Grateful Dead Appears On ‘Playboy After Dark’ In 1969

Watch Jerry Garcia and his bandmates perform "Mountains Of The Moon" and "St. Stephen."

By Andy Kahn Jan 18, 2022 6:25 am PST

Today marks the 53rd anniversary of the Grateful Dead‘s set for the Playboy After Dark television program. Below is an article published on September 28, 2017, one day after the death of Playboy After Dark host Hugh Hefner. Check out upgraded video of the Dead’s appearance on the show.

Playboy magazine founder and former editor and publisher Hugh Hefner died yesterday at the age of 91. Hefner’s enterprises had an undeniable impact on the radically changing American cultural landscape of the 1960s and 1970s. Hefner hosted Playboy After Dark, a television program that aired from 1969 to 1970, and featured a memorable appearance by the Grateful Dead.

The Dead’s episode of Playboy After Dark taped in Los Angeles on January 18, 1969. The set at CBS Television City was a replica of Hefner’s Playboy mansion in Chicago. Other episodes featured musical guests such as James Brown, Joe Cocker, Sammy Davis Jr., Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac, Grand Funk Railroad, Iron Butterfly, Harry Nilsson, Buddy Rich, Linda Ronstadt, Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Ike & Tina Turner and others.

Drummer Bill Kreutzmann detailed the band’s experience filming Playboy After Dark during an appearance on Conan. The Rhythm Devil explained how the band’s sound engineer and LSD manufacturer Owsley “Bear” Stanley dosed the communal coffee pot that was on set. Here’s Billy telling the story:

Kreutzmann, guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, drummer Mickey Hart and keyboardists Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Tom Constanten made up the Grateful Dead lineup at the time of the taping in 1969. The episode featured Jerry and Hef chatting about the Haight Ashbury scene prior to Jerry, Bobby and TC performing an acoustic “Mountains Of The Moon.” The full band then joined in on an electric rendition of “St. Stephen,” all of which can be viewed here:


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