July 1977: Grateful Dead Release TERRAPIN STATION

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

It was the summer of 1977, and the Grateful Dead was on a roll. In April of that year, the Dead stunned New York City with a decidedly focused five-night stand at the Palladium. We came out really Mickey Hart remembered of the band's spring '77 tour to Rolling Stone in 2013. "'Estimated Prophet,' 'Fire on the Mountain' - it was fresh meat, and we were ready to play those things. It was perfect timing."

"It's as close to a flawless Grateful Dead tour as I've ever heard," marveled band archivist David Lemieux. "There were no train wrecks."

That energy flowed over to Terrapin Station, released on July 27, 1977. It was the Dead's first record for Clive Davis and Arista Records, with Keith Olsen tapped to serve as producer. Olsen had been picked from the crop due to his work on the Fleetwood Mac album, "and Weir spent a little time talking to him," Jerry Garcia explained during an interview in the fall of 1977.

"When you're producing a group, you're dealing with the interior dynamics of the group," Garcia added. "There's a lot to it. You have to be psychologically involved; you have to be emotionally involved. You have to know what's going on, and you have to be on top of it. Olsen is a real good producer, as far as I'm concerned."

The Terrapin Station LP struck a chord with Deadheads and beyond, as it trucked up the charts to peak at #28 over the week of October 1, 1977. The #1 album in America that week: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.

"It actually sounds like a record," Garcia raved to Rolling Stone before Terrapin Station hit the streets. "People won't believe it's us." Added Weir: "It's the Dead without all those wrong notes."