The old story of the origin of the Grateful Dead's name is given a new twist in Mark Greif's "The Right Kind of Pain," a review of Richard Witts's book The Velvet Underground. Greif's most striking conceit is a long comparison between the Velvet Underground and the Grateful Dead (striking because the members of VU hated the Dead; I don't know what the GD's members thought of VU). He begins by arguing that "the Velvet Underground and the Grateful Dead started out, in an odd way, as basically the same band. In fact, both bands started with the same name in 1965: the Warlocks." As Greif later points out, "they both had to choose a different name because it turned out that a third band had already put out a record as the Warlocks."
But I wonder: what if there was no third band? What if each band changed its name because of the other?
In any case, Greif's article is a wonderful essay. I got to it through Jerome Weeks's referral to it at Bookdaddy.