Jerry Garcia led the counterculture of the 1960s in a musical movement that included peace, love, and lots of extended musical interludes. As the leader of the Grateful Dead, he oversaw the development of the jam band, a popular genre that continues to grow today, as he and his musical cohorts noodled their way through drawn-out solos to the delight of their loyal audiences. In studio recordings, they kept things tighter, turning out beloved (and reasonably short) songs including “Uncle John’s Band,” “Casey Jones,” and “Sugar Magnolia.” Aside from his long tenure as frontman of the Dead, Garcia also enjoyed a solo career and played in side projects such as Old and in the Way as well as the New Riders of the Purple Sage. We remember Garcia’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1958: Rob Buck, U.S. guitarist who was a founding member of 10,000 Maniacs, who had hits including “These Are Days” and “Trouble Me,” is born in Jamestown, New York.
1951: Tommy Bolin, U.S. guitarist who played with Zephyr, the James Gang, and Deep Purple, is born in Sioux City, Iowa.
1949: Jim Carroll, U.S. poet and punk musician known for his 1980 single “People Who Died” and for inspiring the film “The Basketball Diaries,” in which he was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, is born in Manhattan, New York.
In the 1970s, Carroll was a fixture of the burgeoning downtown New York art scene, where he mixed with artists such as Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Larry Rivers, and Robert Mapplethorpe. His life was shaped by drug use, which he wrote about extensively. Carroll also published several poetry collections, while his 1980 album, “Catholic Boy,” has been hailed as a landmark punk record, and he became known for one of its songs, “People Who Died.” Read more
1942: Jerry Garcia, U.S. singer-songwriter and guitarist who was the longtime leader of the Grateful Dead, is born in San Francisco, California.
The Grateful Dead “never played a song the same way twice,” The New York Times noted in Garcia’s obituary. “The Dead built their reputation on long, free-form concerts, going onstage without a set list and playing anything from original songs to rock oldies to extended experiments with feedback. The music could shift in any direction as it sought what the band and its fans called the ‘X factor’: spontaneous, revelatory stretches of music arrived at through practice and serendipity.” Read more
1936: Yves Saint-Laurent, French fashion designer known for his ready-to-wear fashions, is born in Oran, Algeria.
A towering figure of 20th-century fashion, Saint Laurent was widely considered the last of a generation that included Christian Dior and Coco Chanel and made Paris the fashion capital of the world, with the Rive Gauche, or Left Bank, as its elegant headquarters. In the fast-changing world of haute couture, Saint Laurent was hailed as the most influential and enduring designer of his time. From the first YSL tuxedo and his trim pantsuits to see-through blouses, safari jackets, and glamorous gowns, Saint Laurent created instant classics that remain stylish decades later. Read more
1933: Teri Shields, U.S. actress who was the mother of Brooke Shields and appeared with her in films including “Endless Love,” is born in Newark, New Jersey.
Brooke Shields parted ways professionally with her mother in 1995, describing the move as “the hardest thing.” Teri Shields started promoting her daughter as an actress and model when she was still a baby and allowed her to be cast as a child prostitute in 1978’s “Pretty Baby” when she was just 11, sparking an outcry over the decision. Read more
1933: Dom DeLuise, U.S. actor and comedian who starred in popular films such as “The Cannonball Run” and “Silent Movie,” is born in Brooklyn, New York.
When DeLuise died May 4, 2009, director Mel Brooks had this to say: “(He) created so much joy and laughter on the set that you couldn’t get your work done. So every time I made a movie with Dom, I would plan another two days on the schedule just for laughter.” The viewing public didn’t get to be a part of those two behind-the-scenes laughter days, but that doesn’t mean we missed out on the hilarity that was Dom DeLuise. The great comic actor left us plenty of laughs in dozens of films and television shows. Read more
1843: Robert Todd Lincoln, U.S. lawyer who was the only one of Abraham Lincoln‘s sons to live to adulthood, is born in Springfield, Illinois.
1819: Herman Melville, U.S. author known best for his classic novel “Moby-Dick,” is born in New York, New York.
1779: Francis Scott Key, U.S. lawyer and author who wrote the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is born in Carroll County, Maryland.