Grateful Dead is the seventh album by the Grateful Dead, released in October 1971 on Warner Bros. Records, catalogue 2WS-1935. It is their second live double album, and also known generally by the names Skull and Roses (due to its iconic cover art) and Skull Fuck (the name the band originally wanted to give to the album, which was rejected by the record company).

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Inside cover


While mainly a live album, there were a few overdubs including the doctoring of lead and background vocals. For the three new band originals "Bertha", "Playing in the Band", and "Wharf Rat", the band invited Jerry Garcia associate Merl Saunders to overdub an organ part. This made the organ playing of Saunders more prominent than that of Pigpen, whose organ contributions tend to be buried in the mix.

"Playing in the Band" received a good amount of airplay, and became one of the Dead's most played songs in concerts.[1]The closing segue of "Not Fade Away" into "Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad" also received airplay and became a fan favorite. "Wharf Rat" provided the name for the Wharf Rats, a group of Dead concert-goers who remain drug and alcohol free.

The album's cover art, composed by Alton Kelly and Stanley Mouse, is based on an illustration by Edmund Joseph Sullivan for an old edition of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. In its original issue on vinyl, this album also has the first acknowledgment by the band for its legion of fans, referred to as "Dead freaks" within an invitation to contact the band.

Track listingEdit

  1. "Bertha" (Garcia, Hunter) – 5:40
  2. "Mama Tried" (Haggard) – 2:42
  3. "Big Railroad Blues" (Lewis) – 3:33
  4. "Playing in the Band" (Weir, Hunter) – 4:30
  5. "The Other One" (Kreutzmann, Weir) – 18:03
  6. "Me and My Uncle" (Phillips) – 3:03
  7. "Big Boss Man" (Smith, Dixon) – 5:11
  8. "Me and Bobby McGee" (Kristofferson, Foster) – 5:43
  9. "Johnny B. Goode" (Berry) – 3:41
  10. "Wharf Rat" (Garcia, Hunter) – 8:31
  11. "Not Fade Away" (Holly, Petty) / "Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad" (traditional) – 9:12

Bonus material

  1. "Oh, Boy!" (Sonny West, Bill Tilghman, Petty) – 2:50
  2. "I'm a Hog for You" (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) – 4:08
  3. Grateful Dead radio spot – 1:00


Grateful DeadEdit

Additional musiciansEdit

  • Merl Saunders - organ on "Bertha", Playing in the Band", and "Wharf Rat"


Recording datesEdit

  • "Johnny B. Goode" recorded at Winterland, San Francisco on March 24, 1971
  • "Big Railroad Blues" and "Not Fade Away / Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad" recorded at Manhattan Center, New York on April 5, 1971
  • "Playing in the Band", "Oh, Boy!" and "I'm a Hog for You" recorded at Manhattan Center, New York on April 6, 1971
  • "Mama Tried", "Big Boss Man" and "Wharf Rat" recorded at Fillmore East, New York on April 26, 1971
  • "Bertha" and "Me and Bobby McGee" recorded at Fillmore East, New York on April 27, 1971
  • "The Other One" recorded at Fillmore East, New York on April 28, 1971
  • "Me and My Uncle" recorded at Fillmore East, New York on April 29, 1971