- 25 Sep 19
He passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones and holding his wife's hand.
Robert Hunter, the lyricist behind many of the Grateful Dead’s most iconic songs, peacefully passed away last night surrounded by loved ones. Hunter’s family spoke on the passing saying that, ‘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.’
In 1961, Hunter met Jerry Garcia in Palo Alto where the two bonded in-part over the loss of their fathers. The duo began to perform music in Palo Alto’s bohemian scene. Meanwhile, Hunter was participating in LSD experiments at Stanford. When he started dabbling in harder drugs, he decided to leave Garcia for New Mexico. It was there that he penned some of the Grateful Dead’s earliest hits including ‘China Cat Sunflower’ and ‘St. Stephen.’
Hunter would go on to write other Dead staples such as ‘Ripple,’ ‘Friend of the Devil,’ ‘Sugar Magnolia,’ and ‘Scarlet Begonias.’ Hunter’s poetic lyrical style gave the band a spiritual depth that separated them from other bands in the Californian rock scene.
Beyond his work with the Dead, Hunter released several solo records and wrote songs with Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello.
Hunter’s favorite original line is lifted from ‘Ripple’ and goes, ‘Let it be known there is a fountain that was not made by the hands of men.’