A Brief History of Nancy Pelosi’s Love for the Grateful Dead
Anyone watching Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s swearing-in during the first day of the 116th Congress on Thursday (January 3) probably noticed a few of the newly elected Speaker of the House’s celebrity friends, including crooner Tony Bennett, Tim Gunn of Project Runway fame, and Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. All three were present as Pelosi’s personal guests.
This isn’t Hart’s first Congressional rodeo: He was present the first time Pelosi was sworn in as Speaker in 2007, when he joined Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby, Warren Hayes, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mike Gordon in the Dead-centric house band at a star-studded D.C. event to celebrate. You can check out their setlist here.
The fact that the 78-year-old Pelosi loves the Dead isn’t surprising. After all, she represents California’s 12th district, which is comprised of tie-dyed ground zero San Francisco, a city practically synonymous with the Dead. Pelosi, conveniently, happens to be a huge fan. Back in 2015, a source spotted Pelosi at a show during the Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead tour and told the San Francisco Chronicle that the congresswoman “was definitely free-form dancing.” She was also spotted heading backstage during intermission to say hello to Hart.
Loving the Dead is apparently a tradition in the Pelosi clan. “It’s a tough competition in my family for the favorite Grateful Dead song. For myself, it’s ‘Fire on the Mountain,’” the House speaker told fashion designer Tori Burch’s Tory Daily blog in 2015. “‘Ripple,’ however, has been a Pelosi family lullaby for years now. My daughter Christine has sung it to my granddaughter ever since she was three months old, and now my granddaughter sings it herself.”
Poor kid never had a chance.