Deadhead

I grew up in a town where all of my friends were Deadheads, these are fans that listened to and went to Grateful Dead concerts.  We listened to other music also, Beatles, Stones, Led Zeppelin, Cream, CSNY, Joni Mitchel, Hendrix, the Band, the Allmans and many other groups, but nothing beat the Grateful Dead for pure party enjoyment.  We learned the lyrics and sang along with their music, even if we had some of the lyrics wrong.  Of course, drinking and smoking pot was also always involved when we listened to their music and we could never get enough of them.  When the Grateful Dead toured the East Coast, we would try to get as many tickets to see their shows from Boston down to Washington DC.  Many of my friends quit their jobs when the Grateful Dead were in town just to go to all of their concerts.

Being a Deadhead was a big commitment, as you had to know all the members in the group, what instruments they played, all of the songs that they covered and what songs they played at their shows, but this was fun for all of us.  I used to bring my tape recorder to the concerts and on the ride home from the shows we could listen to them again.  I went to 35 Grateful Dead concerts and the best show ever was Watkins Glen where they played with the Band and the Allman Brothers.  I brought my tape recorder to that show and I got the clearest recording of Jerry Garcia singing ‘Tennessee Jed’, as it sounded like he was singing directly into my recorder.

I had Grateful Dead posters on the walls of my room and I had this very rare double poster that had eric Clapton on one side of it and Jerry Garcia was on the other side and I always displayed the Garcia side.  I was lucky enough to get to shake Jerry’s hand once after he played a show at Douglass Collage, which was part of Rutgers.  I told him it was a great show and he said, “Far out man.”

Written for Throwback Thursday which is hosted by Lauren and Maggie and this week it is Maggie’s turn and her topic is Music Memories.

16 thoughts on “Deadhead

  1. I was familiar with the Grateful Dead, of course, but I never got into their music. Maybe I was a little too young, or perhaps the culture just wasn’t something I connected with. I know they had a tremendous following and their albums, t-shirts, patches, etc., were everywhere. It’s interesting to me, because I had albums of all the other bands and performers you named. Did they get much airplay? I was just thinking I never really heard their music on the radio which was my primary source of musical exposure. I know by your blog posts, their influence has stayed with you, so they must have had a lasting impact on you and your musical tastes. Thanks for joining us today, Jim. It’s always interesting to read about other people’s experiences.

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    1. They were never played a lot on the radio, but one of the New York DJ’s named Allison Steele who was on on WNEW-FM and her name was The Nightbird did play their music, but this was late at night. The Grateful Dead were also on the King Biscuit Flower Hour and then they would play a whole concert, which was pretty cool. The Grateful Dead had a lot of bootleg albums made from their shows and some of them the sound wasn’t that good, but I listened to a lot of those. Thanks for the fun challenge Maggie.

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    1. That is odd that you liked Country Joe and the Fish as I know that they were popular at Woodstock, but other than that chant, I can’t remember any of their songs. The Doors were more my cup of tea and I had every one of their albums.

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    1. After the show there was a big crowd heading toward the exit and my buddy suggested that we go out a different door which was less crowded. This door led us to a narrow hallway where Jerry was standing and I guess you could call this back stage, but it really was only a hallway. I was shocked to see Jerry standing there, as I was always in awe of him.

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      1. Yea if I would have seen Lennon or someone…I wouldn’t have believed it…it’s cool that you got that close. You will never forget that .

        Liked by 1 person

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