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Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead at The Woodstock '69 Festival

Jerry Garcia at Woodstock 1969

 

Jerry Garcia at Woodstock 1969

Jerry Garcia at Woodstock 1969

Jerry Garcia at Woodstock 1969

 

Jerry Garcia at Woodstock 1969

Jerry Garcia at Woodstock 1969

Jerry Garcia at Woodstock 1969

 

Jerry Garcia at Woodstock 1969

Jerry Garcia at Woodstock 1969



Hear Grateful Dead at Woostock 1969 Mama Tried
Jerry Garcia 

As described in MSN Encarta. 
Born in 1942, Jerome John Garcia in San Francisco, named after Jerome David Kern, his father's favorite composer. His father Joe had been a professional jazz clarinetist and led a Dixieland-style band in the 1930s. At the age of four Garcia lost the middle finger of his right hand in a wood-chopping accident. 

The following year, on a camping trip, Joe Garcia drowned while his five-year-old son watched helplessly from shore. Following his fatherís death, Garcia lived with his grandparents. His mother bought him an accordion for his 15th birthday, he persuaded her to return it so he could take the cash to a pawnshop and buy his first electric guitar. 

As a teenager, Garcia flunked many of his classes and experimented with marijuana. He joined the United States Army in 1959 but was dishonorably discharged after nine months. 

He experimented with LSD and finally formed the Grateful dead Band by 1965-66 through a series of evolutions and experiments with sounds which combined the influences of country-and-western, the blues, jazz, and rhythm-and-blues.

 



Tanzania Postage stamp; Barry Z Levine Photo

Jerry Garcia

The most popular member of the Grateful Dead, Jerry was its lead guitarist and its spiritual leader.  He appeared in the Woodstock film holding a joint saying "Marijuna Exhibit A."

The Grateful Dead was famous for its live performances  with  legions of  fans who camped out for days to buy tickets.  Nicknamed Deadheads, these fans followed the band about the country. The sold-out concerts  documented the fashions, attitudes, and communal ideals of the 1960s.

The Grateful Dead

The Woodstock Festival performance was plagued by technical problems in the heavy rains of Saturday night   whereby faulty electrical grounds caused Garcia and Weir to be shocked each time they touched their guitars.  They called it their worst performance ever and it was excluded from the film.  Audio and bootleg footage has been circulated among its fans.  Hear some of the performance.

By performing numerous live shows to large and faithful audiences over a 30-year period, the Grateful Dead became the highest-grossing live band in the history of rock music, though only one of its many albums ( In the Dark, 1987) hit the top 10 charts.

The Grateful Dead  Members included:

vocalist and lead guitarist Jerry Garcia; 
bassist Phil Lesh; 
vocalist and guitarist Bob Weir;
keyboard player and vocalist Ron McKernan; 
drummer Bill Kreutzmann; and 
drummer and percussionist Mickey Hart.  

In 1994 the Grateful Dead was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.   The group disbanded in 1995 after Garcia's death that year.