The Grateful Dead's Effect on Counter Culture

951 words 4 pages
Jacqueline Smudzinski
Thinking and Writing 1302-60
September 29, 2013

The Grateful Dead “You’ve got to listen to the heavens, you got to try to understand. The greatness of their movement is just as small as it is grand.” Most young adults of my generation do not know who The Grateful Dead are, but they unknowingly dawn the apparels and slang created in the counterculture of the bands following the Deadheads. The band, The Grateful Dead, became popular in the 60s and carried out wide spread recognition and fame into the 80s. Their calming, peace-promoting music became popular because it ‘transported’ people, it took them away from whatever they were going through in their life and set them on a new path. Fans of the band
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Some people from the towns they visited would even join the Deadheads on the rest of their tour. More and more people, especially teenagers, began to follow the band around and live in the Deadhead communities. The values and way of life of the Deadheads became almost like a religion to most followers.
Although the Deadheads spread their message of peace and love they also passed along other ideas as they traveled. The Deadheads played a major role in the creation of America’s drug counterculture at the time. Much of the Grateful Dead’s music had overt drug themes, such as one of the band’s most famous songs, Casey Jones. Casey Jones touched on subjects and drugs that were extremely controversial at the time. The band was also famous for passing out LSD and other drugs during their concerts. This practice was especially big during the 1960s, when LSD was legal and sold on a large-scale. The Deadheads created a socially acceptable forum for drug use and experimentation. The Deadheads also contributed to the ‘free-love’ movement. The Deadheads were baby boomers, so they had parents who had experienced war as well as harsh rules and restrictions. This is why the freedom and peace of the free-love movement was so appealing to many ‘boomers’. It was easy to attract them to the idea freedom that comes along with being a Deadhead. However it is not without consequence, there are over 2000 deadheads serving prison sentences as drug offenders. The music of the