Are the Grateful Dead Really the Great American Band?

What is the Great American Band?

This was a question posed by esteemed rock writer Michael Azerrad over the past July 4th weekend.

After due consideration of Fugazi, R.E.M., the Replacements (whom we're obviously fond of/indebted to), and others, Azerrad settled on San Francisco's very own the Grateful Dead as The Great American Band. His reasoning:

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