By Wes Hagan
The Grateful Dead is one of the most influential bands in America to come out of the 1960's. As the country was changing, so was the music culture. The Grateful Dead, or "the Dead" as they are more commonly known, capitalized on the troubled times of the late 1960's by producing a quality and sound of music never heard before.
To begin, it is important to highlight the different band members. Jerry Garcia was the lead guitarist and the most popular member in the band. Phil Lesh played the bass, Rob Weir was the rhythm guitarist, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan was on keyboard and harmonica, and Bill Kreutzman was on percussion. McKernan, Lesh, and Garcia all shared all vocal responsibilities.
Though some of the original members are deceased, the Dead have been a popular band in the country since they got their start in 1965. They still play to fans at concert events every year. Possibly, the Grateful Dead were so popular because they created a sound that incorporated many traditional styles into a new type of sound never heard before.
Fans also attribute the band as being the pioneers of "jam bands." Jam bands is a term used to describe music groups who use a wide arrangement of music instruments to produce a unique sound to every song they play. During a live performance, jam bands tend to deviate from album versions of songs to give each show a different feel.
The success of the Grateful Dead can be traced back to the bands inception in 1965. They drew a following from different walks of life by incorporating different sounds into their music. By harmonizing and promoting peace, they fit right in with the major pop culture that came out of the 1960's. The Dead and San Francisco are credited with, if not starting, continuing the hippy craze of this time period.
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