Remembering Jerry Garcia `Their Music Has Been the Soundtrack of My Life'
ON Thursday, we asked readers to call or write with their memories and reflections on the death of Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia. Here are some of the messages we received:
I first saw the Dead at the Fox Theatre in 1971. I was just back from Vietnam. Over the years, they've been my light, particularly Jerry. They've brought me through very difficult times, through deaths of loved ones. They've allowed me to be the person I am. Their music has been the soundtrack of my life.
Jerry wrote lyrics that were absolutely spiritual in nature that would transcend what's in the Bible. Roger Lipe, 47, Hillsboro, Ill.
On July 31, 1970, I celebrated my 21st birthday in San Francisco. I went to see the Grateful Dead play an acoustic concert with the New Riders of the Purple Sage. It was a great show, and I was as happy as I think I have ever been, ordering my first legal beer in a bar and seeing my favorite band play live.
I just couldn't believe how good Jerry played that night, first soaring on the pedal-steel guitar with the New Riders and then on the acoustic guitar with the Dead. They played new stuff from the American Beauty album and some old C&W standards, a lot of which I never heard them do again.
The show ended well after midnight, and as the band was packing up I heard the strains of "Happy Birthday" coming from the stage. I thought, wow, it's someone else's birthday too. But when they sang the line "Happy Birthday, Dear Jerry" I was floored, as that is my name. It turned out that it was Aug. 1 by then, and the band was singing birthday wishes to Jerry Garcia. The crowd joined in. I don't think I ever enjoyed that song as much.
I saw the band play many a great show at the old Fox Theatre but never was it as wonderful and intimate as that night. A birthday never goes by for me without thinking of that fine day so long ago, and that's how I'll remember Jerry Garcia, the big cosmic woolly bear! Jerry Huth, 46, Creve Coeur
I first saw Jerry and the Dead at the Fox Theatre in 1972. …