1970 Was a Great Year for the Dead

June 14 – the band releases Workingman’s Dead .

With “Workingman’s Dead,” the band changed course from the psychedelia of “Aoxomoxoa” and “Anthem to the Sun,” their two previous studio releases. “Workingman’s Dead” plowed a deep furrow of Americana, including country, folk, Tin Pan Alley, and bluegrass. My favorite track is the opening song, “Uncle John’s Band.” Whenever I hear the opening chords, my heart lifts; the sone makes me feel hope will overcome despair. Remember, this was 1970, a tough year.

Four and a half months later, the band would release what is probably their most-beloved studio work in “American Beauty,” .

“American Beauty” includes “Sugar Magnolia,” “Friend of the Devil,” and the Dead’s all-time crowd-pleaser, “Truckin'” among others. Following “Workingman’s Dead,” it adds additional layers of introspection but is, overall, more upbeat.

Spend time with these two albums, and things will never be the same.



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