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A tribute to Deadheads' devotion - and a joy for old hippies everywhere; RockMusic.


IN THE age of kindles, e-mails and downloads, a hardback book about letters written to a band who were in their creative prime four decades ago might seem a hopelessly anachronistic gif t.

But that's Dead Letters (Paul Grushkin, Voyager, pounds 20) and - certainly for those of us of a certain age and musical persuasion - it's a total delight.

The Grateful Dead were like no other band and their followers, The Dead Heads, are like no other fans. And in 1971, when the gatefold sleeve of the Skull & Roses double-album invited them to get in touch with their heroes, they discovered the perfect way to express that unlimited devotion.

Down the years they have produced fan mail on the same epic scale as the Dead's marathon concerts, hundreds of thousands of letters, many of them illuminated with motifs from their iconic posters and album sleeves.

They reserved some of their most creative efforts for ticket applications, no doubt hoping that an eye-catching envelope would push their request towards the head of the queue.

CREATIVE: One of the remarkably artistic ticket applications And although the sentiments, perhaps, are as naive as some of the amateur artwork, Over 15,000 are now stored at the University Of California's Grateful Dead Archive - how cool is that, by the way - and the cream of that cream is collated in Grushkin's psychedelic scrapbook. A wonderful evocation of more innocent, more optimistic times, and a joy for old hippies everywhere.

Aerosmith would never claim to match the Dead for musical originality or complexity but, still going strong after 41 years and with a new album due out next year, Steven Tyler and co take the prize for longevity.

They are also one of rock's more photogenic bands, a fact underlined by Aerosmith: The Ultimate Illustrated History of Boston's Bad Boys (Richard Beinstock, Voyager, pounds 20) which, as well as pictures of the band in action and repose, is crammed with artwork from records sleeves, posters, passes, ticket stubs and just about every other form of memorabilia you could think of.

One for long-term fans, obviously, although younger readers might want to catch up on the back-story of the improbably taut-cheeked old chap perched at one end of the American Idol panel.

? LEAMINGTON Assembly have pulled off another major coup with the announcement that Echo & The Bunnymen are booked in for Tuesday, January 17, to play their first two albums, Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here, from start to finish.

Front-man Ian McCulloch is promising a "masterclass in rock and roll" and tickets are pounds 22.50 plus booking fee from

McCulloch, of course, has made something of a speciality of covering Jim Morrison's songs and, 40 years on from the great man's death, that timeless catalogue will be reproduced at the Assembly next Thursday by The Doors Alive.

Front-man Willie Scott has proved himself to be much more than a mere impersonator, and this is one of those tribute bands who live up to the word.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 25, 2011
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