The grateful dead dancing bears have been around a long time, and have found a permanent spot in the music culture. The meaning and story behind them is very interesting to the deadhead culture.
The Grateful Dead Bears have fourteen different generations. Each of these bears has a special symbolic the event of either a Grateful Dead song or a tribute to a bandmember. All of the generations of bear have become a great symbol to the Grateful Dead scene as well as a hip status of a fun loving sprit. Furthermore, many of these bears have become a great memory of different Grateful Dead tours. The most interesting of these generations is the first, second, and third because of unique symbolic reasons.
The first generation has eleven bears. The first generation has become known as Jester Collar because of the Merry Pranksters. The band Warlocks played for the Soquel event and it has been said that this was there last performance before becoming what we know as the Grateful Dead. It has also been mentioned by Jerry Garcia that the Pranksters were the best audience the Grateful Dead has ever had. An interesting tour memory of this generation is the Bear Bertha because of a concert at the Capital Theatre in New Jersey when John Belushi came out singing and doing cartwheels to US Blues.
The Second generation has ten bears. This generation was a tribute to the late Jerry Garcia. An interesting part of this generation was the bear Dupree. Dupree was based on a real event that happened in 1921 where a policeman was killed. This event to place in Atlanta and was a robbery of a jewelry store. Jerry Garcia had mentioned him and Hunter liked to muddy the folk tradition by adding their own version to their song. That is why the bands music is so unique and interesting to people of today.
The Third generation has twelve bears. This generation had the important tribute to the band member named Ronald McKernan also known as Pigpen. He got his nickname from his friend Roger who mentioned it was based on his funky approach to life. Pigpen was a very well blues singer which may have been why the bear was named blue man. Another interesting part was the event that happened at Woodstock Festival. A baby girl was born and was named Daisy which is how they came up with the bear Daisy. The generations of bears have really become a well know in the music history many of them have great meaning behind them whether it is about a tour you were at for yourself, a song lyric that has touch you in a special way, event in your life, or a tribute to one of the great members of the Grateful Dead.