Founded in: 1965
Formed as a quintet in California in 1965, the Grateful Dead became as much a folktale as the story from which they drew their name. Fusing rock and roll, folk, and jazz with avant-garde, visual, and literary traditions--and virtually inventing a new way to play music in the process--they became one of the most popular, enduring, and influential bands in American history. Emerging as a vessel for a vibrant global counterculture, they would create an unparalleled original songbook through 30 years of recording and touring. Never playing the same setlist twice (except that once), the Dead’s musical legacy remains unfathomably rich, spread across a combined body of live and studio recordings. Creating an artistic ecosystem all their own, the Grateful Dead would transform American music and arguably even America itself.