Despite missing the middle finger of his right hand (it was accidentally chopped off by his brother when he was four), Jerry Garcia went on to co-found one of the most important rock bands of all time, the Grateful Dead. More than forty years ago, the Dead were the house band for the Summer of Love. Today, they're still beloved, with their music performed by former members Bob Weir (Rat Dog), Phil Lesh (and Friends), Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, Further, and countless cover bands.
Born on Aug. 1, 1942 in San Francisco, Garcia was the consummate musician, versed in all styles from bluegrass to jazz to psychedelia. He recorded more than 20 albums with the Dead and dozens of others under his own name and with the New Riders of the Purple Sage, Old and In the Way and David Grisman.
The jam-band scene primarily grew out of the Grateful Dead's improvisational music, counterculture foundation and relentless touring. Garcia was a true American master - his elliptical guitar-playing style is often copied, but seldom equaled, and his presence continues to be felt in the music of so many he inspired.
Garcia used and abused many drugs, including heroin and cocaine. He was arrested in 1985 for drug possession. Garcia's addiction, poor eating habits and diabetes contributed to his deterioration while on the road in 1995. After the tour concluded he agreed to go into rehab. Garcia died of a heart attack at Forest Knoll on Aug. 9, 1995.
He was married three times and had three daughters.