Shakedown Street (1978)

Grateful Dead Shakedown Street album cover

Shakedown Street is the tenth studio album by the Grateful Dead, released on November 15, 1978. The album is notable for being the band's first studio album since 1975's Blues for Allah, and for featuring a more polished and accessible sound compared to their previous efforts.

The album's title track, "Shakedown Street," was written by Jerry Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter. The song was heavily influenced by disco and funk music, a departure from the band's traditional psychedelic rock sound. The track features a driving bass line and a catchy chorus, making it a fan favorite and a staple in the band's live performances.

Another standout track on the album is "I Need a Miracle," written by Bob Weir and lyricist John Barlow. The song features a catchy chorus and upbeat tempo, and has become a fan favorite and concert staple.

The album also features a number of slower, more introspective tracks, such as "If I Had the World to Give," written by Garcia and Hunter. The song features a beautiful melody and heartfelt lyrics, and is considered by many to be one of the band's most underrated tracks.

One of the most interesting aspects of Shakedown Street is the way the band incorporates different genres of music into their sound. In addition to disco and funk, the album also features elements of reggae ("Fire on the Mountain") and country ("From the Heart of Me"). This eclectic mix of styles was a hallmark of the band's live performances, and helped them to develop a devoted fanbase that spanned generations.

Despite its commercial success and critical acclaim, Shakedown Street remains a somewhat controversial album among Grateful Dead fans. Some see it as a bold and innovative departure from the band's earlier work, while others view it as a watered-down attempt to capitalize on the mainstream popularity of disco and funk music.

Regardless of one's opinion on the album, there's no denying the impact that Shakedown Street had on the band's career. The album marked a turning point in the band's sound and signaled a new era of experimentation and musical exploration. It also paved the way for the band's later commercial success, including their chart-topping hit "Touch of Grey" from the 1987 album In the Dark.

Shakedown Street is a fascinating and important album in the Grateful Dead's discography. It showcases the band's willingness to experiment with different genres and sounds, and features some of their most memorable and beloved tracks. While it may not be to everyone's taste, it remains a testament to the band's musical talent and enduring legacy.

Grateful Dead live in 1978