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The Grateful Dead


1940

Phil Lesh, bassist with the Grateful Dead , is born in Berkeley, California.

1941

Robert Hunter, lyricist for the Grateful Dead, is born in Arroyo Grande, California.

1942

Jerry Garcia, lead guitarist and guiding light of the Grateful Dead, is born in San Francisco.

1943

Mickey Hart, drummer and percussionist for the Grateful Dead, is born in Brooklyn, New York.

1945

Donna Godchaux, vocalist with the Grateful Dead from 1972 to 1979, is born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

1945

Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, keyboardist and singer with the Grateful Dead, is born in San Bruno, California.

1946

Bill Kreutzmann, drummer for the Grateful Dead, is born in Palo Alto, California.

1947

Bob Weir, guitarist and vocalist with the Grateful Dead, is born in Atherton, California.

1948

Keith Godchaux, keyboardist with the Grateful Dead from 1972 to 1979, is born in Concord, California.

1951

Vince Welnick, keyboardist with the Grateful Dead from 1991 to 1995, is born in Phoenix, Arizona.

1952

Brent Mydland, keyboardist with the Grateful Dead from 1979 to 1990, is born in Munich, West Germany.

1963

The seeds for Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, the jug-band precursor of the Grateful Dead, are sown at a New Year’s Eve jam at a music store in Palo Alto, California, at which guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir are key participants.

1965

Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters hold the second Acid Test — a psychedelic multimedia happening fueled by liberal ingestion of the hallucinogenic drug LSD — at a home in San Jose. The Grateful Dead, having recently changed their name from the Warlocks, provide the music.

1965

The Grateful Dead perform the first of many concerts at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium. The concert is produced by Bill Graham.

1966

The Trips Festival, a multimedia event featuring performances by the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company, is held at Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco.

1966

The Grateful Dead’s first single, “Stealin’” b/w “Don’t Ease Me In,” is released on the Scorpio label.

1967

The Grateful Dead’s self-titled first album, a potpourri of blues, bluegrass and psychedelic rock, is released on Warner Bros. Records.

1967

Percussionist Mickey Hart joins the Grateful Dead, making them a sextet with two drummers.

1967

The Grateful Dead perform their epic “Dark Star” for the first time, at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium.

1968

Bill Graham takes over the Carousel — a music hall owned by the Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead — and re-christens it Fillmore West.

1968

The Grateful Dead’s ‘Anthem of the Sun,’ a musical collage of live and studio records that stands as a pinnacle of psychedelic rock, is released.

1968

Muddy Waters performs at the Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter-Than-Air Fair in Sultan, Washington. Some of the other artists include Santana, the Grateful Dead and the Youndbloods.

1969

‘Live/Dead,’ the first of many live albums by the Grateful Dead is released. Compiled from concerts recorded in their hometown of San Francisco between January 26th and March 2nd, 1969, it remains one of their career highlights.

1970

’Workingman’s Dead,’ a landmark album by the Grateful Dead, is released. It is followed only five months later by ‘American Beauty,’ another classic studio album.

1971

The Grateful Dead perform at Bill Graham’s venerable Fillmore West (in San Francisco), which Graham is shutting down, for the last time. Two months earlier, on April 29, the Dead performed their final show at Graham’s Fillmore East venue (in New York City).

1971

‘Grateful Dead,’ a live double album better known to fans as “Skull & Roses,” is released. Much of it had been recorded at New York’s Fillmore East in April.

1972

‘Europe ’72,’ a triple-live album from the Grateful Dead, is released. Recorded during a 22-date European tour, it becomes their highest-charting album to date, reaching #23.

1973

Ron “Pig Pigpen” McKernan, keyboardist and vocalist with the Grateful Dead, dies of liver failure.

1973

The Band, the Grateful Dead, and the Allman Brothers Band perform for a crowd of 600,000 (larger by half than Woodstock!) in upstate New York at the Watkins Glen “Summer Jam.”

1974

The Grateful Dead perform the last of a five-date stand at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, kicking off a 19-month hiatus from touring.

1976

The Grateful Dead perform at the Paramount Theater in Portland, Oregon, kicking off their first tour in more than a year and a half.

1977

The Grateful Dead perform at Barton Hall, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Of the 2000+ concerts performed by the group in its lifetime, this one is ranked #1 by Deadheads.

1977

The Grateful Dead release ‘Terrapin Station,’ their first album for Arista Records, where they’ll remain till the group’s mid-Nineties demise.

1978

The Grateful Dead begin three days’ worth of shows at the base of the Egyptian pyramids.

1980

Keith Godchaux, former keyboardist for the Grateful Dead, dies of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.

1987

The Grateful Dead’s ‘In the Dark’ is released. It marks the creative resurgence of the Dead following guitarist Jerry Garcia’s near-death after having lapsed into a five-day diabetic coma the previous year. The album peaks at #6 and sells more than 2 million copies.

1987

“Touch of Grey,” by the Grateful Dead, enters the Top Forty. It will peak at #9, putting the Dead in the Top Ten for the first (and last) time.

1990

Brent Mydland, keyboardist with the Grateful Dead, dies of a drug overdose.

1994

The Grateful Dead are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the ninth annual induction dinner. Bruce Hornsby is their presenter.

1995

‘Skeletons from the Closet,’ the Grateful Dead’s “best of” record from their years at Warner Bros., is certified triple platinum (3 million copies sold). It is the top-selling album of the Dead’s career.

1995

The Grateful Dead perform their 2,314th and final concert, at Chicago’s Soldier Field. The last songs performed are a medley of “Black Muddy River” and “Box of Rain.”

1995

Jerry Garcia dies at age 53 of a heart attack after having checked into a drug-rehab facility in Forest Knolls, California.

1998

Joining forces as the Other Ones, four surviving members of the Grateful Dead – Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bruce Hornsby – plus four other musicians kick off the “Furthur Festival” tour in Atlanta, Georgia.

2001

‘The Golden Road (1965-1973),’ a 12-CD box set comprising the Grateful Dead’s output during their first decade as a band, is released.

2006

Suffering from depression, Vince Welnick - who served as the Grateful Dead’s keyboardist from 1990 to 1995 - takes his life. He is the fourth of the band’s five keyboardists who has died.

The Grateful Dead