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How many times did the Grateful Dead play Sugar Magnolia?

The Grateful Dead is known for their extensive touring and their incredible improvisational skills which always provided their fans with an experience that would be unique and unparalleled each time they took the stage. The band’s diverse catalogue presented a range of songs that would end up becoming fan-favorites and played hundreds of times throughout their career, and one of such songs was Sugar Magnolia.

The History of Sugar Magnolia

First appearing on the American Beauty album, “Sugar Magnolia” was one of the band’s biggest hits and a staple of their live performances. The song was written by Robert Hunter, the Dead’s longtime lyricist, and Bob Weir, the band’s rhythm guitarist. Sugar Magnolia was released in 1970, and it quickly became a fan favorite. The song’s catchy tune and its upbeat lyrics made it the perfect sing-along song, and it quickly became a permanent fixture of the band’s setlists.

The Number of Performances

One of the things that made the Grateful Dead’s shows so special was their ability to improvise and play songs differently each time they performed them. However, some songs were so well-loved by their fans that they became staples of their setlists. Sugar Magnolia happens to be one of those songs.

According to Deadbase X, a book of Grateful Dead setlists and statistics, Sugar Magnolia was one of the band’s most frequently played songs. The song was played a total of 596 times during their incredible career, only second-most played to “Me and My Uncle”. This includes shows with the Grateful Dead in its original lineup, as well as their later lineups with Bruce Hornsby, Vince Welnick, and others.

After analyzing the data, Sugar Magnolia was played throughout the Dead’s career, beginning in the early 70s and appearing in the setlist typically once or twice every few shows. It advanced more during the 70s, becoming a regular presence in the band’s second sets from 1977 onwards. In 1982 and 1983, Sugar Magnolia had a decreased appearance in the Dead’s setlists, though it never disappeared entirely.

The band never got rid of Sugar Magnolia completely from their shows, however, and it continued to crop up randomly throughout their later decades. Whether it was in the 1980s, in the 90s, or after the death of Jerry Garcia in the early 2000s with Dead & Company and other side projects, the song persisted.


After decades of touring, it is impressive to see how certain Grateful Dead songs remained popular and loved by fans all over the world. Sugar Magnolia is certainly one of those songs that have stood the test of time, remaining as fresh and exciting as ever, and it’s great to see that the band recognized its appeal by continuing to play it regularly throughout their long career. So whether you’re a Dead veteran or new to the music scene, make sure to give Sugar Magnolia a listen and add it to your playlist.


What song did the Grateful Dead play most often?

The Grateful Dead were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. They became one of the most influential and iconic bands in American music history, known for their electrifying live performances that drew in an army of fans known as “Deadheads” who followed them across the country on tour.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Grateful Dead’s career is their extensive repertoire of songs. They wrote and performed hundreds of songs during their career, ranging from psychedelic rock to blues to folk and more. However, there is one song that the Grateful Dead played more often than any other: “Drums.”

“Drums” is not really a traditional song in the sense that it has defined lyrics and melody. Rather, “Drums” is an improvisational segment of the Grateful Dead’s live shows that typically features the band’s two percussionists, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. During “Drums,” the band’s other members take a break while Hart and Kreutzmann engage in a rhythmic duet using a wide variety of percussion instruments.

Because all of the Grateful Dead’s “Drums” performances were given this specific title, it is difficult to determine exactly how many times the band played it. However, estimates put the number at nearly 1500 performances, which makes it the most-frequently performed “song” in the Grateful Dead’s history.

It’s worth noting that the Grateful Dead also played other songs frequently during their career. Some other songs that the band played more than 500 times include “Sugar Magnolia,” “Playing in the Band,” and “Not Fade Away.” However, these songs all pale in comparison to the number of times they played “Drums.”

The Grateful Dead’s most frequently-performed song is actually not a song at all, but rather an improvisational percussion segment called “Drums.” This segment was played nearly 1500 times during the band’s career and is a testament to the Grateful Dead’s love of experimentation and improvisation.

What was the longest Grateful Dead concert?

The Grateful Dead, known for their improvisational style and lengthy jams, have played many memorable shows throughout their career. However, the longest concert they ever played took place at the Bickershaw Festival in Wigan, England during their 1972 European tour. The band performed for an astounding five hours at this event, thrilling the crowd with their unique mix of rock, blues, country, and folk music.

The Bickershaw Festival was a three-day event that featured a variety of artists, including The Kinks, Captain Beefheart, Donovan, and The Incredible String Band. However, it was the Grateful Dead’s performance that stole the show, cementing their reputation as one of the greatest live acts of all time. The setlist for this historic concert included many of the band’s classic songs, such as “Jack Straw,” “China Cat Sunflower,” “Wharf Rat,” and “Dark Star.”

One of the highlights of the show was a 31-minute rendition of “The Other One,” which showcased the band’s improvisational prowess and experimental approach to music. The audience was swept up in the sheer energy and power of the performance, cheering and dancing throughout the marathon show.

The Grateful Dead has played many long concerts throughout their career, but the Bickershaw Festival show remains the longest on record. It was a testament to the band’s dedication to their craft and their willingness to push the boundaries of what was possible in a live setting. To this day, the Grateful Dead’s legacy lives on through their music, their devoted fan base, and their legendary performances like the one at the Bickershaw Festival.