Throughout their career the Grateful Dead released more than two dozen live, studio and compilation albums in their 30 years together. However, this was their only top 10 hit.
"Art Tatum is one of my musical heroes in terms of what it is to be an incredible extemporaneous performer." - Jerry Garcia
This was one of the last songs Garcia sang at the Grateful Dead's final show with him. This song inspires people to continue to live their lives despite the heartbreak and sorrows life brings us.
"I was very, very impressed by the music of Robbie Robertson and the Band. There isn't any real textural similarity between what we play; I just admired their work very much. " - Jerry Garcia
Jerry Garcia voiced his love and appreciation for country music and Dolly Parton - making this a fitting choice for his last soundtrack.
Jerry grew up listening to 'bluegrasses' principal founder' Bill Monroe.
In his early teens, Garcia became drawn to the unique rhythms, rough-hewed textures and smooth, bluesy sounds of early rock & roll and rhythm & blues. He notes guitarists such as Chuck Berry and T-Bone Walker as funky, beautiful sounds that inspired him.
Jerry says the first time he heard a Big Bill Broonzy record he was in awe of the acoustic blues. "I listened to it, but it never occurred to me to try and play like it. I absorbed it unconsciously, and it started to turn up years later.” - Jerry Garcia
Not only did Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia inspire each other musically, they were great friends. This song belongs on Jerry's last soundtrack.
Throughout the years, Garcia mentioned many musical influences in his life but one that was mentioned many, many, many times was his appreciation and admiration of Django Reinhardt.
Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia was born August 1, 1942, in San Francisco, California. Garcia was the son of a Spanish immigrant who was a popular bandleader in the Bay Area. While Jerry played the piano as a boy, he fell in love with the guitar in his teens. He dropped out of high school at age 17 and served in the U.S. Army for 9 months, after which he was discharged for poor conduct. Upon returning to San Francisco, he worked as a salesman and a music teacher. During this time he started playing folk and blues guitar, alone or with pickup groups, in clubs around the area.
Garcia formed a band called the Warlocks in 1965. However, after realizing there was another group with the same name, he changed it to the Grateful Dead in 1966. The group was intimately involved with the San Fran hippie movement and the use of drugs such as LSD for Acid Tests. These 'Acid Tests' involved the band playing for hours on end while concert goers would take acid and essentially see what happened. These were meant to be acts of cultural, spiritual, and psychic revolt and were important to the development of the band. While the band started out playing "psychedelic" rock, they eventually shifted to a more diverse set of rock styles in to 1970s. Around 1974, the members of the Grateful Dead began to go their own ways. Garcia made many solo appearances and albums. However, in the 1980s, he became heavily addicted to drugs. Following his arrest in 1985, Garia was sent to a treatment center. When he awoke from a diabetic coma, he decided it was time to regain control of his life. The Grateful Dead made a comeback (1987) with a new album, In the Dark, and surprisingly, their only top ten hit: "Touch of Grey."
In the years that followed, Jerry and the band revelled in new found success and continued to tour. Their shows drew tons of fans, new and old. The Grateful Dead had garnered a cult-like following, with loyal fans known as "Deadheads" traveling all over the country to catch their concerts. Despite Garcia's best efforts to improve his health and lifestyle, the many years of hard living caught up with him. He died at the age of 53 of a heart attack.
A young Jerry.
Jerry Garcia and Mountain Girl
Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin
Artwork by Jerry Garcia.
In 1986, an ice cream enthusist and Grateful Dead fan sent a postcard to Ben and Jerry's headquarters suggesting they create a new flavor honoring the singer and call it Cherry Garcia. The founders loved the idea. In 1987 they debuted "Cherry Garcia" and it quickly became one of the top 3 flavors. (Okay, maybe you DID know this one. Who doesn't love Cherry Garcia ice cream?)
In the late 1990s, a Dead-loving taxonomist discovered a new species of cockroach (a wood roach) and named it "cryptocercus garciai" after the legend.
Just three months after Garcia's passing two Arizona astronomers wanted to give a tribute to their favorite guitarist and renamed an asteroid found in 1985 "4442Garcia".
"The Dead built their reputation on long, free-form concerts, going onstage without a set list and playing anything from original songs to rock oldies to extended experiements with feedback. The music could shift in any direction as it sought what the band and its fans called the "X fator": spontaneous, revelatory strethes of music arrived at through practive and serendipity."
- John Pareles (http://nyti.ms/2wjPlVB)
Jerry Garcia, born Jerome John Garcia, was named after legendary Broadway musician Jerome Kern. Kern, who wrote over 700 songs throughout his career, is best known for his songs including "A Fine Romance." "Can't Help Lovin 'Dat Man" and "Ol' Man River."
Jerry's father was also a jazz musician and Dixieland bandleader. Unfortunately his father drowned when Jerry was 5, so Jerry never got to see him play. "I never saw him play with his band," Garcia told Rolling Stone in 1991, "but I remember him playing me to sleep at night. I just barely remember the sound of it."
After the death of Jerry's father, and given his mother's intense work schedule, Jerry and his brother went to live wih their grandparents. It was here where he first fell in love with country music; his grandmother opened him up to country and bluegrass. He recalls sitting with her and enjoying listening to the Grand Ole Opry together. He also began to play the banjo, his first string instrument.
In the early 1970s Jerry told an interviewer, Ed McClanahan, that Dolly Parton was one of his favorite singers of all time. Ed responded, "Who?" as Dolly was not very famous yet and not well known outside country music. In turn, Jerry is said to have run to his record player and started blasting "Daddy Come Get Me" and launching into a speech about what a wonderful singer and songwriter Dolly was.
Garcia was nearly as amazing an artist as he was a musician. He attended classes at the San Francisco Art Institute as a child and ultimately created over 2,000 pieces. Garcia was skilled in watercolor, concrete pencil, pen & ink and crayon.
The picture to the left as described by his ex-wife Manasha and daughter Keelin: "Ink and watercolor form cubistic formss in space. The open structures provide a sort of camouflage for an alien spaceman and a soft machine - spaceships and aliens are a frequent theme in Jerry's drawings."
If you would like to check out more of Jerry's art, copy and paste this link into your browser:
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