Jerome John Garcia, better known as Jerry Gracia, was born on August 1, 1942. He was a guitarist, singer, and songwriter from the U.S. Garcia was most known for being a founding member of the iconic rock band ‘The Grateful Dead’, where he was a lead songwriter, lead guitarist, and vocalist. Garcia was also the leader of his band, the ‘Jerry Garcia Band (J.G.B.)’. Garcia performed and recorded in different settings and styles, most notably folk and country music, occasionally switching to banjo or pedal steel guitar for the occasion. Garcia remains a legend in Rock music, and we can’t wait to celebrate him.
Garcia was born to Jose Ramon Garcia and Ruth Marie in San Francisco, California. He was a prolific and well-known guitarist in the second half of the 20th Century. Garcia has been influenced by music ever since he was a small child, and he spent a lot of that time studying the piano. While a student at Monroe Elementary School, his artistic talent became apparent. As he got older, he developed an interest in rock and roll and rhythm and blues, which was influenced by Chuck Berry, his all-time favorite guitarist.
Garcia was a member of the Chords, a band at his high school. When he was about 19 years old, Garcia met and made friends with several other aspiring artists and he co-founded the rock band ‘The Grateful Dead’ with them in Palo Alto, California, in 1965. The band’s first two albums, “The Grateful Dead” (1967) and “Anthem of the Sun” (1968), were only moderately successful, however, the third album, “Aoxomoxoa” (1969), solidified their status as a famous rock band. Garcia began pursuing side projects in addition to his work with The Grateful Dead, and his solo albums “Garcia” (1972), “Compliments” (1974), and “Reflections” (1976) were published. In the mid-1970s, he formed another band, The ‘Jerry Garcia Band’. This band also performed rock music with blues, folk, country, and jazz influences.
Garcia had a very rough time in the 1980s since his health had deteriorated significantly due to drug abuse. He had diabetes, which was made worse by his substance misuse. This harmed his musical career, and he was not very active during this decade. In the 1990s, he collaborated on the albums “Garcia/Grisman” (1991) and “Not for Kids Only” (1993) with David Grisman, a bluegrass/newgrass mandolinist and songwriter. He had a heart attack on August 9, 1995, and passed away at the age of 53.
Along with other aspiring musicians, Garcia set up the rock band The Grateful Dead in Palo Alto, California.
Garcia records and releases his first solo album, a mix of experimental avant-garde compositions.
Garcia forms his second rock band, and it remains his most prominent side venture until his death.
As a member of the Grateful Dead, Garcia is inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Jerry Garcia is named 13th on Rolling Stone's list of the ‘100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.’
Why We Love Jerry Garcia
He is inspirational
Garcia has been a source of inspiration for many upcoming Rock ‘n’ Roll artists. One of those he impacted greatly was Carlos Santana who said: “I quit washing dishes for a living when I saw Jerry Garcia and the rest of the band pull up to the club where I worked in limousines. Right then, I thought, 'I can do that.”
He was smart and compassionate
Those who knew Garcia well have described him as smart and very funny. He is also said to have had an awful lot of depth, compassion, and soulfulness.
He was very talented
No one has ever created music with the combination of intelligence, intuition, depth, creativity, and humor that Garcia has. His work and life will continue to be a limitless source of inspiration for everyone.
5 Surprising Facts About Garcia
He was named after a composer
Garcia was named after Jerome Kern, a great Broadway composer who wrote over 700 songs throughout his lifetime.
His first paying gig made him $5
He landed his first paying gig, playing under the moniker Bob and Jerry, along with his longtime friend.
His middle finger was chopped off
Garcia's right middle finger was accidentally chopped by his brother while splitting wood.
He loved Ray Radbury
The science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, was Garcia's favorite author.
He married his third wife on Valentine’s
Garcia married Deborah Koons, his third wife, on Valentine's Day in 1994.
Jerry Garcia FAQs
What is Jerry Garcia’s ethnicity?
His father’s ancestry was linked to northwest Spain while his mother’s was linked to Irish and Swedish.
Where did Jerry Garcia die?
Lagunitas-Forest Knolls, California.
How much is Jerry Garcia’s guitar worth?
In 2017, a charity auction resulted in the sale of the musician’s handcrafted Wolf guitar, which he had used for two decades, for $1.9 million.
Jerry Garcia’s birthday dates