Essay Grateful Dead as an American Religion

Grateful Dead as an American Religion

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Music Studies
This paper discusses the phenomenon known as “The Grateful Dead.”

This paper discusses the phenomenon known as “The Grateful Dead.” The author suggests that the band’s cult-like followers, the Deadheads, have become a religion unto themselves. Historical and geographical overviews of the band’s genesis are given in detail.
“From the beginning there was more to the Grateful Dead than just music. When Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan turned their acoustic bluegrass band, Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, into the electric R & B band the Warlocks, and then into the psychedelic rock assemblage, the Grateful Dead, not only was musical history made, but religious history, too. A mystical religious transformation occurred. Somehow without even trying, myth and magic were born. Did the finger of God come out of the sky and light up the band? Not exactly. But, whatever it was that happened, a group of disciples grew up around the holy center of Jerry Garcia and his band. They called themselves the Deadheads, and whatever it was that came into the lives of the Deadheads, it came much like the burning bush appeared to Moses.”

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