the date if you know the location, or vice versa, at this site: http://www.deadlists.com/default.asp Combine this
information with the archive site, and you can re-experience the concert audio.
If you ever wondered about the lyrics to a Grateful Dead song, they’re all referenced with which album or concerts they were performed at this site, http://www3.clearlight.com/~acsa/intro.htm If you click on the web master’s personal site, you learn that the fastidious fansite is the brain child of a distinguished British diplomat (not your stereotypical Deadhead). The site also has links to chords and tablature, in case you want to learn to play along... You can choose to see only the band’s 184 original songs, or find out which songwriters the Dead most liked to cover (Dylan 29, Beatles 15). If you want some theories of what the songs were about, try the annotated lyrics site: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/#songs
In their long journey from being the core band of psychedelic Hippiedom to becoming a touring juggernaut, the band lost other members besides Garcia. The first was Ron “Pig Pen” Mckernan, who contributed bluesy harmonica, vocals, and keyboards, and died of a bleeding stomach ulcer in 1972. Later keyboardists Keith Godchaux died in a car accident in 1980, and Brent Mydland died in 1990 of a drug overdose. When Jerry Garcia died of heart failure on August 9, 1995, he was in rehab trying to escape heroin addiction.
This site documents all the bands changes in personnel: http://www.thebestofwebsite.com/Bands/Grateful_Dead/Misc/Personnel_Table_Grateful_Dead.htm
There’s also the band’s official site (http://www.dead.net/), which keeps up reports on the individual members’ band tours, and sales of Grateful Dead related merchandise, including the best concert recordings, called “Dick’s Picks.” The remaining original members reformed into “The Dead” several years ago, but haven’t toured together for a couple years. A final sign of their enduring legacy is that Forbes magazine lists Jerry Garcia in the top 20 for dead celebrities, with an income of $5 million annually. But it isn’t his money, which he was always ambivalent about, but his music which will be his and the Dead’s enduring legacy.