Officially the Grateful Dead had no leader. But from the band’s origins in 1965 to his death 30 years later, Garcia was the best known member of a group which still evokes the excitement of American counterculture in the 1960s.
As well as ’60s psychedelia, the group’s albums show the influence of jazz, bluegrass, mainstream pop and even their early days as a jug band. But when they toured it was the lengthy jam sessions fans loved – and central to those was the Garcia guitar sound.
Devoted Deadheads identify five classic guitars which Garcia played at different times: Alligator, Rosebud, Lightning Bolt, Tiger and Wolf. The last two were auctioned together in 2002 and made more than $1.5m (£1.2m). Now Wolf is back at the same auction house to benefit the advocacy group the Southern Poverty Law Center.