Jerome John Garcia was born on this day in 1942 to musical parents in San Francisco who named their son in tribute to American composer Jerome Kern. Jerry's father had played piano professionally and co-owned a bar with his brother that his mother, who was also a pianist, operated after her husband drowned on a fishing trip when Jerry was just five. Due to the long hours she put in at the bar, Jerry and his brother spent the following 5 years in the care of her parents. His grandmother introduced him to country and bluegrass music and his brother turned him on to R&B and Rock. On his 15th birthday, Garcia's mother gave him an accordian, which he got her to exchange for a guitar and a small amp.
He joined his first band in in 1959 after his mother had relocated her family to a small town about 100 miles north of San Francisco. The Chords won a talent contest at his high school and got to record a song as their prize, choosing the instrumental Raunchy that Bill Justice had released two years earlier.
After a brief stinit in the Army, Garcia began hanging out with musicians in Palo Alto. A high speed car accident that killed the driver, seriously injured another friend and sent Garcia through the windshield, breaking his collarbone, got Jerry to reassess his priorities. Reflecting on that wreck, Garcia said, That's where my life began. Before then I was always living at less than capacity. I was idling. That was the slingshot for the rest of my life. It was like a second chance. Then I got serious." Being a better musician became a priority.
He met musician and lyrisist Robert Hunter in 1961. The two played as a duo and were together in a couple of bands. The following year, Jerry met future band mate Phil Lesh during a party in Palo Alto and Garcia was introduced to fellow guitarist Bob Weir on New Year's Eve in 1963. In 1965, Garcia and Weir teamed with Ron "Pig Pen" McKernan to form Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. Lesh joined them in 1965 and drummer Bill Kreutzmann the group transitioned into the Warlocks and shortly thereafter became the Grateful Dead.
Other Noteworthy Classic Rock events on August 1 include...
1943 Wings Geoff Britton born.
1946 King Crimson & Bad Company's Boz Burell born.
1947 Tubes Rick Anderson born.
1951 Deep Purple's Tommy Bolin born.
1953 Robert Cray born.
1959 Def Leppard's Joe Elliot born.
1969 Jethro Tull releases Stand Up.
1970 Performance with Mick Jagger has its screen premiere in London.
1970 Derek & Dominos make live debut in London.
1970 Jimi Hendix does last U.S. concert in Hawaii.
1971 George Harrison stages Concert For Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden with Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, Billy Preston and Ravi Shankar.
1974 Eric Clapton breaks a ukulele over Pete Townshend's head during Atlanta concert. 1980 John Lennon & Yoko Ono start recording Double Fantasy album.
1980 Def Leppard makes US live debut in New York City.
1981 MTV premieres
1983 Neil Young releases Everybody's Rockin'.
1986 Jerry Garcia discharged from hospital after recovering from a diabetic coma.
1994 Rolling Stones open VooDoo Lounge tour in Washington, DC.
2000 AC/DC's Stiff Upper lip tour opens in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
2007 Police play reunion concert at Madison Square Garden.
2019 Pioneering rock concert and documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennybacker dies at 94.