Dead Kennedys are a punk rock band that formed in San Francisco, California, USA in 1978. During its initial eight-year run with original vocalist Jello Biafra, the band attracted controversy for their provocative content and were among the first to define the style of 1980s hardcore punk.
Dead Kennedys' lyrics were usually political in nature, satirizing the Reagan Administration and the American establishment in general, as well as popular culture and even the punk movement itself. Several stores refused to stock their recordings, sparking debate about censorship in rock music. Jello Biafra became an active campaigner against the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), culminating in an obscenity trial in 1985-1986 which resulted in a hung jury.
The group released a total of four studio albums and one EP before disbanding in 1986. Following the band's dissolution, Jello Biafra continued to collaborate and record with other artists including D.O.A., NoMeansNo and his own bands Lard and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, as well as releasing spoken word performances and becoming an activist with the Green Party.
In 2000, Jello Biafra lost an acrimonious legal case initiated by his former Dead Kennedys band mates over songwriting credits and unpaid royalties. In 2001, the band reformed; various singers have since been recruited for vocal duties.