The Birth Chart of The Grateful Dead

Posted by Eric F Coppolino


In tonight’s edition, read the birth chart of the Grateful Dead, and explain its relationship to the peak astrology of the 1960s. I also I cover the Capricorn Full Moon. As promised in today’s newsletter, here’s an article on the Cap Moon that’s been a favorite for many years. Then I cover several Supreme Court decisions from last week and this week. Here’s the text of Supreme Court death penalty ruling and dissents.

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Read more in Solstice Fire and the Art of Service, by Eric Francis.

Original lineup of The Grateful Dead: from left, Jerry, Bill, Pigpen, Phil, Bob.

Original lineup of The Grateful Dead: from left, Jerry, Bill, Pigpen, Phil, Bob.


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In tonight’s edition, I cover the Capricorn Full Moon. As promised in today’s newsletter, here’s an article on the Cap Moon that’s been a favorite for many years. I also cover the chart of the first Grateful Dead concert and play lots of their music. Then I cover several Supreme Court decisions from last week and this week. Additional research on the SCOTUS rulings: Fe Bongolan, Amy Elliot who compiled this list and left her name off!, Lisa Gatto, Kathi Linehan, Michael Mayes, Len Wallick and Lizanne Webb. Here’s the text of the Supreme Court death penalty ruling and dissents.


Here’s the link for the annotated Grateful Dead lyrics.

12 thoughts on “The Birth Chart of The Grateful Dead

  1. Amy Elliott

    That is one hell of a chart. Action on all four angles. Angular nodes. And several points adding up to one big picture: this band follows no rules. They set their own standards.

    BTW, Eric, your speech on death qualification is worthy of Olbermann.

  2. Cowboyiam

    I’ve always had a great attraction to the Dead Heads (and the scene) who followed GD around – even as I have been late to actually get the music. I lately feel a kinship and desire more exposure.

    Having seen a few documentaries – both professional and amateur – where one of the premises is that you can only experience GD live because they never played any song the same twice.

    I doubt that that is absolute but I also assume there is truth in it. Have they ever done a live album and if so do you have a recommendation for me to find it? I really like this last compilation you shared.

    1. chief niwot's sonchief niwot's son

      The Grateful Dead never played a song the same way twice, this is true. They were influenced by both the Jazz tradition (Miles Davis, John Coltrane) which valued improvisation; and the bluegrass tradition in which players know the songs not from fixed charts, but from memory, and will play it differently with different groups of players.

      Live Albums: Start with” Europe ’72” as it gives a nice representation of the range of their playing, and was recording on their Spring Tour of Europe in 1972, considered one of their peak performance years. There is plenty more after that, as the GD have pioneered the release of archival live recordings, and have over 50 live releases that cover the breadth of their career. To celebrate their 50th Anniversary this year they are releasing an 80-CD retrospective with a live concert from each of their 30 years of active touring. “The Music Never Stopped!”

      1. DaveDavina

        It should also be mentioned, as the Dead were cool with their fans taping shows – to the extent that they used to designate areas at gigs for them to record from – that there is a vast amount of live stuff in circulatuion. Have a look here:

        where there should be enough downloadable stuff to keep you happy for a long time – there are soundboard recordings here too, but you can only stream them now.

          1. VICTORIA KRAY

            Yes! Exactly…..they definitely were Pioneers of the Aquarian age in this regard particularly.

  3. Eric Francis Post author

    For newcomers, accessibility is important.

    My top picks are:

    FOR THE FAITHFUL (also called RECKONING, live acoustic from 1980)

    ONE FROM THE VAULT (mellow live electric from 1975, sampled here)

    DICK’S PICKS 10 (infamous live electric show from 1977, sampled here)

  4. Michael MayesMichael Mayes

    I’ve discovered a new appreciation for The Grateful Dead since listening to PW FM, no doubt. I wonder what it will take to get the masses behind banning the death penalty.

  5. Eric Francis Post author

    Still working on Eyes of the World 2.0 — the second go around 18 months after learning it the first time. The song has three regions, maybe four — an intro section, the verse, the chorus and a jam progression. It switches keys from E to G several times. So it’s a good piece to learn to move through the scales doing improvised solos as the chord changes.

    The key to this is having scales in different keys that are close to one another, so you can squirm (for example) from B a major arpeggio to B minor pentatonic scale (a stripped down basic scale) in a single note — usually a half step.

    Playing like this is why Jerry Garcia was known as a chromatic player — that is, the equivalent of playing in half steps, using many “black” and “white” keys (their equivalents) on the fretboard.

    It’s part of what makes his playing so interesting, including how deftly he’s able to go out of key — playing notes that just don’t belong there but work beautifully. He was willing to take a lot of chances that way and created some excellent effects doing so.

    But another thing he’s doing very well is making the guitar make unusual sounds, known as timbres (the quality and shape of the sound). You can hear this more during an intense electric show (such as the medley at the end of the program). If I can find an example of this I will play it for you.



    Been listening to your perspective Eric for 15 years or more now…and I’ve never been prouder. Between my mega-forever-crush on the Grateful Dead and this epic journalism, you made my day! I even listened 2x. And the bonus dance jam at the end made me REALLY nostalgic and happy. Kicking myself that I wasn’t in Chicago, but alas, I appreciated the trip down Memory Lane…and the reminder that THE DEAD are still alive.

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