Monday night New York's Empire State Building was apparently lit up in tie-dye colours to honour the Grateful Dead. In my 60s mind all I could think was "Far out, man." The Dead was one of those bands that creeped into America's (and Canada's) consciousness first in the mid to late 60s and on throughout the 70s and 80s. They have a catalogue of far out music. Stories of their group home in Haight-Ashbury, their days on the road and Dead Heads abound.
Jerry Garcia shunned the spotlight as the band's leader and spokesperson but this role fell to him nevertheless. Hey, why not? After all he named the band. The story goes that Garcia, high on some chemical, plunked his finger down (his good one) into either the dictionary or Encyclopedia Britannica and it came to rest on grateful dead. The rest is rock and roll history.
One of my favourite Dead tunes is Ripple. It's a track from one of the iconic Dead albums American Beauty, which showcased the first pairing of Garcia and mandolinist David Grisman. It wouldn't be the last time they made sweet music together either as part of the Dead or in several side projects.
According to Wikipedia, Ripple is widely considered one of the best Grateful Dead songs and one of the most beautiful and poetic songs in popular music. You'll get no argument from me...