Grateful Dead Break Record for Most Top 40 Albums

The band's archivist says it "could be the most unlikely and unexpected record in music history"

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Feb 6, 2024

It isn't just their vintage concert tees that are back in style: the Grateful Dead now hold the record for the most Top 40 albums on the Billboard 200 charts.

Pushing the Dead to become record holders was Dave's Picks Volume 49, a recently released four-CD live album that arrived in late January. The title became the group's 59th album to make the Top 40. The previous holders of the title were Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, with 58 albums apiece. 

Dave's Picks Volume 49 features two complete Grateful Dead concerts recorded on April 27 and 28, 1985, at Frost Amphitheater in Stanford, CA. The series of albums is produced by David Lemieux, the band’s audiovisual archivist and legacy manager.

"This could be the most unlikely and unexpected record in music history, and is a testament to a few things," said Lemieux in a release. "First and foremost is the exceptional and consistent quality of the Grateful Dead’s more than 2,000 live shows. On the heels of this is the loyalty and passion of the many Dead Heads who have made this record possible. And to top it off, the Grateful Dead have a partnership with Rhino that ensures these many album releases are produced with care, love, and respect for both the band’s music and legacy, and the Dead Heads themselves. It’s an honour and privilege to work for this community, and our aim is to keep building on this record by delivering the quality of recordings Dead Heads have come to expect for many years ahead."

Last year saw Grateful Dead offshoot Dead and Company hit the road on what they called their final tour, though there's a chance it may not actually be their last.

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