Who is Jerry Garcia?

Jerry  Garcia or Jerome John Garcia was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for being a principal songwriter, the lead guitarist and a vocalist with the rock band the “Grateful Dead”. Jerome was a founding member and which came to prominence during the counterculture of the 1960s. Many considered him as the leader or “spokesman” of the group. The band had ruled over the hearts of music lovers not just in America, but all over the world.

Quick Info
Full NameJerome John Garcia
Birth DateAugust 1, 1942
Birth PlaceSan Francisco, California, United States
FatherRamon “Joe” Garcia
MotherRuth Marie Bobbie
DeathAugust 9, 1995


Jerry was born on August 1, 1942, in San Francisco, California, United States. He died on August 9, 1995, in Forest Knolls, California, the United States at the age of 53. He was a son to father, Ramon “Joe” Garcia and to mother, Ruth Marie Bobbie. Furthermore, He had one elder brother.

Jerry Garcia

Early Life

Jerry loved music from a young age and was encouraged by his music-loving parents to pursue his passion. Tragedy struck his household when his father drowned while on a fishing trip in 1947. Jerry and his brother were sent to live with their grandparents. Talking about his educational qualifications, he started with the Monroe Elementary School and realised his artistic abilities.

He became interested in rock and roll and rhythm and blues inspired by the likes of Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Hank Ballard and Chuck Berry as he grew up. He also attended several schools including Menlo Oaks School, Balboa High School and the Analy High School as a student. He was a trouble-maker as a teenager and was notorious for skipping classes and fights with fellow students. Jerry was involved in a serious car accident in which one of his friends died in 1961 which became a wakeup call for him and vowed to rebuild his life.

Jerry Garcia


Jerry  Garcia decided to take his life seriously and started playing the guitar in earnest. Subsequently that time, he became acquainted with some other aspiring musicians and decided to form his own band. Eventually, he founded a rock band “The Grateful Dead” along with Bob Weir, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzman in 1965 in Palo Alto, California.

The band made many musical influences and made extensive use of improvisational. It is also considered as one of the originators of jam band music. The band’s first two albums “The Grateful Dead” in 1967 and “Anthem of the Sun” in 1968 was moderate successes. However, it was their third album “Aoxomoxoa” in 1969 which established them as a popular rock group. The band also used to tour and play live concerts.


Over the 1970s, the band became increasingly popular due to its eclectic and unique music. In addition to his career with “The Grateful Dead,” he also started taking up side projects and released his solo albums “Garcia” in 1972, “Compliments” in 1974 and “Reflections” in 1976. Eventually in the mid-1970s, he founded another band named The Jerry Garcia Band. It was one of his most important side-projects and has the bassist John Kahn and keyboardist Melvin Seal.

Jerry Garcia

This band too played rock music infused with elements of blues, folk, country and jazz. The 1980s was a challenging period for him as he had become addicted to drugs because of which his health declined considerably. This also impacted his musical career negatively. He was not much productive during this decade. In the 1980s, he returned to his past glory when he teamed up with the bluegrass/newgrass mandolinist and composer David Grisman to release the album “Garcia/Grisman” in 1991 and “Not for Kids Only” in 1993. He ranked 13th in Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time” cover story.


Garcia was American by nationality and was of the white race. He belonged to Spanish, Irish and Swedish descent.

Jerry Garcia Death

Garcia died in his room at the rehabilitation clinic eight days after his 53rd birthday. He died due to heart attack as he had long struggled with drug addiction, weight problems, sleep apnea, heavy smoking and diabetes, all of which contributed to his physical decline.