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Listen to a classic Grateful Dead performance at the Spectrum, September 21st 1972

Throw a dart at a calendar and you’ve got a decent shot at hitting the anniversary of a Grateful Dead show at the Spectrum. The band had a storied history with the classic Philly venue. It was the only site they played in every decade from the 60’s to the 90s’s. This very special soundboard recording comes from just the second of the Dead’s fifty-three Spectrum appearances. Continue reading →

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What Makes the Grateful Dead So GREAT Anyway? Dan and Dan debate on a NEW Podcast!

Dead & Company | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Meet Dan and Dan! Dan Reed, Music Director and Afternoon Host at WXPN/Philadelphia and Dan DeLuca, Music Critic and Columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer sit down on a bi-weekly basis to talk MUSIC!

What the heck makes the Grateful Dead so great anyway?

The songs?

The jams?

The culture?

Dan and Dan debate with longtime Deadhead and music industry veteran Jack Barton.  Jack enlightens us on his experience with the Grateful Dead, the community it inspired and the bands musical legacy.  Plus, hear new ‘Songs of the Week’ from Starcrawler and Tracey Thorn.

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Listen to soundboard tapes of The Grateful Dead at The Spectrum, August 29 and August 30, 1980

The Grateful Dead in August, 1980 | via dead.net

Ever tried Googling “The Grateful Dead” and “The Spectrum“? It’s kind of difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for without being more specific, since the Dead played the storied South Philly rock arena a walloping 53 times during the course of its career. The band’s Philly debut was at the Spectrum in December of 1968, opening for Steppenwolf and Iron Butterfly; their final Philadelphia show was at The Spectrum in March of 1995. (Hat-tip, WMGK, for the stat-keeping.)

Without digging into the nitty gritty tallying of every two- and three-night-stand throughout the 70s and 80s, I’m going to guesstimate that the band’s appearances at The Spectrum on August 29 and August 30th fell somewhere in the lower 30s of their Philly tenure, and today we bring you soundboard audio of those two performances. Continue reading →

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March 17 in Music History: Grateful Dead release their debut, Ray Davies receives his CBE

The Grateful Dead Self-Titled Debut Album

1957 – Elvis Presley buys the Graceland mansion from Mrs. Ruth Brown-Moore for $102,500. The 23-room, 10,000 square foot home on 13.8 acres of land is expanded to 17,552 square feet of living space before the King moves in a few weeks later. The original building had at one time been used as a place of worship by the Graceland Christian Church and was named after the builder’s daughter, Grace Toof.

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This Day in Music History: The Grateful Dead release Anthem of the Sun, the first Lollapalooza is held

Grateful Dead Anthem of the Sun

1953 – Truck driver Elvis Presley makes his first ever recording when he pays $3.98 to lay down two songs at Memphis Recording Service (later renamed Sun Studios): “My Happiness'” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.” The so-called vanity disc is a gift for his mother. It would surface 37 years later as part of an RCA compilation called Elvis – the Great Performances.

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Watch The Grateful Dead play the last-ever show at JFK Stadium this day in 1989

The Grateful Dead at JFK Stadium in 1989 | via YouTube
The Grateful Dead at JFK Stadium in 1989 | via YouTube

Best known as the half-oval that filled to the brim for Live Aid in 1985, South Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium was something of a nerve center for rock in Philly during the 60s, 70s and 80s – hosting performances that range from Judy Garland’s final show in 1968 to The Rolling Stones in 1978 (headcount: 100,000 people in attendance), Blondie in 1982, and U2 in 1987 for The Joshua Tree tour (headcount: 86,000 in attendance).

Suffice it to say, this place was massive, though by the end of the 80s had outlived its useful existence and was shuttered. Short of the Rolling Stones using it as a practice space for their Steel Wheels tour dress rehearsals – the most epic practice space of all time, wow – the field went dormant and was leveled in 1992 to pave the way for what is now the Wells Fargo Center.

The final show at JFK was a great one – The Grateful Dead performed a two-hour and 53-minute gig at JFK on July 7, 1989, 27 years ago today – but it was at the same time unceremonious. Continue reading →