The Grateful Dead's Influence on Bob Dylan
Adult Enrichment / Highlights -
Join other music fans and come wrap your head around Dylan’s dalliance with the Dead.This class will examine how people’s prejudices and perceptions—even of such rebels as Dylan and the Dead–influence their opinions, and how to overcome those limitations. Very little is as divisive to Bob Dylan’s fans as his 1987 tour with the Grateful Dead. Two decades into his career, and at an artistic crossroads, Dylan collaborated with the Dead’s Jerry Garcia, who helped him reconnect with his own songs by rekindling his love of performing as a sympathetic and supportive kindred spirit. The Dead’s lack of convention likely appealed to Dylan’s iconoclastic leanings, and at one point, he even asked to become a band member. In 1988, Dylan began his so-called “Never Ending Tour,” now in its fourth decade (but temporarily on hold) which followed the Dead’s paradigm, changing setlists and touring regardless of having anything new to promote. Regular interpretations of Dead songs infiltrated Dylan’s setlists, while the Dead almost became a Dylan cover band. After Garcia’s death, Dylan’s collaborations with Grateful Dead members continued. In short, with the Dead, Dylan was reborn.
Harold Lepidus is the author of Friends and Other Strangers: Bob Dylan Examined (Oakmoor Publishing/Bennion Kearney), a collection of articles connecting Dylan with over 120 musicians, filmmakers, actors, artists, politicians, critics, and fans. In 2019, he spoke at the World of Bob Dylan symposium in Tulsa, Oklahoma, home of the official Bob Dylan Archives. He wrote a music column for Blasting News and a blog for No Depression, and recently launched his own podcast, THE BOSTON HAROLD.