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Grateful Dead Tribute Album Could Break HIV Fundraising Records

Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National

The 5-hour, 59-track album features artists from Mumford & Sons to Wilco, and Courtney Barnett to The National.

Day of the Deadis a love letter to the Grateful Dead, curated by The National rockers Aaron and Bryce Dessner. A tribute to the eclectic and iconic band from the era of psychedelic music, the album took four years to collect and compile.

Featuring over sixty artists from a variety of musical backgrounds, (including Mumford & Sons, Wilco, Courtney Barnett, and The National) the set reinterprets the songs and sounds of the Dead for a whole new generation. 

A project of Red Hot, the international organization dedicated to fighting HIV  through pop culture, Day of the Dead,  is expected to break the organization’s previous fundraising records.


Day of the Grateful Dead album coverThe creative team behind the project had their work cut out for them, and their love for the Dead shows through, particularly in the details of the limited edition 10-record LP release; with every record colored and stylized in an aesthetic evocative of the turbulent era that they helped define. Also included with the vinyl set of Day of the Dead is an essay to the listener from John Carlin, founder of Red Hot. The letter underscores the place of the Grateful Dead in the post-war American musical scene, and it also serves as a reminder of the significance of HIV on our society.

“There remain roughly 35 million people infected with HIV in 2016," Carlin writes. "Most in the Global South who still don’t have access to drugs that could allow them to live healthy lives and prevent the spread of the disease. The Grateful Dead and all of the artists on this album generously donated their music so that all net proceeds will help organizations around the world prevent the spread of HIV and fight related health and social issues.”

Since 1989, Red Hot has brought together hundreds of artists for tribute albums, concerts, and related events; and they've raised more than 10 million dollars for HIV treatment and prevention.

Day Of The Dead is the latest of 20 such projects by Red Hot, with previous compilations covering genres such as country, bossa nova, indie rock, and tributes to great artists like Duke Ellington and J.S. Bach.

A sample of Day Of The Dead can be found on Spotify, and more information about the project is available here. CDs and vinyl records — along with digital versions — can be purchased through Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.

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