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The Grateful Dead (Encore Feature)

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From the 1960s until the 1995 death of guitarist, singer-songwriter Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead played roughly 2,300 long, free-form concerts that touched down on their own country-, blues and folk –tinged songs, and on a similarly wide range of cover versions. Along the way, they popularized the concept of the jam band, influencing thousands of songwriters and basement improvisers and earning themselves maybe the most loyal fans a rock band have ever had. Nearly as famous as the band itself were its legions of "Deadheads" — predominantly white men who have lovingly preserved the era that spawned the Dead by emulating their Summer of Love predecessors' philosophy and that period's accoutrements: tie-dye clothing, hallucinogenic drugs, and the Dead's music. These fans supported the band with an almost religious fervor, following the group around the country, trading tapes of live concerts (something the band allowed as long as it wasn't for profit, providing prime spots for tapers at shows), and providing a synergy between band and audience that was unique in rock. In true psychedelic style, the Grateful Dead preferred the moment to the artifact — but to keep those moments coming, the Dead evolved into a far-flung and smoothly run corporate enterprise that, for all its hippie trimmings, drew admiring profiles in the financial and mainstream press.

Read more: The Grateful Dead (Encore Feature)

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