On This Day...

Madhouse History

On This Day in Madhouse History
April 28, 1980

Grateful Dead release their 11th studio album, "Go To Heaven". It is the first album with keyboardist Brent Mydland. 

Keyboardist Keith Godchaux and vocalist Donna Godchaux left the Grateful Dead in February 1979, Brent Mydland replaced them both.

The album was recorded at the band's own studio; however, as happened while finishing Terrapin Station, overdubs were made in New York City (at Media Sound) while the Dead toured. 

When it was released, Go to Heaven received negative responses from critics. Though it was something of a return to the band's roots and had "more-punchy rock sounds", it was still a mainstream attempt and was seen as "mushy" in many reviews. Mydland's vocals resembled Michael McDonald to some critics who compared his California soft rock influence to the direction taken by the Doobie Brothers.
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The band members insist the problem was the album cover. The cover consisted of the band members dressed all in white disco suits on a white background. Deadheads were rioting in the street. Yells of disco and sell out were often shouted. 

Bassist Phil Lesh said "The cover, featuring us in Saturday Night Fever disco suits against a white background, reinforced the impression that we were 'going commercial'. Regardless of the reaction from hardcore Deadheads, Go to Heaven sold fairly well after its release in April 1980, making number twenty-three on the charts and recouping its studio costs. The critics savaged it, however; the least offensive description I saw was 'cotton candy'. Personally, I thought that the music was a lot better than the album cover – the Garcia-Hunter and Weir-Barlow songs were major additions to our repertoire, and Brent’s two songs, in spite of having been written before joining the band, gave notice that a new voice had arrived." 

Kreutzmann likewise stated "If you go back and (re)listen to it, you’ll find that time has been very kind to Go to Heaven. It plays better now than it did back then. That’s still no excuse for the cover, though – all six of us, dressed all in white disco suits against a white background."

However, the criticism has softened and Go to Heaven is now regarded as an important album in the band's catalog. The band however was disillusioned and would not release another studio album for 7 years. 

Now that time has healed all wounds, we think It is a fine album. Making music that lots of people like and selling lots of albums is not always a bad thing. "Alabama Getaway",  "Althea" and "Saint of Circumstance" are classic Dead songs. 

TRACK LISTING:
Side one
1. "Alabama Getaway"
2. "Far From Me" 
3. "Althea"
4. "Feel Like a Stranger"

Side two
5. "Lost Sailor"
6. "Saint of Circumstance"
7. "Antwerp's Placebo (The Plumber)"
8. "Easy to Love You"
9. "Don't Ease Me In"

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