The Number Ones. Album Of The Week. It is not my intention to refute the negative connotations associated with the band — airheaded solipsism, boomer excesses, self-indulgent musical masturbation — nor do I intend this piece to double as acid test recruitment propaganda for disillusioned indie rockers though, it should be said, some of them might benefit from a dosing. Fanatical Deadheads, most of whom have heard almost every Dead song literally hundreds of times, frequently speak in terms of specific live versions of Grateful Dead songs rather than the songs themselves. Even among Deadheads, the songs themselves are often taken for granted as mere launching pads for fearless improvisational jams. As with any major corporation which the Dead became, officially, in , mistakes were made , but on the whole, this was a decidedly savvy group of people. Conversely, the members of the Grateful Dead loved to jam, but were largely limited as wordsmiths. And so, starting around , the band would stick to the business of music, and let Barlow and Hunter worry about the words.
When we think of brilliant musical craftsmanship, we think of Grateful Dead. This will always be one of the best songs to hear live. The United States Library of Congress also recognized it as a national treasure back in !
The 10 Best Grateful Dead Songs
When the West Coast of America started to populate with a nationwide swell of hippies bands began to flock to the hippie capital of San Francisco. There was sone band, however, who was born in the counter-culture movement, not simply drawn to it. That band, of course, was The Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead, to put it simply, are the real deal. The band quickly caught the attention of the globe as they became the figureheads of freeform creation and songwriting. As good as they are on stage, and they are really good, The Grateful Dead, just like any band , still needed to sell records. It meant that 45 minute jams were all well and good but they still needed some songs to sell. Luckily, with Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir leading the way with regards to songwriting, the group were in safe hands and they delivered reams of records for their adoring audience.
The Grateful Dead were certainly one of the most unusual rock groups of all time. Born in the counter-cultural upheaval of the '60s, the Dead became inextricably linked with flower power, peace and love — despite the fact that some of their songs contain some very cynical lyrical elements. The group's music was an amalgam of rock, folk, blues, country and jazz elements that lent itself perfectly to long improvisational passages in their live shows, yet many of their best songs are short and to the point, displaying a sense of song craftsmanship one might not expect from the world's greatest jam band — as evidenced by our list of the Top 10 Grateful Dead songs. Following a virtual paradigm for many of the Dead's best songs, "Scarlet Begonias" is a vibe-y mid-tempo tune with a loose feel. One of three new studio tracks on the double live album Grateful Dead, "Bertha" was a somewhat sardonic lover's lament from a man who has run from a relationship. Its long guitar solo passage hints at the group's less restricted live approach. One of the ultimate peace-and-love hippie anthems, "Ripple" was reportedly conceived during a drinking binge that saw Robert Hunter write it, "Brokedown Palace" and "To Lay Me Down" in the same day. Musically, the song is a straight-up country tune, while lyrically it draws part of its inspiration from the 23rd Psalm. Its harmony singing owes an obvious debt to Crosby Stills and Nash, with a lyric that is drawn from the tumultuous social changes of that time, but still hints at '60s optimism. Its unique blend of song structure and lyrical perspective earn it a spot in the Top 10 Grateful Dead Songs.