Jerry Garcia passed away 25 years ago today. The 53-year-old Grateful Dead guitarist struggled with drug addiction throughout his career before he succumbed to a heart attack while in a rehabilitation facility in California. On the anniversary of his death, both fans and fellow musicians took to the internet and social media to share their thoughts on the counterculture icon.
Bruce Hornsby played piano and accordion, and sang alongside Garcia as a part-time member of the Grateful Dead in the early ’90s following the 1990 death of keyboardist Brent Mydland. The musician, whose solo career has spawned hit songs including “The Way It Is” and “Mandolin Rain,” recalled fond memories of his bandmate in an interview with Rolling Stone.
“I miss him so much. He was such a deep soul, but also a really funny guy. He ready to laugh and had the sharpest wit and just a great recall. Great memory, great knowledge of the world. He was a great hang.”
Hornsby would also credit Garcia with creating a legacy that included so many amazing pieces of music. He named “Black Muddy River,” “Ramble On Rose,” and “Brokedown Palace” as a few song examples before saying that Dead & Company — which features John Mayer along with three of Garcia’s surviving bandmates in Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart — is doing an excellent job of carrying the torch forward.
“Young people who come to those shows now, the uninitiated, sense something very deep and moving. It gets under their skin, and they become fans,” he said.
Singer-songwriter Pete Yorn was another musician who took some time to remember Garcia and recognize the influence he had on him.
He tweeted — along with a link to Apple Music and a live cover of “After Midnight” — that “25 years since we lost jerry garcia his music still fresh.”
You can read Yorn’s tweet here.
Jake Sherman — author and political commentator for Politico, NBC News, and MSNBC — said on Twitter that the guitarist’s work has been the soundtrack of his life along with the lives of so many others while including a video link to a Garcia/Weir acoustic show.
See Sherman’s tweet here.
Sherman was not the only modern day political correspondent who admitted to having deadhead roots, however. ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl tweeted “RIP Jerry Garcia” and explained that in 1995 he successfully convinced his bosses at the New York Post to fly him out to San Francisco to cover the aftermath of his death.
But while he was able to leave an impact on the lives of celebrities, media members, and fellow musicians, one of Garcia’s trademark talents was his ability to connect with the common person through his soulful playing.
“Jerry Garcia nothing left to do but smile smile smile. Grateful that my buddy JD turned me into the Dead in ’91, many great memories and wonderful music to make life that much more enjoyable. RIP Jerry and JD. Thank you both,” a fan shared on Twitter.
Another user summed up the feelings of many fans when they reflect on the life of Garcia and his passing.
“In truth, he took a little piece of so many of us with him,” they said.
Watch the Grateful Dead perform Garcia’s ballad “So Many Roads,” via YouTube, live from Solider Field in Chicago on July 9, 1995. The concert would wind up being Garcia’s final public performance.