5 Things You Didn't Know About The Grateful Dead

On July 9, 1995, the rock band the Grateful Dead played their last concert at Soldier's Field in Chicago. Here are 5 interesting things you didn't know about this popular group whose followers called themselves “Deadheads.”


The Band Originally Performed Under Another Name The Grateful Dead began their career as the Warlocks, a group formed in early 1965 from the remnants of a Palo Alto, California jug band called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. The Warlocks featured Jerry Garcia, Ron “Pigpen” McKeman, Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann. Phil Lesh joined the group later. The band changed their name to the Grateful Dead around 1965, after which drummer, Mickey Hart, and lyricist Robert Hunter, joined.

They Used a Folklore Dictionary to Come Up With the Band’s Name Garcia reported that nobody initially liked the name Grateful Dead for the band. They discovered it while leafing through a Funk and Wagnalls, and it just struck him as the perfect name. It turned out that it was a good choice. Garcia believed parents would not like the name and those who were just curious about a band with that name would be filtered out.


Jerry Garcia Played Amazing Guitar With Part of One Finger Missing While vacationing at the Santa Cruz Mountains with his family at age four, Garcia had his finger against a piece of wood as his brother chopped it. Unfortunately, his brother miscalculated and cut off Garcia’s middle finger to about two-thirds of the way down. Garcia still became an amazing steel guitar player and reportedly bragged about his missing finger as a child.

The Band Only Hit the Top 10 Once In 1987, “Touch of Grey” was released as a single and was the only record by the Grateful Dead to hit Number 9 on Billboard’s Hot 100. After 20 years as a group, they reached the Top 10 with their album “In the Dark” in 1987. Some other songs by the Grateful Dead such as “Casey Jones” or “Eyes of the World” were complete flops on Billboard but are now considered classics.

There is a Species of Cockroach Named After Jerry Garcia In the late 1990s, a Dead-loving taxonomist discovered a new species of cockroach and named it “Cryptocercus garciai” after Jerry Garcia. In 1995, just three months after his passing, two astronomers named an asteroid after the late singer as well.