Dead and Company Featuring Special Guest Donna Jean Godchaux, “Fire on the Mountain,” 7/16/2016
August 12, 2017 5:46 pm 7 Comments
Donna Jean (Thatcher) Godchaux-MacKay (born August 22, 1947) is an American singer, best known for having been a member of the Grateful Dead from 1972 until 1979.
2.1 As group leader or co-leader
2.2 With the Grateful Dead
2.3 With other artists
3 See also
5 External links
Donna Jean Thatcher was born in Florence, Alabama. Prior to 1970, she had worked as a session singer in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, eventually singing with a group called Southern Comfort and appearing as a backup singer on at least two #1 hit songs: “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge in 1966 and “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley in 1969. Her vocals were featured on other classic recordings by Boz Scaggs and Duane Allman, Cher, Joe Tex, Neil Diamond and many others. She then moved to California and met future fellow Grateful Dead member Keith Godchaux, whom she married in 1970.
Donna introduced Keith to Jerry Garcia after Garcia’s performance at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner in September 1971. At the time, Donna Jean was not working as a musician. She joined the band shortly afterwards, remaining a member until February 1979.
Donna Jean provided back-up and lead vocals in the group’s music. During their membership in the Grateful Dead, the couple also issued the mostly self-written Keith & Donna album in 1975 with Jerry Garcia as a Keith and Donna Band member. In turn, they performed as part of the Jerry Garcia Band.
Keith and Donna’s son, Zion “Rock” Godchaux of BoomBox, was born in 1974. After the Grateful Dead, the couple started the Heart of Gold Band.
Donna did not perform again with any Grateful Dead band members until after the death of Jerry Garcia. Shortly after her husband’s death in 1980, Donna Jean turned to religion. She married bassist David MacKay (former Fiddleworms member and bassist for the Donna Jean Godchaux Band) and the couple moved to her childhood town of Florence, Alabama, to record at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.
In 2009, Donna Jean formed a brand new band, the Donna Jean Godchaux Band, with Jeff Mattson (of Phil Lesh and Friends, Zen Tricksters, and Dark Star Orchestra), after re-entering the music scene with Mattson and Mookie Siegel (of David Nelson Band, Phil Lesh and Friends, and Ratdog) to form Kettle Joe’s Psychedelic Swamp Revue, later known as Donna Jean & the Tricksters. She occasionally makes guest appearances with Bob Weir & RatDog, Zero & Steve Kimock, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Dark Star Orchestra and Dead & Company.
In 1994, Donna Jean was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Grateful Dead. She resides in Killen, Alabama, and remains an active member of the Muscle Shoals music scene when not touring with the Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson.
As group leader or co-leader
Donna Jean Godchaux in 2008
Keith & Donna – Keith and Donna Godchaux – 1975
Playing in the Heart of Gold Band – The Ghosts – 1984
The Heart of Gold Band – The Heart of Gold Band – 1986
Donna Jean – The Donna Jean Band – 1998
At the Table – The Heart of Gold Band – 2004
Donna Jean and the Tricksters – Donna Jean and the Tricksters – 2008
Back Around – Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson – 2014
With the Grateful Dead
Main article: Grateful Dead discography
Donna Godchaux was a member of the Grateful Dead from 1972 to 1979 and appears on many of the band’s albums.
With other artists
Donna Godchaux (née Donna Thatcher) has contributed background or lead vocals on many albums by different artists.
“When a Man Loves a Woman” / “Love Me Like You Mean It” – Percy Sledge – 1966
“Suspicious Minds” / “You’ll Think of Me” – Elvis Presley – 1969
Muscle Shoals – various artists – 2013
Move Me Brightly – various artists – 2013
From Elvis in Memphis – Elvis Presley – 1969
From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis – Elvis Presley – 1969
3614 Jackson Highway – Cher – 1969
Boz Scaggs – Boz Scaggs – 1969
Ton-Ton Macoute! – Johnny Jenkins – 1970
Ace – Bob Weir – 1972
Demon in Disguise – David Bromberg – 1972
Gypsy Cowboy – New Riders of the Purple Sage – 1972
The Adventures of Panama Red – New Riders of the Purple Sage – 1973
Tales of the Great Rum Runners – Robert Hunter – 1974
Tiger Rose – Robert Hunter – 1975
Reflections – Jerry Garcia – 1976
Cats Under the Stars – Jerry Garcia Band – 1977
Here Goes Nothing – Zero – 1987
Laughing Water – Jazz Is Dead – 1999
Don’t Let Go – Jerry Garcia Band – 2001
Worcester, MA, 4/4/73 – New Riders of the Purple Sage – 2003
Pure Jerry: Theatre 1839, San Francisco, July 29 & 30, 1977 – Jerry Garcia Band – 2004
Pure Jerry: Warner Theatre, March 18, 1978 – Jerry Garcia Band – 2005
For Rex: The Black Tie Dye Ball – The Zen Tricksters and various artists – 2006
Pure Jerry: Bay Area 1978 – Jerry Garcia Band – 2009
Garcia Live Volume Four – Jerry Garcia Band – 2014
Garcia Live Volume Seven – Jerry Garcia Band – 2016