10 Amazing Things You Never Knew About The Grateful Dead

Dedicated to Grateful Dead vocalist and guitarist Jerry Garcia, who would have been 71 years old today. He was one of the most prominent cultural and musical icons in rock history.

1. Jerry Garcia was missing two-thirds of his right middle finger.

True story: His older brother accidentally chopped it off with an axe while 4-year-old Jerry was steadying some firewood. Nevertheless, Jerry went on to play a mean steel guitar!

2. Between 1965 and 1995, they played 2,318 shows.

Via Clayton Call

That’s an average of 77 shows per year. No rest for the wicked.

3. The band’s concert on August 27, 1972 in Veneta, Oregon, is considered to be one of the very best concerts in the band’s long history.

The Dead threw a benefit show for the Springfield Creamery in Springfield, Oregon. Tickets were printed on the backs of the Creamery’s yogurt labels. It was one of the hottest days of the year, and mostly everybody was naked. A film and audio recording of this show is finally being released as SUNSHINE DAYDREAM and is available at the band’s official website, dead.net.

4. The band’s live version of “Dark Star” could run as long as 48 minutes.

That’s longer than some bands’ LPs. The single version of “Dark Star” ran 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

5. Jerry played pedal steel guitar on CSNY’s, “Teach Your Children.”

“Captain Trips” played with Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young in exchange for them giving harmony lessons to the Dead.

6. Ben & Jerry’s “Cherry Garcia” ice cream flavor was suggested by Dead fans.

It’s also the first ice cream named after a rock legend.

7. Their song “Truckin’” is a U.S. National Treasure.

Seriously, in 1997 the United States Library of Congress recognized the classic Dead song as a national treasure. That ranks it in the same respect as The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

8. The Grateful Dead’s 1974 “Wall of Sound” weighed 75 tons.

The enormous public address system consisted of 26,400 watts of audio power, and 604 total speakers. The made for a very loud, concert. In fact, it was the largest concert sound system built at that time!

9. The “Twilight Zone” featured theme music by the Grateful Dead.

What band could be more appropriate for creating the eerie Opening and Closing Credits songs for the 1980’s revival of the classic series?

10. A cardboard cut-out of Jerry Garcia attended the Grateful Dead’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction instead of the real Jerry.

In 1994, the Dead frontman decided not to attend the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The other band members brought a cardboard cut-out of Garcia instead.

If you would like to explore the Grateful Dead’s enormous catalog, you can find it newly Mastered for iTunes here.

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