Grateful Dead: True Originals of Music Subculture
True originals to their very core, Grateful Dead gave the world more than three decades worth of generation-defining music. How they created a global counterculture that is still alive and well today can only be explained by their music.
Originally known as the Warlocks, the Grateful Dead band was born in 1965 and came together in California’s Bay Area.
The transformational sounds of the Dead blended bits of rock, folk and jazz into lengthy jams and orchestra-like performances unlike anything before their time. The true legacy of the Dead, though, came from their devoted fans—Dead Heads.
Continuous jamming, changes in tempo, genre and everything in between were the result of the free-form environment. Without barriers between audience and band, the shape their music took from the experience was anything but typical. It was truly original.
As is their iconography. The Bears, Skeleton & Roses, Steal Your Face skull and a specialized typographical font each come with their own origin story. Today these are universally recognized symbols for not only their music but their interest in a meaningful pursuit.
Ultimately, the Grateful Dead wanted their music to represent the spirit of going out to adventure across America. Their music not only inspired freedom, it offered a path to pursue it.
Dead Heads hopped onto trains and into vans in order to follow the touring band across the country. Not only were they along for the ride but they were creating a subculture all their own. “We Are Everywhere” became a creation of the traveling fans and another piece of the band’s eclectic legacy, as are the road stories, tapes and artworks the fans continue to contribute.