The Roots of the Grateful Dead

As Noah Weiner of The Grateful Dead Listening Guide put it, here's a "beautiful way to spend your next 15 minutes". Too true.



So then, why this site?

Randy Jackson collected and wrote all of the information presented in this web site. In 1996, he created a site to house this valuable information that is still accessible here:

In order to preserve Randy's original research, I migrated his content over to this web site.  I've touched his original text lightly, only correcting minor typos, and perhaps adding a few links to newer content.



From: Randy Jackson, 1996


For some time I have been researching the origins of the many cover songs that the Grateful Dead have performed over the years. I have collected quite a bit of material on that subject and thought it was time to organize it and make it available. This site is an attempt to do that and to solicit input from others who are also interested in this area of research.

I am not a professional writer nor do I have any formal training in ethnomusicology, I've basically been making it up as I go along.All of the original written content contained herein is copyright © Randy Jackson.

Skeleton and Roses, Illus. by Edmund Sullivan




"Oh, come with old Khayyam
and leave the Wise to talk;
one thing is certain,
that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown forever dies."

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyamm
Quatrain #26
Translated by Edward Fitzgerald, 1913
Illustrated by Edmund Sullivan


With the country crumbling around us, We Still Got The DEAD!

Thanks so much for 31 days this November. During these times where the tax payers are paying the way for a Christian Theme Park in Kentucky where people co-exist with the dinosaurs. It's a great relief to hear the good ole' DEAD continue on from the past. Although, have we been time freaked back to the 80's where tax cuts really create jobs?? It didn't work then and we are now doomed to see history repeat itself? Well for the last 32 days we've been blessed with the past, unfortunately   politics of the 80's just doesn't work! Long live the filibuster! Thank GOD for Sirius and the Dead Channel! 

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks so much for the effort in collecting all the songs and dropping them here in such an organized fashion.  The December bonus is AWSOME.  One of my all time favs.  Happy Merry Joyous end of year.


I was cruising home from work tonight listening to the Dead on Siruis Radio, and they were playing a concert from 1966. One of the oldest recordings they have in the archives. Picked up my daugher and when I pulled into the garage I told her to go in and I would be in after the current song was over. She came out about 15 minutes later and said "DAD, are you going to come in and get supper started? I'm hungry!" (I've got to work on her taste in music! Too much Lady Gaga.)

The treasure trove of recorded music out there is mind boggling.

I can't thank you enough for helping out with these downloads, and the BONUS TREAT!!!

Love it, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mega Thanks

Kent - thank you, thank you, thank you.  As others have said, a variety of factors kept me from grabbing each DL each day from deadnet.  Your efforts are to be commended and a bonus no less??  Many thanks for your time and effort!!!


mucho gracias

thank you VERY much for the reposting the downloads & the extra scarlet>fire on 12/1.  much appreciated.  Best.  - g

just plain gr8ful !

enuf sed ;)

the dead

I cant thank you enough for these downloads.Please keep them coming.

Thank you!

My sentiments as well!

We all have our personal favorites, mine tend to change from year to year through decades, favoring Donna/Keith years. In the early '70's it was gdtrfb/nfa, in fact, that whole album as one listen, over and over. Then DarkStar in 1973, next the Garcia/Saunders Keystone stuff, then long  Fire versions and so on. When Jerry died, I began to learn about all kinds of recordings I had been unfamiliar with previously, though I have always listened to Dead and Dead family stuff nearly daily. I wish Liberty had been around longer: This is a great song that had a lot of potential  to develop into a real classic with variant jam interludes and lengths. Whatever. I am thankful for what I have received this month and some are especially new treats for me. The two Sugar Magnolia versions are good and so well contrasted with each other, ---the magnificently soaring finale version and the different, articulately sweet version posted Nov 19, are both precious. 

Also, hanks for appeasing that Scarlet/Fire guy!

30 days of dead

Thanks for the music it is  so much easier coming to your website! You guys are awesome!


Wow! Thanks for this page!  I was having trouble downloading the songs from and just thought I was going to have to make due with the handful that I got, but lo and behold I Tripped across this link (Thanks Captain Trips ;-D) and got a second chance! Yeah!

Thank you!

There's still time for It's a Man's World>Midnight Hour from June of 1970

That sounds cool!

Very tasty in my imagination, anyway.

an early christmas present (c:

thank you so much for '30 days of dead'!  what a wonderful way to ring in the holiday season ... over five hours (and counting) of unreleased grateful dead from all periods of their career.  christmas has indeed come early!


I appreciate you putting these all in one easy to access location!


I too am very grateful to have the full listing available here... no way I can get to the 'net site on a daily.... These recordings are SOOO crisp and clean, especially the older ones, I see a ton of new releases headed our way :-)  It's the early, expolritory stuff that excites me the most...  pre 74. Not to get into that whole thing but that's what releases I get pumped for... Anywat, 10 more to go ! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!   G 

Discovering site

Thank you for a volatile mixture of adventure & safety.

Kindess and Gratitude!