What a long, strange trip it's been. As the legendary journeymen celebrate 50
By Eric Renner Brown in Entertainment Weekly
hey're the greatest jam band in history (sorry, Phish!) and one of the most enduring rock acts of all time -- yet they've never won a Grammy (the group did receive a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2007) and had only one Top 10 hit during their original 30-year run. Now, two decades after Jerry Garcia's death, the band is saying goodbye to the Grateful Dead with five beyond-sold-out shows. Yet their cross-generational appeal has never been stronger. Here, we celebrate half a century of incredible music. Grab a pint of Cherry Garcia and your preferred herbal refreshment and dive in.
GRATEFUL DEAD BY THE NUMBERS
1.5 - Number of middle fingers Garcia had.
2,318 - Number of shows performed.
∞ Number of acid tabs consumed at Dead shows.
13 - Number of official studio releases.
140 - Number of official live releases.
$2 - Average price of a parking lot burrito at a Dead show circa 1970.
$5,715 - Price of the most expensive premium package for the final Chicago shows (includes a 3-night hotel stay).
5 CELEBRITY DEADHEADS REVEALED
With 'Before This World', James Taylor looks back at his life on a warm, direct folk album.
by David Browne in Rolling Stone
n his first album of new songs in 13 years -- a long wait even by his meticulous standards -- James Taylor's past is never far in the rearview mirror. "Somehow I haven't died," he observes in "Today Today Today," the album's back-porch-ready single. "Angels of Fenway" is a poignant reflection on his late grandmother and her devotion to the Red Sox; as he sings, 1965, the year Taylor became a Sox fan, "doesn't seem like a long time ago."
The simplicity of the music matches Taylor's nostalgic mood. With its renewed focus on his voice and guitar -- both miraculously unscarred by time and excess -- Before This World is the most direct studio record he has made in many years. Told from an American soldier's conflicted point of view, "Far Afghanistan" has the subtle intensity of Celtic song roots of Taylor's early work. The pairing of the meditative title track with the spring-in-its-step of "Jolly Springtime" feels like an older, wiser version of his multipart classic "Suite for 20G," from 1970. Even with a few slightly cornball moments (the world-music salute "SnowTime") and occasional overreliance on gauzy harmonies that threaten to depersonalize the songs, Before This World is sweet grown-up James. * * * 1/2
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