John BrackettAug 30, 2023
The Grateful Dead, Live Recordings, and the Ideology of Liveness
Duke University Press 2023
The Grateful Dead were one of the most successful live acts of the rock era. Performing over 2300 shows between 1965 and 1995, the Grateful Dead’s reputation as a “live band” was—and continues to be—sustained by thousands of live concert recordings from every era of the group’s long and colorful career.
In Live Dead: The Grateful Dead, Live Recordings, and the Ideology of Liveness (Duke UP, 2023), musicologist John Brackett examines how live recordings—from the group’s official releases to fan-produced tapes, bootlegs to “Betty Boards,” and Dick’s Picks to From the Vault—have shaped the general history and popular mythology of the Grateful Dead for over fifty years. Drawing on a diverse array of materials and documents contained in the Grateful Dead Archive, Live Dead details how live recordings became meaningful among the band and their fans not only as sonic souvenirs of past musical performances but also as expressions of assorted ideals, including notions of “liveness,” authenticity, and the power of recorded sound.
John Brackett is Instructor of Music at Vance-Granville Community College, the author of John Zorn: Tradition and Transgression and a coeditor of The Routledge Companion to Popular Music Analysis: Expanding Approaches.
Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O’Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers and articles on G. K. Chesterton and John Ford, he teaches research and writing at Rutgers and co-hosts the podcast Fifteen-Minute Film Fanatics, found here on the New Books Network and on X.