Keith Godchaux

keith godchauxKeith Richard Godchaux (July 19, 1948 - July 23, 1980) was a musician best known for his tenure in the rock group the Grateful Dead. Keith Godchaux was born in Seattle, Washington and grew up in Concord, California. He met and married Donna Jean Godchaux in 1970; their son Zion, of the band BoomBox, was born in 1974.

The couple introduced themselves to Jerry Garcia at concert in 1971. At the time, Godchaux had been appearing with Dave Mason (formerly of Traffic). He was also known to Betty Cantor-Jackson, a Grateful Dead sound engineer. His first show with the Dead was October 19, 1971 at the Northrop Auditorium at the University of Minnesota, filling in for a hospitalized Ron Pigpen McKernan.

In 1972 and for much of his career, Godchaux played acoustic piano; however, he played the Fender Rhodes frequently in 1973 and 1974. During his tenure with the Dead his only written contribution and lead vocal was: Let Me Sing Your Blues Away and From Wake of the Flood. It was only performed five times in 1973. Godchaux was replaced by Brent Mydland in 1979.

Godchaux also appeared with the New Riders of the Purple Sage. Subsequently, he co-wrote songs with Lowell George (of Little Feat) and Robert Hunter, after Godchaux's time with the Grateful Dead, he and his wife formed The Heart of Gold Band. Godchaux died in an automobile accident in Marin County, California, in July 1980, at the age of 32.