They’re one of the most iconic mascots in rock – the Grateful Dead‘s famous ‘dancing bears’.  But how did the colorful – and cute – bears come to be?

The bears are actually a reference to Owsley ‘Bear’ Stanley, the band’s sound engineer and studio producer – as well as an infamous maker of LSD in the 1960’s.

The bears first appeared on the back cover art for the 1973 live album History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear’s Choice) – and have been a staple of T-shirts, posters, and other Grateful Dead merch ever since.

What are some other famous rock mascots?