Today, the Grateful Dead have broken the record for most Billboard Top 40 albums of all time, by any act in history. Further cementing the legendary band as one of the world's most treasured musical and social phenomena, Dave's Picks Vol. 49 debuts at #25 on this week's Billboard 200, and marks the Dead's 59th album in the Top 40. On the heels of Dave's Picks Vol. 48, which tied both Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley's chart records this past fall, the latest edition of the beloved 13-year-old series pushes the group into a category of one. But beyond this staggering statistic, the historic achievement serves as a tangible testament to the enduring connection between the Grateful Dead and their ever-expanding audience. Nearly 60 years since the band's inception, that bond is as strong today as it has ever been, spanning several generations and bringing newer and younger followers into its fold every day. As fans continue to adopt the group as part of their personal identity, the Grateful Dead's all-encompassing ecosystem continues on its precedent-setting path of growth in the modern era.
Dave's Picks Vol. 49 consists of two complete Grateful Dead shows from Stanford University's Frost Amphitheatre on 4/27/85 and 4/28/85; back-to-back hometown performances that reaffirmed the band – then twenty years into their immortal run – as a San Francisco institution. Like each of Dave's Picks quarterly installments, the top-grade, beautifully packaged compendium was produced and curated by Grateful Dead Legacy Manager and Audio Archivist, David Lemieux. Vol. 49 is Dave's Picks' 41st title to enter the Top 40 and the Grateful Dead's 45th Top 40 record released by Rhino Entertainment. It also debuts #1 on Billboard's Top Album Sales this week, marking the first time the Dead have topped that chart.
"This could be the most unlikely and unexpected record in music history, and is a testament to a few things," says David Lemieux, who celebrates his 25th Anniversary with the Grateful Dead in 2024. "First and foremost is the exceptional and consistent quality of the Grateful Dead's more than 2,000 live shows. On the heels of this is the loyalty and passion of the many Dead Heads who have made this record possible. And to top it off, the Grateful Dead have a partnership with Rhino that ensures these many album releases are produced with care, love, and respect for both the band's music and legacy, and the Dead Heads themselves. It's an honour and privilege to work for this community, and our aim is to keep building on this record by delivering the quality of recordings Dead Heads have come to expect for many years ahead."
Mark Pinkus, President of Rhino, adds, "It is truly remarkable to witness the Grateful Dead's enduring legacy and profound impact. Their music and culture transcend time, and this groundbreaking achievement is a testament to their ongoing influence. Rhino is honored to continue to share their meaningful and magical music with Dead Heads, both old and new."
"This remarkable achievement speaks not only to the genius and vision of the Grateful Dead, it is also a reminder of their truly epic live shows that reinterpreted their great American songbook every single time they took the stage! Simply put, this is another incredible milestone for a band who has never compromised, and has always done everything on their own terms," says Bernie Cahill, Founding Partner, Activist Artists Management and manager of the Grateful Dead.
With the impending release of Dave's Picks Vol. 50 (Palladium, New York City - 5/3/77), in addition to 50th Anniversary reissues, high-fidelity vinyl pressings, a new season of the Good Ol' Grateful Deadcast and so much more on the horizon in 2024, the Grateful Dead remain committed to serving their always-growing community and time-honored traditions, with a pioneering devotion to complete accessibility.