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Grateful Dead Albums: The Best of the Rest

From Seventies and Eighties studio gems to top-shelf live recordings from throughout their career to Jerry Garcia’s finest solo record.

Photo illustration based on a photograph by GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty Images

The Grateful Dead are America’s greatest cosmic rock and roll band, but for listeners their voluminous recorded history can be a bit daunting — especially when you start wandering the forked paths of their seemingly bottomless live catalog. Earlier this year, Rolling Stone included the Dead’s pair of 1970 country-rock classics, Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty, on our list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. After you’ve scarfed down those landmark records (of if you already have), here are 10 more must-hear albums from throughout the band’s career.

Related: Grateful Dead Ultimate Album Guide

From Rolling Stone US

‘Wake of the Flood’ (1973)

Their first studio album after a series of live LPs, as well as the first after the death of Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, 1973’s Wake of the Flood found the band with a surfeit of great material, like the light-touch anthem “Here Comes Sunshine,” the languid country-rock entreaty “Row Jimmy,” and “Eyes of the World,” a dappled five-minute gem that would be stretched to 20 in coming years of elastic live jams. Moments like “Weather Report Suite,” also saw them exploring jazz-rock fusion, a clear break from the hippie-blues of the Pigpen era. Wake of the Flood might seem somewhat minor coming after landmarks like Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty but it’s a lovely transitional LP, the sound of the band easing into the Seventies. JD