The Grateful Dead were one of the most fascinating rock bands and cultural phenomena of the 20th century. Despite having few mainstream or Top 40 hits, over the 30 years of their history they acquired a dedicated following of fans, known as "Deadheads", mostly through their live performances. Known for their creative use of narcotics, and of course for their inspired musical experiments with its long improvisations, fusing blues, folk, and country, the Grateful Dead were more than just a fun-loving rock band; they were more like a religion or a cult.Although they formally disbanded in 1995 after lead singer Jerry Garcia's untimely death, "The Dead"'s legacy and its fans live on through a host of writings, tributes, biographies, fan magazines, online discussion groups and web sites. This is the band's official story. Not just a rock biography, it amounts to a wider portrait of America's West Coast in the days of Acid Tests, Magic Buses and Merry Pranksters: a psychedelic, high-octane close encounter of the long-haired kind.