The Grateful Dead (album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the 1971 live album known informally as "Skull and Roses" or "Skull Fuck", see Grateful Dead (album).
The Grateful Dead
Album cover of the band members superimposed in front of a statue of a monkey idol and an explosion
Studio album by Grateful Dead
Released March 17, 1967 (1967-03-17)
Recorded January 1967
Length 34:53
Label Warner Bros.
Producer David Hassinger
Grateful Dead chronology
The Grateful Dead
Anthem of the Sun
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

The Grateful Dead is the debut album of the Grateful Dead. It was recorded by Warner Bros. Records, and was released in March 1967. According to bassist Phil Lesh in his autobiography Searching for the Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead, the album was released as San Francisco's Grateful Dead.


The album was recorded primarily at Studio A in Los Angeles in only four days. The band had wanted to record the album in their hometown of San Francisco, but no good recording studios existed in the area at the time. The group picked David Hassinger to produce because he had worked as an engineer on the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow album (on the latter of which Jerry Garcia had guested as well as having suggested the album's title). Demands by Warner Bros. resulted in four of the tracks, originally longer, being cut short.[2] Phil Lesh comments in his autobiography that "to my ear, the only track that sounds at all like we did at the time is Viola Lee Blues. ... None of us had any experience with performing for recording ... although the whole process felt a bit rushed."[3]

The album was seen as "a big deal in San Francisco."[4] Even though this was true, it did not see much air play on AM radio stations outside San Francisco. It would be a couple of months before free-form FM radio stations began to take shape.[4] Warner Bros. threw the band a release party at the Fugazi Hall in North Beach. Joe Smith is noted for saying he is "proud that Warner Bros. is introducing the Grateful Dead to the world."[2]

A remastered version with the full versions of five album tracks, plus six bonus tracks, was released by Rhino as part of the box set The Golden Road (1965–1973) in 2001, and as a separate album in 2003.

The song "Alice D. Millionaire" was inspired by an autumn 1966 newspaper headline "LSD Millionaire", about the Dead's benefactor and sound engineer Owsley Stanley.

In the original design for the album cover, the cryptic writing at the top read, "In the land of the dark, the ship of the sun is driven by the Grateful Dead", with the phrase "Grateful Dead" in large letters. At the band's request, the writing, except for "Grateful Dead", was changed by artist Stanley Mouse to be unreadable.[5] According to fan legend, the saying is from Egyptian Book of the Dead.

The band used the collective pseudonym McGannahan Skjellyfetti for their group-written originals and arrangements. The name derived from a corruption of a character name in the Kenneth Patchen work The Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer.

The album was reissued for Record Store Day 2011 on 180g vinyl cut from the original analog/mono masters from 1967. This is the first time in 40+ years it has been released in this form.

The 2013 high definition digital remastered release features the edited versions, as released in 1967, of the four tracks which were extended in the 2003 Rhino release.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
  1. "The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)" (Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Bob Weir) – 2:07 (lead singer: Jerry Garcia)
  2. "Beat It On Down the Line" (Jesse Fuller) – 2:27 (lead singer: Bob Weir)
  3. "Good Morning, Little School Girl" (Sonny Boy Williamson) – 5:56 (lead singer: Ron "Pigpen" McKernan)
  4. "Cold Rain and Snow" (Obray Ramsey) – 2:25 (lead singer: Jerry Garcia)
  5. "Sitting on Top of the World" (Lonnie Chatmon, Walter Vinson) – 2:01 (lead singer: Jerry Garcia)
  6. "Cream Puff War" (Jerry Garcia) – 2:25 (lead singer: Jerry Garcia)
Side two
  1. "Morning Dew" (Bonnie Dobson, Tim Rose) – 5:00 (lead singer: Jerry Garcia)
  2. "New, New Minglewood Blues" (Noah Lewis) – 2:31 (lead singer: Bob Weir)
  3. "Viola Lee Blues" (Lewis) – 10:01 (lead singers: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir)
2003 reissue
  1. "The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)" (Garcia, Kreutzmann, Lesh, McKernan, Weir) – 2:09
  2. "Beat It on Down the Line" (Fuller) – 2:29
  3. "Good Morning Little School Girl" (Williamson) – 6:32 full-length version
  4. "Cold Rain and Snow" (Obray Ramsey) – 2:26
  5. "Sitting on Top of the World" (Chatmon, Vinson) – 2:43 full-length version
  6. "Cream Puff War" (Garcia) – 3:18 full-length version
  7. "Morning Dew" (Dobson, Rose) – 5:16
  8. "New, New Minglewood Blues" (Lewis) – 2:40 full-length version
  9. "Viola Lee Blues" (Lewis) – 10:09
Bonus tracks:
  1. "Alice D. Millionaire" (Grateful Dead) – 2:22
  2. "Overseas Stomp (the Lindy)" (Jab Jones and Will Shade) – 2:24
  3. "Tastebud" (Ron McKernan) – 4:18
  4. "Death Don't Have No Mercy" (Reverend Gary Davis) – 5:20
  5. "Viola Lee Blues" (Lewis) [edited version]  – 3:00
  6. "Viola Lee Blues" (Lewis) [live]  – 23:13
  • remastered CD contains full-length versions of "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl", "Sitting on Top of the World", "Cream Puff War", "Morning Dew", and "New, New Minglewood Blues" [6]
  • tracks 10 to 13 recorded at RCA Victor Studio A, Hollywood, CA (February 2, 1967)
  • track 14 is an edit of track 9
  • track 15 recorded live at Dance Hall, Rio Nido, CA (September 3, 1967). The master analog reels do not include the beginning of the song, resulting in the track beginning at the end of the second verse. Another track from this date is on Fallout from the Phil Zone.


Grateful Dead
Technical personnel
Reissue production credits
  • James Austin – reissue production
  • Joe Gastwirt – mastering, production consultant
  • Cassidy Law – project coordination, Grateful Dead Archives
  • Eileen Law – archival research, Grateful Dead Archives
  • David Lemieux – reissue production
  • Peter McQuaid – executive production, Grateful Dead Productions
  • Jeffrey Norman – additional mixing on bonus tracks
  • Michael Wesley Johnson – associate production, research coordination

Sales charts and certification[edit]

Billboard chart

Chart Peak Position
Pop Albums 73[7]

RIAA certification

Certification Date
Gold November 15, 1971[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Planer, Lindsay. The Grateful Dead at AllMusic. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Grateful Dead: The Illustrated Trip . Jake Woodward, et al. Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2003, pg. 67.
  3. ^ Phil Lesh: Searching for the Sound by Phil Lesh, Little, Brown and Company, 2005, pg. 99.
  4. ^ a b Garcia: An American Life by Blair Jackson, Penguin Books, 1999, pg. 125.
  5. ^ The Grateful Dead on
  6. ^ Discogs - The Grateful Dead images, reMastered CD 2001, Rhino (8122-74401-2-B) US
  7. ^
  8. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum database-The Grateful Dead". Retrieved February 28, 2009.