Jerome John “Jerry” Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995) is best known for his lead guitar work, singing and songwriting with the band The Grateful Dead. Though he disavowed the role, Garcia was viewed by many as the leader or “spokesman” of the group.
One of its founders, Garcia performed with the Grateful Dead from 1965 until 1995. Garcia also founded and participated in a variety of side projects, including the Saunders-Garcia Band (with longtime friend Merl Saunders), Jerry Garcia Band, Old and in the Way, the Garcia/Grisman acoustic duo, Legion of Mary, and the New Riders of the Purple Sage (which Garcia co-founded with John Dawson and David Nelson). He also released several solo albums, and contributed to a number of albums by other artists over the years as a session musician. He was well known by many for his distinctive guitar playing and was ranked 13th in Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” cover story.
Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jerry Garcia was best known as a founding member of the Grateful Dead, the rock band for which he served as de facto leader for 30 years, 1965-1995. Concurrently for much of that time, he also led his own Jerry Garcia Band (JGB), and he performed and recorded in a variety of configurations and a variety of styles, particularly styles of folk and country music, sometimes switching to banjo or pedal steel guitar for the purpose. But the Grateful Dead remained his primary musical outlet, and he performed thousands of concerts with them and appeared on dozens of their albums (many of them live recordings), 28 of which reached the Billboard chart during his lifetime, including the million-sellers Workingman’s Dead, American Beauty,Europe ’72, Skeletons from the Closet: The Best of Grateful Dead, What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been: The Best of the Grateful Dead, and In the Dark, and another eight that went gold. – From Allmusic (William Ruhlmann)
- Garcia was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Grateful Dead in 1994.
- In 2003, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Jerry Garcia 13th in their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
- According to fellow Bay Area guitar player Henry Kaiser, Garcia is “the most recorded guitarist in history. With more than 2,200 Grateful Dead concerts, and 1,000 Jerry Garcia Band concerts captured on tape – as well as numerous studio sessions – there are about 15,000 hours of his guitar work preserved for the ages.”
- Seattle rock band Soundgarden wrote and recorded the instrumental song “Jerry Garcia’s Finger”, dedicated to the singer, which was released as a b-side with their single “Pretty Noose”.
Jerry Garcia Band – I shall be released (fantastic version, great guitar playing!):
Album of the day – Keystone Companions – The Complete 1973 Fantasy Recordings:
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