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Classic Albums - The Grateful Dead: Anthem to Beauty


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Grateful Dead are a unique phenomenon. One of the most successful live touring bands in the world, their longevity is founded on their desire to play music their way, coupled with an extraordinarily close relationship to their huge following. From Anthem to Beauty tells the story of the band and their journey from the experimental "Anthem of the Sun" (recorded in 1967/1968) to the accessible, countryish "American Beauty." It is told in the band's own words and includes a rare interview with lyricist Robert Hunter. The film also features a wealth of rare vintage film footage of the Grateful Dead in their prime, including television appearances, home videos, and classic recordings like "Ripple," "Box of Rain," "Truckin'," and "Mountains of the Moon," and it all adds up to a riveting portrait of one of the rock world's most controversial bands. 75 minutes.

Amazon.com

This installment of the Classic Albums series follows the making of two Grateful Dead albums, the fiercely experimental Anthem of the Sun and the understated masterwork American Beauty, which spawned melodic gems like "Sugar Magnolia" and "Ripple." Between the archival scenes and contemporary interviews with band members, the DVD shows a band making seismic inroads in pop music--and five young guys coming to terms with artistry, mortality, and, yes, the pursuit of happiness. There is priceless footage of Neal Cassady driving Ken Kesey's bus and of the Dead, surrounded by martini-sipping hipsters, on Playboy After Dark. The best scenes involve band members talking about specific songs (you will never hear Phil Lesh's "Box of Rain" again without thinking of it as a gift to his dying father) or deconstructing a tune by playing each track separately. Intimate and surprisingly cohesive, Anthem to Beauty is a rare glimpse into how the Dead's magic was made. --Anne Hurley

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Grateful Dead, Classic Albums
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Rhino
  • DVD Release Date: May 18, 1999
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305320608
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,704 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Classic Albums - The Grateful Dead: Anthem to Beauty" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
60%
4 star
28%
3 star
12%
2 star
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1 star
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See all 25 customer reviews
One of my favorite Dead videos ever.
Rick Brenner
Similarly, I typically find music documentaries and that kind of thing to usually be way below my expectations and often more annoying than anything else.
Glenn Hall
Fairly cheap & they make great presents.
Jacktavish

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Marco D Bruno on November 22, 1999
Format: DVD
This is not a concert video, nor does it contain any complete songs. It is a documentary of the studio process of creating these albums and interviews with the band on the inpiration for these songs. For me, this was wonderful (especially the interviews with Hunter and Lesh), just dont expect any playin'.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Scott Davis on May 23, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This video details the Grateful Dead's evolution in the studio from experimenting and learning (at Warner Brother's expense) about the recording process to applying that knowledge to American Beauty, in my opinion their best studio album ever. Phil Lesh takes the viewer on a tour through 16-track cuts of both the albums. David Grisman demonstrates mandolin parts he would have liked to played on the rest of Ripple. Robert Hunter talks about writing the lyrics for the songs on American Beauty. Video include rare footage from Hugh Hefner1s television show of Jerry and T.C. playing Mountains of the Moon and the band performing Saint Stephen. The down side is the songs are not complete. I like documentaries and the Dead so I loved this video. If you are looking for Concert footage better choices would by Downhill From Here or View From The Vault.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
This tape combines archival stills and film footage of the early years of the Dead (1967-1971) and great video soundbites from most of the members of the Dead, as well as Dennis McNally. Best scene is with Phil Lesh sitting at the console with the original 16-track tapes of "Anthem of the Sun" and "American Beauty" playing individual tracks, and commenting on the experiences during the recordings. Deadhead GOLD!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul S. Remington TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 4, 2003
Format: DVD
This DVD profiles two of the Dead's early studio releases. Both releases differ greatly in approach. This documentary captures these differences while showing the creative growth of the band as a whole.
Anthem of the Sun is an explorative work that attempts to emulate the essence of a live Dead show. The studio sessions were somewhat chaotic and offered the Dead more of an education on how to make an album than a relaxed setting in which to focus on songwriting.
American Beauty is centered on the art of songwriting, lyricism, solid vocals and harmonies. Less emphasis is given to soloing. They abandon the psychedelic explorations of the studio in favor of returning to their roots and drawing upon the country and bluegrass influences that run so deep.
A beautiful picture is drawn of the band's creative process through old footage shot in the studio during the recording of both albums, on the road while on tour, and rare footage from their early days in San Francisco. Interviews with Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Robert Hunter and others fill-in the gaps of a unique period in the band's history. Produced after Garcia's death, some interviews become emotional. Jerry does appear many times through earlier interview footage.
This is a must have for any Dead fan and a wonderful introduction for budding fans.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Richard Federici on January 28, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I laughed out loud quite a few times while watching this superb DVD; nearly cried once or twice. The music, of course, is excellent, and my foot was tapping throughout. Great footage & storytelling of the Grateful Dead's earlier years.

I was pleasantly surpised by this disc!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By gratefulshrink on July 20, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I think I originally saw this when it aired on PBS. I may have missed the beginning, but it was so good, that I had to track down my own copy. What makes this documentary so good is that it really gives you an insider's look at what went into making these early albums. It also has some moving personal moments, such as when Phil Lesh desribes his father's illness in relation to the song, "Box of Rain". This is a must-have for any fans of early Dead.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. C. Smith on November 20, 2000
Format: DVD
I bought this knowing what I was getting and I enjoyed what it does have. Probably not for the grizzled dead head that toured with them and lived the lifestyle. For the fans that really like the music and don't know a lot of the behind the scene stuff, this is a good DVD with some good information and home videos. Rhino should have packaged and labeled it different. That is why I deduct one star.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Blank on December 22, 2005
Format: DVD
I was spellbound by this when I got it. Great archvial footage, interviews with the band, and just a great look at their transformation from Anthem of the Sun to American Beauty (hence the title). Includes live footage, studio footage, and them talking about track layers, and how a lot of the songs came together (including Robert Hunter talking about his inspiration with a lot of classic songs). I especially loved when Robert Hunter talked about going to London for the first time and the songs that came from his first few hours there (hint: Ripple is one of them!) Pick this up, light up and kick back. Heartwarming.
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