Happy birthday, Jerry Garcia! He would have turned 77 on August 1 (he died in 1995). This is one of my favorite late ’60s time-capsule performances, from the Grateful Dead’s amusing and amazing 1969 appearance on the Playboy After Dark TV program, which was sort of like a weekly staged party hosted by debonair, pipe-smoking, Playboy magazine founder/editor Hugh Hefner. The story goes that some prankster in the Dead’s camp dosed some of the on-set refreshments with LSD, making for a very strange conclusion to the taping and the aftermath of the faux TV party, though that’s not apparent in this clip. Here, after a short chat with “Hef,” Garcia and Bob Weir pick up acoustic guitars and lead the Dead (including Tom Constanten on atmospheric harpsichord) through a pretty version of Garcia and Robert Hunter’s “Mountains of the Moon,” the concluding track on their then-new album, Aoxomoxoa (a deluxe 50th anniversary edition of which was just recently released). —Blair Jackson


Advertisement