A Grateful Deadication
Grateful Dead was an American rock band, which was formed in 1965 in San Francisco from the remnants of another band, Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. The Grateful Dead was known for its unique and eclectic songwriting style—which fused elements of rock, folk music, bluegrass, blues, country, and jazz—and for its long modal jams. The band's numerous fans, called Deadheads, were renowned for their dedication to the band's music; many followed the Grateful Dead from concert to concert for years.
The Grateful Dead's career began, under the name The Warlocks, in the San Francisco psychedelic rock scene of the 1960s. Many bands from this area went on to national fame, such as Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother & the Holding Company, garnering San Francisco an image as a center for the hippie counterculture of the era. Of these bands, the Grateful Dead had the "most musicianly background", including banjo and guitar player Jerry Garcia, blues musician "Pigpen" McKernan, the classically trained Phil Lesh and drummer Bill Kreutzmann . In addition, the Grateful Dead most embodied "all the elements of the San Francisco scene and came, therefore, to represent the counterculture to the rest of the country".
Playing originally as The Warlocks, and later Grateful Dead (a name chosen at random from the dictionary by Jerry Garcia), the band became the de facto resident band of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, with the early sound heavily influenced by Kesey's LSD-soaked Acid Tests as well as R&B. Their musical influences varied widely with input from the psychedelic music of the era, combined with blues, jazz, and bluegrass. These various influences were distilled into a diverse and eclectic whole that made the Grateful Dead "one of the most experimental and improvisatory bands in rock".