Across a period of 30 years, from 1965-95, the Grateful Dead played well over two thousand live concerts, breaking all of the rules of popular entertainment. They played what they wanted, the way they wanted, for as long as they wanted, and their fans loved them for it, supporting the band with an almost religious fervor. The “Deadheads” were encouraged to trade cassette tapes of live performances with each another, which created a symbiotic relationship between the band and their fan base that remains unique in the annals of rock and roll. It would take the death of founding member Jerry Garcia in 1995 to put a halt to the band’s freestyle performance life. Members have reunited across the years, perhaps most famously, to perform in tuxedos at one of former President Obama’s inaugural balls. Because of time constraints, this class will focus primarily on the Dead, and Jerry Garcia, rather than attempting to document the prolific solo careers of the individual musicians.