Owsley bears: these marching bears were designed by Bob Thomas for the back cover art of the grateful dead album "History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear’s Choice)". These bears were designed in tribute to owsley "bear" Stanley, who was a well known LSD Chemist (also known for manufacturing 2,5-dimethoxy-4-methyl-amphetamine) as well as a sound engineer for the dead. Owsley designed the "double microphones" which were used by the dead, the bottom mic was out of phase from the top mic so they would not produce feed back. Owsley also designed "the wall of sound", a revolutionary and megalithic sound system which was meant to be heard clearly from a full mile away. Phil had a 32 foot tall bass stack ( to match the height of a standing basswave) Phil could also have each string of his bass being played through a different speaker in a different location, he could switch speakers, and litterally move notes in three dimentions. This massive attempt was meticulously designed to provide the best audio experience for the band as well as the audience. I will discuss owsley and the wall of sound in the next post.
These bears have been called "dancing bears", even though owsley himself had written " “the bears on the album cover are not really ‘dancing’. I don’t know why people think they are; their positions are quite obviously those of a high-stepping march.
These bears have been incorrectly been called "Jerry bears", as Jerry was sometimes known as "pappa bear" or "jerr bear " and often resemblemed a bear himself, however this assumption attributing the bears to Jerry is incorrect, and in most cases this mistake in nomenclature is made by those who do not know the deads history or who are unaware of owsley and his role in the grateful dead. The propped term is "owsley bears" though generally people will incorrectly reconize them as "Jerry bears"
Next post I will discuss the "steal your face" logo, which has a deep and rich history, however, for the sake of brevity I will continiue with this in the next post