HAPPY JERRY DAY 2014!
Today, August 1st is Jerry Garcia’s Birthday!
Jerome John “Jerry” Garcia August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995
Garcia performed with the Grateful Dead as lead guitarist, principal vocalist and one of the songwriter for their entire career (1965–1995). Garcia also played with the Saunders-Garcia Band (with longtime friend Merl Saunders), the Jerry Garcia Band, Old and in the Way, with David Grisman as the Garcia/Grisman acoustic duo, the Legion of Mary, the New Riders of the Purple Sage (Garcia co-founded NRPS with John Dawson and David Nelson) and sat in on sessions with other artists (most notably Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’ “Deja Vu” album, he plays the pedal steel guitar on “Teach Your Children”).
Jerry was well known for his distinctive guitar playing and ranked 13th in Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and ranked the Grateful Dead No. 57 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
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.”
The Grateful Dead played at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in 1969 but their set was cut short because of weather, intoxication, and electrical problems. The band cut the set short after the stage amps overloaded during a 38 minute “Turn On Your Love Light”
The Grateful Dead at Woodstock August 16, 1969 from the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/gd69-08-16.sbd.cotsman.15205.sbeok.shnf )
While The Grateful Dead did perform and were filmed for the “Woodstock” movie (Jerry can be seen in brief interviews), at the band’s insistence, the footage was never used. The 40thAnniversary version of the film includes a reasonably edited “Turn on Your Lovelight” and “Mama Tried” in bonus material.
The Grateful Dead were also on the bill for the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont on December 6, 1969. the band was there and was scheduled to play between Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and the Stones but cancelled and didn’t play. They left the speedway after Jefferson Airplane’s guitarist Marty Balin was beaten unconcious by the Hell’s Angels.
The Summer Jam at Watkins Glen once held the Guinness World Record for “Largest audience at a pop festival” when approximately 600,000 rock fans gathered at Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway in New York on July 28, 1973. The Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead and The Band performed. In 2013, the grounds crew stumbled across a group of abandoned cars from the 1973 Summer Jam concert that had been hiding in the woods for 40 years.
The Grateful Dead Movie from 1977 was directed by Jerry Garcia. The film captures live performances from the band’s October 1974 five-night stand at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco and features the massive “Wall of Sound” audio system used in 1974.
In September 1978, the Grateful Dead performed three shows at the Sound and Light Theater in the shadow of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt. The band donated all the proceeds to the country’s Department of Antiquities, which preserves Egypt’s ancient wonders. Fans from all over the world traveled to Egypt and for the last show on Sept. 16, they witnessed a total lunar eclipse during the concert.
The Dead recorded all three nights with the intention of putting out a live album, but technical problems ruined the tapes from the first date and much of the second. In 2008, they released “Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978” a two-CD/DVD box set of the best performances from the last two nights.
In September-October 1980, the Grateful Dead played three sets during their concert performances, one acoustic followed by two electric sets. The acoustic sets were the first the band had performed since the early ’70s. The tour played 15 shows at The Warfield in San Francisco, 2 shows at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, and 8 shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The following year, songs from the tour were released as two live albums, the all-acoustic Reckoning and the all-electric Dead Set.
Dead Ahead is a concert video by the Grateful Dead. It was recorded at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on October 30 and October 31, 1980, and released in 1981. An expanded version was released in 2005.
Here’s the full Halloween concert from Radio City 10-31-80 on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTYEE5mgEOY
Jerry battled heroin addiction in the 80s and again in the 90s, getting busted in Golden Gate park in 1985 and then slipping into a diabetic coma and almost dying in 1986. The coma forced him to relearn how to play the guitar, as well as other, more basic skills.
The song “Touch of Grey” is from the album In the Dark and is known for its refrain “I will get by / I will survive”. The music was composed by Jerry Garcia, the lyrics written by Robert Hunter. It was also released as a music video, the first one by the Grateful Dead. First performed as an encore on September 15, 1982 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, it was finally released on In the Dark in 1987. The song got into the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 9, and reached number 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, the only song by the band ever to do so on both charts.
The music video for “Touch of Grey” gained major airplay on MTV and featured a live performance by the band, first as life-size skeleton marionettes, then as themselves live on stage. The video was directed by Gary Gutierrez, who had previously created the animation sequences for The Grateful Dead Movie. The popularity of the single and the music video helped introduce the band to a new group of fans (known as the “in-the-darkheads”), resulting in the band gaining mainstream attention for better and worse.
Also in 1987, the live album Dylan & the Dead was recorded during a successful stadium tour with Bob Dylan. It was released in 1989 with seven songs written and sung by Dylan, accompanied by the Grateful Dead and produced by Jerry Garcia and John Cutler.
During the summer of 1990, keyboardist Brent Mydland died of a drug overdose. Mydland’s death greatly affected Garcia. Before beginning the fall tour, Vince Welnick and Bruce Hornsby joined he band and drove Garcia to new heights on stage in 1991.
Jerry died of a heart attack in August 1995. Garcia had long struggled with drug addiction, weight problems, sleep apnea, a cigarette habit, and diabetes all of which contributed to his physical decline and death. Half of Garcia’s cremated ashes were scattered in the Ganges River at the holy city of Rishikesh, India, a site sacred to Hindus. And according to Garcia’s last wishes, the other half of his ashes were poured into the San Francisco Bay. Following his death, the remaining members of the Grateful Dead formally decided to disband.
The Grateful Dead were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. On February 10, 2007, the band received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. And in 2011, the Dead’s Barton Hall Concert at Cornell University on May 8, 1977 was added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.
On July 21, 2005, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission renamed the amphitheater in McLaren Park “The Jerry Garcia Amphitheater.” The amphitheater is located in the Excelsior District, where Garcia grew up. The first show at the newly renamed amphitheater was Jerry Day August 7, 2005. The dedication ceremony on October 29, 2005 was officiated by mayor Gavin Newsom.
Some of Jerry’s best moments outside the Grateful Dead, a tribute from the Ben & Jerry’s website: http://www.benjerry.com/whats-new/jerry-garcia-tribute
“Jerry Garcia ties are certainly head-turners. These flamboyant and colorful men’s accessories are guaranteed to stand out from even the most mundane business suit, so punch up your business wardrobe with several of these fun silk ties.”
Grateful Dead official website: http://www.dead.net
Jerry Garcia’s Middle Finger Blog: http://jgmf.blogspot.com