R.I.P. Grateful Dead Lyricist Robert Hunter
He wrote lyrics for Dead staples "Truckin'" and "Touch of Grey"
Published Sep 24, 2019Robert Hunter — an American poet, writer and musician known best for his lyric writing with Grateful Dead — has died. Hunter's family confirmed that he passed away yesterday evening (September 23). A cause of death was not provided. He was 78.
"It is with great sadness we confirm our beloved Robert passed away yesterday night," a statement from Hunter's family read [via Rolling Stone]. "He died peacefully at home in his bed, surrounded by love. His wife Maureen was by his side holding his hand. For his fans that have loved and supported him all these years, take comfort in knowing that his words are all around us, and in that way his is never truly gone. In this time of grief please celebrate him the way you all know how, by being together and listening to the music. Let there be songs to fill the air."
Born in California in 1941, Hunter met and played music with future Grateful Dead founder Jerry Garcia in the early 1960s. As a student at Stanford University, Hunter was a participant in early LSD experiments and soon left California for the Southwestern United States.
While there, Hunter wrote and mailed lyrics to the Grateful Dead in San Francisco, before moving back to the state to reunite with Garcia. Joining the band for a series of shows in 1967, Hunter's first lyrical contributions were the lyrics to "Dark Star."
Hunter wrote lyrics for Dead staples "Casey Jones," "Truckin'," "Scarlett Begonias," "Touch of Grey" and more. Following Garcia's death, Hunter co-wrote songs with Bob Dylan, which appeared on 1988's Down in the Groove, 2009's Together Through Life and 2012's Tempest. He also worked with Elvis Costello, Bruce Hornsby, Dead drummer Mickey Hart and more.
Upon the Grateful Dead's 1994 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hunter was inducted with the group's performing members.
In 2013, Hunter received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association, while 2015 saw him inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.