KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Jerry Garcia Turns 75: A 'Dark Star' Celebration

Aug 1, 2017
Originally published on August 2, 2017 7:27 am

It's hard to believe that Jerry Garcia would have turned 75 Tuesday.

Eight days after his 53rd birthday, the Grateful Dead legend died in his sleep at a recovery center, while trying one last time to shake his addictions.

Garcia was always an old soul: He'd been here before and he knew it. He was already familiar with the rules, yet he defied conventions and created a body of work that many are still discovering and appreciating.

There are countless ways to mark his birthday — Grateful Dead theater meet up, anyone? — but 75 seems like too significant a number to ignore. So here's another tribute: a five-track playlist of different versions of "Dark Star," the song that launched 246 jams over The Grateful Dead's 28-year history. To my mind, it was the song that pushed Garcia and the entire band to their exploratory and avant garde edges.

For the record: These five versions are chosen using no other criteria than the fact that I dig them.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.