Among the group members were Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Bill Kreutzmann, Micky Hart, Keith & Donna Godcheaux, and Brent Mydland.
Their association with Ken Kesey's Acid Tests put them at the fore of the San Francisco Acid Rock scene. They and their music were getting attention. They signed with MGM Records in 1967 but were dropped a short time later when recording sessions proved unproductive.
In 1969, The Dead went to their strength, the live performance, and recorded their first live album, Live/Dead. Featuring a 23 minute version of Garcia's "Dark Star," the album succeeded where their previous efforts had failed. It was a hit. Next came two classics, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. These albums contained many of the signature songs that would become the cornerstone of the Dead's live performances for years to follow. Among them were "Ripple," "Uncle John's Band," "Casey Jones," "Sugar Magnolia," and "Truckin."
Eventually, they closed out their contract with Warner and signed with Arista. Their record production died off and at one point there was a 7 year break. Widely viewed as an enduring relic of the 60's, the Grateful Dead came to the fore again with the release of 1987's In the Dark. It was their first studio LP since Go to Heaven. A surprise hit, it included the single "Touch of Grey" which became the first Dead track ever to reach the Top Ten. With their videos playing regularly on MTV, they attracted a new generation of fans. Demand for concert tickets had never been higher.
After Jerry Garcia's death, former members of the band, along with other musicians, toured as the Other Ones in 1998, 2000, and 2002, and the Dead in 2003, 2004, and 2009. In 2015, the four surviving core members marked the band's 50th anniversary in a series of concerts billed as their last performances together.
Though Garcia's death meant the end of the Deadhead phenomena, the music of The Grateful Dead endures and will as long as notes are strung together.