Music News

Gone to Heaven: The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia died 25 years ago this Sunday

Clayton Call/Redferns

This Sunday, August 9, marks the 25th anniversary of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia‘s death.

The singer/guitarist, who passed away from heart failure at age 53 while in a drug-rehab facility, was the de facto leader of The Dead, inspiring an entire subculture of “Deadheads” who’ve embraced the San Francisco-area group’s rootsy, laid-back music and the counterculture lifestyle they espoused.

Garcia co-wrote most of The Dead’s songs, usually in collaboration with lyricist Robert Hunter, including well-known songs like “Casey Jones,” “Ripple,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Truckin’,” “Bertha,” “Alabama Getaway” and “Touch of Grey.”  Countless musicians have been influenced by Jerry’s guitar playing and his group’s music, while his surviving band mates all have carried on his legacy by continuing to perform and record — together, individually and in varying combinations.

Garcia was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Grateful Dead in 1994, and was posthumously inducted — alongside Hunter — into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015. Sadly, Hunter died last September at the age of 78.

As previously reported, Garcia’s family and The Grateful Dead’s Rex Foundation charity recently launched the inaugural edition of a planned annual virtual event called “Daze Between” saluting Jerry’s life and legacy. It kicked off on August 1 — on what would’ve been his 78th birthday — and runs through the anniversary of Garcia’s passing.

The nine-day extravaganza will wind down Sunday with a 6 p.m. ET screening of the Jerry Garcia 75th Birthday Celebration concert, which featured performances by Bob Weir & The Campfire Band, The Jerry Garcia 75th Birthday Band and more. Visit for a full schedule.

By Matt Friedlander
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