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Urban Dictionary defines Deadhead as “a person who greatly enjoys the music of the Grateful Dead and particularly the genius of Jerry Garcia.” But decades ago, a subset of fans cranked up that devotion to a whole new level and began following the band from city to city. Martin, Carlos Santana, Nancy Pelosi, Mario Batali, and yes, Ann Coulter have in common? They are all members of the inimitable community of Grateful Dead fans commonly and affectionately known as Deadheads.“ The Long, Strange Trip Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead forged a completely unique musical identity, playing thousands of concerts over a 30-year period.Though Garcia's death in August 1995 effectively ended the band's touring days, the Dead's music and cultural influence have continued to grow.As Jerry Garcia once said, “our strong suit is what we do, and our audience.” The Dead played a different song set at every show, sending “regulars” on the road to the band’s next gig—since no two shows were ever the same.The Dead also not only allowed but actually fans to tape the concerts, eventually setting up a “taper’s section” for them.In 1970, when this photo was taken, the group included Ron "Pigpen" Mc Kernan, rear left, who sang and played keyboards and harmonica. My Love Is Bigger Than a Cadillac Small-scale tributes to Garcia and the band abound.
In 1970, when this photo was taken, the group included Ron "Pigpen" Mc Kernan, rear left, who sang and played keyboards and harmonica. " class="lazy Owl owl-lazy" data-action="gallery-slide-image"The Music Never Stopped The free-flowing approach to music that the band perfected over three decades of playing together was possible because of the extraordinary abilities of the musicians Garcia partnered with.
These Wharf Rats—named after a Dead song—gathered under an arc of yellow balloons during concert breaks, finding strength in numbers as they maintained sobriety “one show at a time.” wrote about deadheads, “[They] had only one thing absolutely in common: Each had experienced some inner click of affinity, some overwhelming sense of ‘here I belong,” when confronted by the Dead, its music and scene.