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The Dedicated Deadheads. Why Was The Grateful Dead Such An Influential Band? What's The Significance Of Jerry Garcia's Pop Icon Status?

1732 words - 7 pages

The Dedicated DeadheadsMost artists involved in the music industry evoke an image from the mere mention of their name. For instance, when we hear "Jay-Z" we think about his typical music videos of promiscuous girls, fancy cars, and high-tech gadgets. Another example is "Nirvana." We envision head-banging teenagers following Kurt Cobain's tunes about the frustration with life. What comes to mind when "The Grateful Dead" is stated? For a good bit of people, an annoyance occurs. They imagine untidy groups of marijuana-smoking, tattoo-covered rednecks. They see the Dead as "one of those druggie bands" who encouraged getting high and not worrying about progressing in life. In some ways, these anti-Deadheads are correct. The Grateful Dead is not your run-of-the-mill musical success. Although the drug allegations are not far-fetched and many fans of the Dead did look like misfit hippies, the Grateful Dead had a positive impact on the music world. In an industry that thrives on appearance, the Grateful Dead gave a deeper meaning to their music than the flawless image of success. They went beyond the catchy tunes and phrases that had proven to sell records and made their living doing what made them happiest. People need something to live for to enliven everyday life, whether it's their family, job, or religion. By expressing true joy through entertainment without overplayed glitz and glamour, the Grateful Dead gave people, who did not lead the ideal family-focused, job-happy life, a passion to live for.Jerry Garcia, known as "the backbone of the Grateful Dead," was the lead guitarist, vocalist, and spokesman of the group. Even as an adolescent, Garcia was musically inclined. He received his first guitar when he was fifteen and mostly learned to play blues, folk, country, and jazz. After trying it for a few years and smoking a good bit of marijuana, Garcia dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Army, but he was discharged after a matter of months and moved to California. There he met a poet, Robert Hunter, who would prove to be an amazing lyricist and in 1965 began the formation of the Warlocks, who changed their name to the Grateful Dead in 1966. 1Jerry Garcia is a universally recognized icon of the music world. He is not seen as sophisticated, pretentious, or intimidating as many music artists are. Garcia always performed with true joy in his heart; he acted as if he were playing simply for the raw passion of the music. He seemed like he did not have a care in the world, not for money, fame, or any other benefit that comes with being a star. The only advantage of fame that he probably cared for was that people would actually listen to him and enjoy what he and his fellow band members created. Garcia never succumbed to the greedy image that many other stars did. He was automatically assumed the front man of the Dead; he never fought for it to be that way. Garcia was humble in how he presented himself. With his unkempt, gray hair and beard, beat-up...

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