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Grateful Dead Ranked

i have around 4 GB worth of Dead material, mostly live sets. here are some of their albums ranked
1The Grateful Dead
Aoxomoxoa


Easily their most experimental, also their last truly psychedelic album. Every song on here is a Dead classic. (1969) 5/5
2The Grateful Dead
American Beauty


Most fans would have this at #1 and is their most known studio work. American Beauty is mostly bluegrass and folk jams. This is probably the most representative studio album for their sound. (1970) 5/5
3The Grateful Dead
Skull & Roses


This would be the last Dead album with the eccentric Pigpen (he's very sick at this point), and not coincidentally consists of straight up blues-rock jams. Skull Fuck has both original pieces and traditional blues renditions. IMO the best version of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B Goode" there is. (1971) 5/5
4 The Grateful Dead
Workingman's Dead


Released a few months before American Beauty and following the release of Aoxomoxoa, Workingman's Dead was the Grateful Dead's first attempt at steering away from psychedelia. Although still featuring extended improvising (especially in the live versions) it was a major change of sound towards an American roots and cultural sound, drawing heavily from blues and folk. (1970) 5/5
5The Grateful Dead
Europe 72


My favorite pieces of live music ever. The songs are taken from different sets on their 1972 Western European tour, honestly every recording on here is perfect. 1972 and 1977 are widely considered to be the Dead's peak years performance wise but '72 has me sold. (1972) 4.5/5
6The Grateful Dead
Blues for Allah


After a brief hiatus from writing and touring in 1974, the Dead return with another change in sound, this time taking up jazz. Tracks like "Help on the Way / Slipknot!" and "King Solomon's Marbles" show Jerry's jazz improvs. Although some of my favorite Grateful Dead songs wouldn't come until after this album, Blues for Allah marks the last LP before a downward slump in studio material. (1975) 4.5/5
7The Grateful Dead
Anthem of The Sun


Only a year after the last official "Acid Test" took place with the Merry Pranksters, Jerry and the gang released their second studio album Anthem of the Sun. AotS shows a lot more experimentation with their sound and progression from their psychedelic rock debut. This is definitely their trippiest album (recorded in 1967...need I say more) and the best way to describe it would be LSD blues. As such their songwriting definitely lacks the tight cohesion and musicianship the Grateful Dead would come to be known for. Still some great improvised jams though. (1968) 4/5
8The Grateful Dead
The Closing of Winterland


Dead performances in San Francisco's (where they are from) Winterland Arena are known to be some of their best show recordings. This one is from New Years Eve 1978, and also happens to be their last performance at Winterland before it shut down shortly after. Only live album to rival Europe 72. Arguably the best "Scarlet -> Fire" ever, here's the first part... (1978) 4/5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoG4uQUiTcs
9 The Grateful Dead
History of the Grateful Dead 1 (Bear's Choice)


Recorded and produced by the Dead's soundman Owsley Stanley, the guy who made most of the acid in the 60s and 70s. Highlights from one of their Fillmore sell outs. (1970) 4/5
10The Grateful Dead
Dead Set


tight later era jams, worth it alone for the "Franklin's Tower" (1981) 4/5
11The Grateful Dead
Fillmore West 1969


jams (1969) 4/5
12The Grateful Dead
Live/Dead


jams (1969) 4/5
13 The Grateful Dead
Dick's Picks Volume 3


jams (1971) 4/5
14The Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead Movie


got this on DVD (1976) 4/5
15The Grateful Dead
Terrapin Station


One of the last good studio albums from the Dead. Has fan favorites "Terrapin Station" and "Estimated Prophet" on it. This album shows the Dead going through a somewhat progressive ("Terrapin Station" at least) and funk phase. (1977) 3.5/5
16The Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead


Their self-titled debut. It's a pretty straight forward psychedelic rock album you might expect from 1967. I really like a few songs on here and the Dead actually kept playing several throughout their career. They maintain a bluesy sound on this one, lots of harmonicas. Most of these songs were grooved at the Acid Tests a bunch before recording the album. The band has also stated that this album didn't come out how they wanted it to due to production issues. Worth listening to "Sitting on Top of the World", "Cream Puff War", "Morning Dew" and "Cold Rain and Snow". (1967) 3.5/5
17The Grateful Dead
From The Mars Hotel


Most people like this one a bit more than me. I'm only really a fan of "Scarlet Begonias" and "Ship of Fools". This was their first studio release after their '74 hiatus. This album is pretty mellow and somewhat depressing at times, similar to the previous Wake of the Flood. (1974) 3.5/5
18The Grateful Dead
Wake of the Flood


I forgot about this one actually. Would have been higher up. Wake of the Flood is somewhat of a strange release for the Dead. Shows a mix of folk (from previous work) and jazz (which wouldn't be seen for a bit later). Worth mentioning that this has two of my favorite Dead songs, "Mississippi Half-Step" and "Eyes of the World". Both of which would become staples for live Dead. "Stella Blue" takes the cake for being the saddest Dead song. (1973) 4/5
19The Grateful Dead
Shakedown Street


fire on the mountain (1978) 3.5/5
20The Grateful Dead
In the Dark


late era jams, Jerry was in pretty poor condition at this point (1987) 3.5/5
21The Grateful Dead
The Arista Years


collection of Arista-era jams (fire, shakedown, estimated, etc)...
22 Grateful Dead
Infrared Roses


jams (1991) 3/5
23The Grateful Dead
Reckoning


jams (1981) 3/5
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jams
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jams
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jams
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jams
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jams
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jams
30 Band
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jams
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