"Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia" (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995) was the lead guitarist and vocalist of the psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead. Named after composer Jerome Kern, Garcia started on the banjo and piano, moved on to the guitar, and eventually became a master on many stringed instruments, despite the accidental amputation—by his brother Clifford Garcia ("Tiff")—of his right middle finger just below the first knuckle at age four, while Tiff was chopping wood.
Garcia was born in San Francisco, California, United States. He dropped out of Balboa High School and enlisted in the United States Army on April 12, 1960. After completing Basic Training and Service School Training as an auto maintenance helper, at Fort Ord California, Garcia was stationed at Fort Winfield in San Francisco's Presidio. Garcia was still spending his hours at his leisure, picking up the acoustic guitar. He was discharged on December 14, 1960, after accruing two courts martial and eight AWOLs. After his discharge Garcia and a poet named Robert Hunter teamed up to make music—later on, Hunter would become the main lyricist for the Grateful Dead. Around this time Garcia was...