The Grateful Dead
Induction Year: 1994
Induction Category: Performer
Inductees: Tom Contanten (keyboards; born March 19, 1944), Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals; born August 1, 1942, died August 9, 1995), Donna Godchaux (vocals; born August 22, 1945), Keith Godchaux (keyboards; born July 14, 1948, died July 21, 1980), Mickey Hart (drums, percussion; born September 11, 1943), Robert Hunter (lyricist; born June 23, 1941), Bill Kreutzmann (drums; born April 7, 1946), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals; born March 15, 1940), Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (keyboards, harmonica, vocals; born September 8, 1945, died March 8, 1973), Brent Mydland (keyboards, vocals; born October 21, 1952, died July 26, 1990), Bob Weir (guitar, vocals; born October 16, 1947), Vince Welnick (keyboards; born February 22, 1951, died June 2, 2006).
The Grateful Dead wrought a psychedelic revolution upon the cultural landscape of the Sixties. They also kept the spirit of the Sixties alive in the decades that followed, building a massive, supportive network of fans known as “Deadheads.” The Dead and their peers on the San Francisco scene helped steer the adventurous rock audience of the mid-Sixties toward a brave new world of sound in which albums supplanted singles and concerts became improvisational marathons.
From jazz, the Grateful Dead adapted an improvisational approach. Heavily steeped in Americana, the group derived from blues and bluegrass. From the culture of psychedelia, as pioneered by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, the Dead grew attuned to the broad palette of possibilities that could be tapped when imagination was given free reign. Their signature song was “Dark Star,” an extended piece that never got performed the same way twice. Throughout their thirty-year history, guitarist/leader Jerry Garcia functioned as the pre-eminent pied piper of the rock era.
In the beginning, the Dead - Garcia, guitarist Bob Weir, organist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, bassist Phil Lesh and drummer Bill...