Grateful Dead

Rock band from San Francisco, California, known for its unique, eclectic music incorporating folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, jazz, psychedelia and space rock elements. Best known for its live performances, because these not seldom offered the spectators improvisations that seemed to last forever. 

Too bad that such an important group fell back on the somewhat easy option of using the 'finger in the dictionary’ method to find a band name. 

Bass guitarist Phil Lesh’s biography describes how that went: 'Jer (Jerry Garcia, ed.) picked up an old Britannica World Language Dictionary. In that silvery elf-voice he said to me: Hey, man, how about the Grateful Dead?' 

Later Lesh complemented his story with the statement that the words Grateful and Dead were printed separately on two adjacent pages and that Garcia had put them together to form Grateful Dead. 

Grateful Dead band name origins - Funk and Wagnalls Folklore DictionaryA beautiful story, if Alan Trist, director of the music publisher of the Dead, had not mentioned another source: he adheres to the ideology that Jerry Garcia consulted the Funk & Wagnalls Folklore Dictionary. 

So what did this dictionary have to say about the concept of grateful dead? 

It comes down to a folk tale in which the hero of the story meets a group of people who refuse to bury the corpse of a loafer. He pays the debts of the deceased and is rewarded with good fortune.

Active: 1965-1995, USA

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