He was born on August 1, 1942 in San Francisco, California and while suffering from drug addiction, he died of a heart attack on August 9, 1995 in Forest Knolls, California. His father was a Spanish immigrant from La Coruña, a port city in northwest Spain that is known for its Roman lighthouse, the Tower of Hercules and his mother was an American of three quarters Irish and one quarter Swedish descent. His father was a musician and bar owner, and his mother played piano. He loved music from a young age and was encouraged by his music-loving parents to pursue his passion. At the age of five a wood chopping accident in the spring with his older brother at the family cabin caused him to lose most of the middle finger on his right hand and later that winter his father drowned while on a fishing trip. He studied piano as a boy but turned to the guitar in his teens. His brother introduced him to the blues and rock & roll of John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, and Chuck Berry. He was a trouble-maker as a teenager and was notorious for skipping classes and fighting with fellow students. At 15 he began smoking marijuana and attending art classes at the San Francisco Art Institute and later on in his life he produced paintings and a line of psychedelic neckties.
He dropped out of school at age 17 and served nine months in the U.S. Army before being discharged for poor conduct. He began to play folk and blues guitar alone or with pickup groups in clubs within the San Francisco area while working as a salesman and music teacher in a music store. He was part of the hippie movement that involved drugs like LSD and he became known as Captain Trips back in the days of the Ken Kesey acid tests. He said that LSD made him feel freer to live outside a conventional lifestyle.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and he was ranked 13th in Rolling Stone’s ‘100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time’. For all his creativity and talent, he had a dark side, being a heavy smoker and he was a diabetic, and his health suffered greatly because of his addiction to drugs. The American musician was a cultural and musical icon and it is said that he had a net worth of $40 million at the time of his death. It was a long strange trip for a man with crazy fingers. If you think you can guess who this article is written about, then take a crack at it.
Written for RayNotBradbury One Day with a Star Challenge
- Describe a very famous person (preferably historical, or well known – to everyone!). Include the details in your story so people can guess who is that STAR, but do not mention the real name.
- You can add 1 photo-detail (non obligatory).
- The style and the genre of the writing – any.