Happy Birthday Bill Kreutzmann: 1-Drummer Grateful Dead Spotify Playlist

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Drummer Bill Kreutzmann celebrates his 74th birthday today. A co-founding member of the Grateful Dead, Kreutzmann maintains membership in Dead & Company and in other projects like Billy & The Kids who were set to reunite last week before COVID-19 shut down concerts.

For much of his time performing with the Grateful Dead and currently with Dead & Co., Billy K has been accompanied by his longtime beat brother and fellow Rhythm Devil Mickey Hart. Other times, such as with Billy & The Kids and for parts of the Grateful Dead’s career, Kreutzmann has been behind the kit as the lone percussionist onstage. In celebration of his birthday today, a Spotify Playlist was compiled focusing on the eras of the Grateful Dead when the lineup featured Billy as the only drummer.

Two days ago marked the 55th anniversary of the first live appearance by the band known at the time as The Warlocks, when they held a concert at Magoo’s Pizza Parlor in Menlo Park, California. The group would soon change names, as Kreutzmann, guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh and keyboardist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan took on the Grateful Dead moniker.

After meeting Kreutzmann in early-1967 at a Count Basie concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco, Hart made his debut with the Dead at the Starlight Theater on September 29, 1967, becoming an official member soon after. Hart’s tenure in the band was disrupted following an incident in which his father Lenny Hart, who was hired to manage the band, was found to have stolen at least $70,000 from their earnings.

Mickey played with the Dead on the opening night of a run at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York on February 18, 1971 and then took a hiatus that lasted until the final night of their run at The Winterland on October 20, 1974. During that time, Pigpen departed the band before his untimely death and keyboardist Keith Godchaux and eventually his wife, vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux, became fulltime members of the Grateful Dead.

The playlist below features a sequential Spotify Playlist comprised of officially released live recordings of the pre-September 1967 single-drummer era and the early-1971 to late-1974 one-drummer era of the Grateful Dead. Check out the playlist below:

JamBase Live Video Archive
JamBase Live Video Archive