Two-Disc Set Will Be Available April 3, 2015

The Grateful Dead’s long strange trip reaches an important mile marker this year with the celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary.

The Dead will get the yearlong festivities underway with the release of The Best of the Grateful DeadThis career-spanning, two-disc collection is filled with nearly three hours of the legendary group’s best studio work. The music will be available physically and digitally on  April 3, 2015.

The collection’s 32 tracks feature music from every Grateful Dead studio album and cover the key waypoints on the band’s mystical musical journey. Arranged chronologically, the tracks reflect the evolution of the group’s sound – and its membership – across more than two decades – from 1967’s The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) to 1989’s Standing on the Moon. In between, listeners will find the essential tracks that made the band such a cultural phenomenon, including such fan favourites as St. Stephen, Casey Jones, Sugar Magnolia, Friend of the Devil, Scarlet Begonias, and Hell In a Bucket.

The Best of the Grateful Dead also highlights the original versions of songs that would later become staples of the band’s transcendent concerts, such as Truckin’, China Cat Sunflower, Uncle John’s Band, and Fire On the Mountain. Perhaps the best example is Dark Star. The rare single version included here is only two-and-a-half minutes long. On stage, the Dead transformed the song into an improvisational showcase that often stretched out for 30 minutes. The longest song found on the collection is the 16-minute Terrapin Station. Released in 1977, this suite of songs (an entire album side) is widely considered to be the Dead’s magnum opus. Of course the set wouldn’t be complete without Touch of Grey, the band’s only hit single, which cracked the Billboard Top Ten in 1987. 

2015 is already shaping up to be an epic year thanks to news of the original members reuniting for three final shows at Chicago’s Soldier Field this July dubbed Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead. A documentary about the Grateful Dead from award-winning filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev and executive producer Martin Scorsese has also been announced.