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MUS 49 — Psychedelia and Groove: The Music and Culture of the Grateful Dead

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Jan 22—Mar 4
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 24
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $405
Instructor(s): David Gans
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on February 19
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Jan 22—Mar 4
6 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 24
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
David Gans
Please Note: No class on February 19
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
The Grateful Dead's groundbreaking fusion of music, counterculture, and community engagement forged an enduring legacy that transcends generations while shaping the evolution of music and cultural expression. Fresh off the farewell performance of Dead & Company in San Francisco in July, this course invites students to delve into the phenomenon that is the Grateful Dead through a captivating exploration of the band's history, music, and cultural impact.

The course will start by tracing the band’s evolution, from its humble beginnings to its legendary status as one of the most influential bands in music history. We will explore the band's formation, the early San Francisco music scene, its unique approach to touring, and the various eras of its existence. We’ll next embark on a sonic journey through the band's diverse and ever-evolving musical catalog. Students will dissect the distinctive blend of rock, folk, blues, and improvisation that defined the Grateful Dead's sound.

Finally, we’ll examine the band’s cultural impact on society, diving into the band's connection to art, literature, and social change, as well as its unique fan culture and the phenomenon of the "Deadhead." By the end of the course, students will have a well-rounded appreciation for the roots, struggles, and milestones that shaped the Grateful Dead’s trajectory, an understanding of its profound impact on music and culture, and insight into a legacy that still resonates deeply today.

Guest speakers for this course will include Steve Silberman, who was featured in the documentary Long Strange Trip and is a regular voice on the Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast. He is also a co-author of Skeleton Key: A Dictionary for Deadheads.

Please read at least one of the books listed below.

Musician; Author; Radio Producer and Host

David Gans has been curating Grateful Dead music on the radio since 1985 as the producer and host of the nationally syndicated Grateful Dead Hour. Since 2008, he has been a co-host of Tales from the Golden Road, a two-hour weekly talk show on SiriusXM’s Grateful Dead Channel. Gans is the author of five books about the Grateful Dead. He has also produced several boxed sets and compilation albums of Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia music.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Blair Jackson & David Gans, This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead (ISBN 978-1250098160)
(Recommended) Peter Richardson, No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead (ISBN 978-1250082145 )
(Recommended) Dennis McNally, A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead (ISBN 978-0767911863)