Live/Dead

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Live/Dead
A painting of a woman floating above a casket holding a banner reading "DEAD" behind a background with the word "LIVE"
Live album by Grateful Dead
Released November 10, 1969
Recorded January 26 – March 2, 1969
Genre Psychedelic rock
Length 75:07
Label Warner Bros.-Seven Arts
Producer Grateful Dead
Bob Matthews
Betty Cantor
Grateful Dead chronology
Aoxomoxoa
(1969)
Live/Dead
(1969)
Workingman's Dead
(1970)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [1]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [2]
Robert Christgau A+[3]

Live/Dead is the first official live album released by the San Francisco-based band Grateful Dead. It was recorded over a series of live concerts in early 1969 and released later in the year on November 10. At the time of its release, Robert Christgau wrote that side two of the double album "contains the finest rock improvisation ever recorded." A landmark live album that captured the Grateful Dead's improvisations at their best—Allmusic would write that "Few recordings have ever represented the essence of an artist in performance as faithfully as Live/Dead".

It was the final album with keyboardist Tom Constanten.

The album was remastered and released with hidden bonus tracks as part of the 2001 box set The Golden Road (1965–1973), and subsequently as a stand-alone album in 2003.

The first 1:34 of "Dark Star" can be found on the previous track, "Mountains of the Moon", in the 2005 box set Fillmore West 1969: The Complete Recordings.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 244 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[4]

History[edit]

The songs were recorded with a mobile 16-track studio.[5] Owsley "Bear" Stanley also asked Ron Wickersham to invent a mic splitter that fed both into the PA and the record inputs with no loss in quality.[6] "Dark Star" and "St. Stephen" pairing was taken from the February 27, 1969 show at the Fillmore West; "The Eleven" and "Turn On Your Lovelight" were from the January 26, 1969 show at the Avalon Ballroom; "Death Don't Have No Mercy," "Feedback," and "And We Bid You Goodnight" were from the March 2, 1969 show at the Fillmore West.

Unlike in later years, in early 1969 the contents of the Dead's set lists varied little. They improvised the medley of "Dark Star"/"St. Stephen"/"The Eleven" several times a week, which enabled them to explore widely within the songs' simple frameworks. The album was a financial success for the band in the eyes of their label, Warner Bros. Constanten had commented that "Warner Bros. had pointed out that they had sunk $100,000-plus into Aoxomoxoa ... so someone had the idea that if we sent them a double live album, three discs for the price of one wouldn't be such a bad deal."[5]

A six-and-a-half-minute edit of "Turn On Your Lovelight" was issued first on Warner/Reprise Loss Leader album The Big Ball in 1970, and later on Skeletons from the Closet: The Best of Grateful Dead.

Artwork[edit]

The cover art for Live/Dead is by R.D. Thomas. The word "Live" is seen on the front cover, and the word "Dead" fills the back cover. The top part of the word "Dead" on the back cover spells "acid", a slang term for LSD.

The original Warner Bros. LP [#2WS 1830] included an 8.5" X 11" bi-fold art and lyric book containing the lyrics to "Saint Stephen", "The Eleven", and "Dark Star".

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Dark Star" (Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, Robert Hunter, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, and Bob Weir) 23:18
Side two
No. Title Length
2. "St. Stephen" (Garcia, Hunter, and Lesh) 6:31
3. "The Eleven" (Hunter and Lesh) 9:18
Side three
No. Title Length
4. "Turn On Your Love Light" (Deadric Malone and Joseph Scott) 15:05
Side four
No. Title Length
5. "Death Don't Have No Mercy" (Reverend Gary Davis) 10:28
6. "Feedback" (Tom Constanten, Garcia, Hart, Kreutzmann, Lesh, McKernan, and Weir) 7:49
7. "And We Bid You Goodnight" (Traditional, arr. by Grateful Dead) 0:35

Personnel[edit]

Grateful Dead
Production
  • Produced by Grateful Dead, Bob Matthews, Betty Cantor
  • Executive engineer: Bob Matthews
  • Engineer: Betty Cantor
  • Consulting engineers: Owsley, Ron Wickersham
  • Sound: Bear
  • Art direction: Ed Thrasher
  • Cover art: R.D. Thomas

Sales charts and certification[edit]

Billboard chart

Year Chart Position
1970 Pop Albums 64[citation needed]

RIAA certification

Certification Date
Gold August 24, 2001[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Planer, Lindsay. Live/Dead at Allmusic
  2. ^ Grateful Dead album ratings, Rolling Stone
  3. ^ Grateful Dead album ratings at RobertChristgau.com
  4. ^ 500 Greatest Albums: Lilve/Dead at rollingstone.com
  5. ^ a b Grateful Dead: The Illustrated Trip . Jake Woodward, et al. Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2003, pg. 104.
  6. ^ Phil Lesh: Searching for the Sound by Phil Lesh, Little, Brown and Company, 2005, pg. 142.
  7. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum database-Live Dead". Retrieved February 28, 2009.