Jerry Garcia (guitarist / vocalist in Grateful Dead)

~ Person

Legal name: Jerome John Garcia


Jerome John Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995) was an American musician who was the principal songwriter, lead guitarist, and a vocalist with the rock band Grateful Dead, which he co-founded and which came to prominence during the counterculture of the 1960s. Although he disavowed the role, Garcia was viewed by many as the leader of the band. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 as a member of the Grateful Dead.

As one of its founders, Garcia performed with the Grateful Dead for the band's entire 30-year career (1965–1995). Garcia also founded and participated in a variety of side projects, including the Saunders–Garcia Band (with longtime friend Merl Saunders), the Jerry Garcia Band, Old & In the Way, the Garcia/Grisman and Garcia/Kahn acoustic duos, Legion of Mary, and New Riders of the Purple Sage (which he 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 for his distinctive guitar playing, and was ranked 13th in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" cover story in 2003. In the 2015 version of the list he was ranked at #46. In 2023, Garcia was ranked 34th by Rolling Stone.

Garcia was renowned for his musical and technical ability, particularly his ability to play a variety of instruments and sustain long improvisations. Garcia believed that improvisation took stress away from his playing and allowed him to make spur of the moment decisions that he would not have made intentionally. In a 1993 interview with Rolling Stone, Garcia noted that "my own preferences are for improvisation, for making it up as I go along. The idea of picking, of eliminating possibilities by deciding, that's difficult for me". Originating from the days of the "Acid Tests", these improvisations were a form of exploration rather than playing a song already written.

Later in life, Garcia struggled with diabetes. In 1986, he went into a diabetic coma that nearly cost him his life. Although his overall health improved somewhat after the incident, he continued to struggle with obesity, smoking, and long-standing heroin and cocaine addictions. He was staying in a California drug rehabilitation facility when he died of a heart attack in August 1995, at age 53.

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1970Hooteroll?Howard Wales & Jerry Garcia5
1972GarciaJerry Garcia5
1974Compliments of GarciaJerry Garcia4
1976ReflectionsJerry Garcia4
1982Run for the RosesJerry Garcia3
1991Jerry Garcia / David GrismanJerry Garcia & David Grisman2
1993Not for Kids OnlyJerry Garcia & David Grisman2
1995Blue IncantationSanjay Mishra & Jerry Garcia1
1996Shady GroveJerry Garcia & David Grisman3
1998So WhatJerry Garcia & David Grisman1
2000The Pizza TapesJerry Garcia, David Grisman & Tony Rice55
2004Been All Around This WorldJerry Garcia & David Grisman2
2018Before the DeadJerry Garcia2
2023Might As Well: A Round Records RetrospectiveJerry Garcia1

Album + Compilation

1992Fire Up +Merl Saunders and Friends - Jerry Garcia, Tom Fogerty, John Kahn, Bill Vitt1
2004All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio SessionsJerry Garcia42
2006Well Matched: The Best of Merl Saunders & Jerry GarciaJerry Garcia & Merl Saunders1
2012Keystone Companions - The Complete 1973 Fantasy RecordingsMerl Saunders & Jerry Garcia1

Album + Soundtrack

2001Grateful DawgJerry Garcia & David Grisman1

Album + Live

1988Keystone Encores Volume IIMerl Saunders, Jerry Garcia, John Kahn, Bill Vitt1
1998Side Trips - Volume OneHoward Wales and Jerry Garcia2
2004Pure Jerry: Keystone, Berkeley, September 1, 1974Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders Band2
2005Garcia Plays DylanJerry Garcia3
2009Pure Jerry: Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, San Rafael, California, February 28, 1986Jerry Garcia and John Kahn1
2016GarciaLive Volume Six, July 5th 1973, Lion's ShareJerry Garcia And Merl Saunders1
2016Lonesome Prison BluesJerry Garcia with John Kahn2
2017GarciaLive Volume Nine: August 11th, 1974 Keystone BerkeleyJerry Garcia and Merl Saunders2
2019GarciaLive Volume 12: January 23rd, 1973 The Boarding House, San FranciscoJerry Garcia & Merl Saunders2
2020GarciaLive Volume 14: January 27th, 1986 The RitzJerry Garcia & John Kahn1
2020GarciaLive Volume 15: May 21st, 1971 Keystone KornerJerry Garcia and Merl Saunders1
2022GarciaLive Volume 18: November 2nd, 1974 Keystone BerkeleyJerry Garcia & Merl Saunders1


2021Front Street OuttakesJerry Garcia & Sanjay Mishra1

Other + Interview

A Talk With Jerry GarciaJerry Garcia1

Other + Audiobook

Jerry on JerryJerry Garcia1

Other + Live

1972-06-30: Keystone Korner, San Francisco, CAJerry Garcia & Merl Saunders1

Broadcast + Live

2020Sugar In My SoulJerry Garcia & Merl Saunders1
Can't Buy A Thrill (Live, Pacific High Studios, February 6, 1972)Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders1

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