Happy 45th: Grateful Dead, EUROPE ‘72
Just this past weekend, The Grateful Dead celebrated the 45th anniversary of one of the first triple-record rock albums to ever go gold
Picture it: Europe, 1972. When the Dead headed overseas for their 1972 tour, they did so with a slightly different lineup than they’d had before. For one thing, Mickey Hart had stepped out, leaving Bill Kreutzmann as the lone drummer within the band’s ranks, but keyboardist Keith Godchaux was also in the mix, having stepped in to help out the ailing Ron “Pigpen” McKernan. Godchaux’s wife Donna was with him, too, serving as a backup vocalist for the band.
What’s notable about EUROPE ’72 is that it featured the debut of several songs that were performed live but never received a studio recording, a decision which certainly served to cement the importance of the Dead’s concerts over their albums. Granted, some of the live performances on the album did end up receiving a certain amount of studio overdubs, but you get the idea: the Dead were a live band first and foremost.
EUROPE ’72 ultimately went double platinum, and it became such a popular album in the Dead’s discography that it led to an eventual sequel in 2011 featuring further performances from the ’72 tour. More importantly, though, 2011 also saw the release of EUROPE ’72: THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS, a mega box set featuring all 22 shows from the tour which spans 73 CDs. It is, as you might guess, one of those of items that every Deadhead wishes they could afford to own, but at least they’ve still got the original triple-album set for their listening enjoyment.
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