Today in 1942 Jerome John (Jerry) Garcia was born in San Francisco named after the great American composer Jerome Kern, a favorite of his parents Jose Ramon and Ruth Marie Garcia. His guitar picking skills were evident early on, starting on the five-string banjo before moving on to the electric guitar.
Since the 1960s Garcia took his electric guitar playing to new heights especially when featured as part of the band he co-founded in 1965 – the Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead started as a house band in San Jose, California eventually playing to massive audiences, famously known as Deadheads, over several decades.
The iconic rock group led by Garcia went on to play over 2,300 live concerts and Garcia enjoyed an incredible career until his sudden death at age 53 on August 9, 1995. When not touring Garcia always kept himself busy as part of the Jerry Garcia Band formed in 1975 as well as playing with other musical groups.
Garcia fought heroin addiction, arrests for drug possession and a host of health issues but never gave up on the “endless” touring the Grateful Dead was known for. As Bob Dylan said “He really had no equal.”
Garcia enjoyed other many accolades over his 30-year career including gracing the cover of Rolling Stone magazine 12 times, having an ice cream “Cherry Jerry” named after him and ultimately being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, a year before his untimely death.
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Happy 100th Birthday!