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The Very Best of Grateful Dead

4.5 out of 5 stars 178 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 16, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Time to bury your Skeletons in the Closet "best-of"-this one spans the Dead's years with Warner Bros., Grateful Dead Records and Arista! Includes Truckin'; Touch of Grey; Sugar Magnolia; Casey Jones; Box of Rain; Fire on the Mountain; U.S. Blues; Friend of the Devil; Franklin's Tower; One More Saturday Night , and more.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 16, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino Warner
  • ASIN: B0000C23DO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,781 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I have been a Deadhead for around 25 years. Any respectable Deadhead knows that you don't buy a Dead "best of", yet in this case I did. I own a nearly complete Dead collection. I am only missing "best ofs" & a couple of titles I just didn't care for. I have complete "Dicks Picks", "Vault collections" Hours of boot legs...why would I want this? I ignored it when it was first released and then realized that it contained exactly what I play when I am trying to turn "newbies" on to the band. Granted they are not the superior live versions, but the studio versions (which must be respected because they serve as the Skelton for the live body of work...OK, you can groan now). Anyway, I have found through the years that people not familiar with the band seem more accepting of the studio work when they are 1st adjusting to the Dead sound.
The collection itself draws largely from "American Beauty" (5 songs)which is the Studio Dead at it's acoustic best. Add "Eyes Of the world", "Fire on the Mountain" "Sugar Mag", "Franklins Tower" and "the Music Never Stopped" and you can't go wrong. Yes, there are numerous songs that could have been put on this, but this serves as a sample from which to grow from. As w/ any Rhino release, the sound and package are exquisite. If you like what you hear here then it's time for you to start exploring the many live releases.
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Format: Audio CD
The Rhino/Warner Brothers compilation "The Very Best of The Grateful Dead" is the first to span the band's entire career in a single disc. It is also the first Dead compilation to encompass material from different record labels. So not only is the Dead's formative years with Warner Bros. covered, material from Arista and United Artists labels are also included.
This CD includes the Grateful Dead's most commercial material and its best known hits such as the signature classics "Truckin'", "Uncle John's Band", "Box Of Rain" and "Ripple" as well as their only top 40 smash "Touch Of Grey" from 1986.
Elsewhere are Deadhead favorites such as "Estimated Prophet", "Franklin's Tower", "Fire On The Mountain" and "U.S. Blues".
This is only one side of The Grateful Dead. The bands other side is what they are better known for - extended jams. Unfortunately "The Very Best Of" does not capture the bands improvisational and experimental side. It does however display the Dead's diverse range and their ability to craft radio-friendly material flawlessly and effortlessly.
This compilation is highly recommended for beginning Deadheads who'd like to hear the more commercial side of the band. For their improvisational side, "Live/Dead" is an excellent place to start. For their more experimental work, check out "Anthem Of The Sun", "Aoxomoxoa" or "Blues For Allah". These albums as well as this compilation provide a well-rounded textbook for those starting their collection of Dead recordings.
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Format: Audio CD
In my opinion, only a handful of bands in history deserve a compilation that includes the words, "The Very Best of" in their title (to this day it is overused), but ignoring that fact, the Grateful Dead are certainly one of them. Here you get seventeen tracks, filling up almost 80 minutes of their music. When I first got this a couple of summers ago, I gave it a good listen and loved it.

Pros:

A lot of good things can be said about this CD. The music, compilation itself, artwork, photos, liner notes, etc. are all very well done. It even gives you a discography and complete list of band members! Talk about a good way to keep yourself busy for a while. They also give you an order form for Dead merchandise.

Cons:

In terms of the music, none, but then again, no complaints in general. Deadheads could probably think of a couple of tracks to add here (Dark Star, Wharf Rat) but if that was the case, this would have to lead to be a dual-disc compilation. Still, as a single-disc, this is near-perfect.

Standout/ Favorite Tracks Of Mine:

"Truckin'": Fantastic Dead track, filled with great music and lyrics, of course, one of the famous "American Beauty" tracks. What's ironic about this song is that while it's the opener here, it's the closing song on "AB", or so I believe.

"Touch of Grey": From one of their last albums, In The Dark (1987). Catchy, with a landscape of instruments and very psychedelic lyrics. That may not come to a surprise, considering ITD was released after Jerry Garcia was in the hospital, in a coma (which possibly explains the album title/cover)

"Sugar Magnolia": It's too bad I never listen to this song much, anymore, because it's great.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've never been a "Dead Head". Had no desire to see them in concert and never bought an album...until now. I was listening to the "Classic Rock" radio station when "Ripple" came on. I was humming it to myself thinking, " What a great tune this is". I logged on to my favorite on-line music source and checked out the selections and decided that it's time to chuck my attitude. Sure it's entertaining to make fun of Dead Heads, but This is a band that was an instrumental part of the sixties and not to be overlooked. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed hearing all those cherries, aside from "Touch Of Gray" I like every song on the disc. I think this is the must-have choice for anyone who's NOT a Dead-Head, but still likes their tunes.
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