When The Grateful Dead surfaced in San Francisco in the mid-1960s, with their psychedelic imagery and mass following of Dead Heads, they spearheaded a new and rebellious counterculture that joyfully rejected mainstream America.
The Dead were an unlikely blend of talents, from the folk roots of Jerry Garcia to the blues of Rod "Pigpen" McKernan, to the innovative bass playing of Phil Lesh and the inventive percussion of Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. Their early, experimental album "Anthem of the Sun" bewildered and frustrated their record company, but The Deads music evolved with the changes in their personal lives and in 1970 they produced "American Beauty", an acoustic album of outstanding folk-based melodies. As Mickey Hart says: "We were coming out of our space suit and
planting our feet firmly back on earth".
This film charts how The Dead evolved from "Anthem" to "Beauty", and examines how these very different records were made. It includes rare footage of The Dead in their prime from TV appearances and recording sesions to home videos as well as extensive interviews with band members, lyricist Robert Hunter and many musicians from the era.
Subtitles: Dutch, German, Italian, Portugese, Spanish, French, English
From the Back Cover
The Grateful Dead are a unique phenomenon. One of the most successful live touring bands in the world, their longevity is founded on their desire to play music their way, coupled with an extraordinarily close relationship to their huge following. Coming out of the San Francisco Bay area in the mid 1960's, the core band (there were many changes over the years) comprised Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Ron 'Pigpen' McKerman, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. The Grateful Dead always refused to be part of the mainstream, even though their 1970 album American Beauty sold over a million copies in the U.S. Anthem To Beauty tells the story of the band and their journey from the experimental Anthem Of The Sun (recorded in 1967/1968) to the accessible, 'countryish' American Beauty. It is told in the band's own words and includes a reae interview with lyricist Robert Hunter. The film also features a wealth of rare vintage film footage of the Grateful Daed in their prime, including television appearances, home videos and classic recordings like Ripple, Box of Rain, Truckin' and Mountains of The Moon and it all adds up to a riveting portrait of one of the rock world's most controversial bands. Other contributions in this acclaimed film come from David Crosby )of Crosby, Stills and Nash), Grateful Dead biographer Dennis McNally, keyboard virtuoso Tom Constanten, producer Steven Barncaro, legendary engineer Dan Healy and Warner Records cheif Joe Smith.