Following the Grateful Dead's Workingman's Dead 50th anniversary reissue (and studio tapes) from earlier this year comes a 50th anniversary reissue for the Dead's other 1970 studio album, American Beauty. Like the Workingman's reissue, it comes with a live concert recording from their February 1971 run at Port Chester, NY's Capitol Theatre (the 2/18/71 show), and you can hear "Truckin'" from that show now below. The album was also newly remastered and it includes liner notes by David Browne, who wrote So Many Roads: The Life and Times of the Grateful Dead.

"It has some of the first things I’ve written, and that we’ve performed as a band, that in my opinion are genuinely beautiful," the late Jerry Garcia said of the album. "We were in the studio, creating this thing, pullin’ together, and because we managed to get off under those circumstances the music has a certain quality."

In a recent essay for Vinyl Me, Please's Dead box set, My Morning Jacket's Jim James said American Beauty was "for me, the grand gateway arch into the wide, weird world of the Grateful Dead."

"I popped American Beauty into my CD walkman and pressed play," Jim said of the album. "Something about it, for the first time, started to hit me. The possibility of it all…I’ve always been into a wide variety of music, but there was just something about this music I had never felt before. I listened to the album two or three times that night just taking it in, living in its world, and loving it, trying to understand what this feeling was. It wasn’t happy, nor was it sad. Yet, it reflected the presence and possibility of every emotion in the rainbow, and the recording was unbelievable. The talent and musicianship were undeniable. The lyrics melted my mind."

Various pre-order options (including a picture disc and a red, white and blue colored vinyl) here. Some photos of the different editions below.


Grateful Dead Studio Albums Ranked Worst to Best