Grateful Dead lyricist and musician Robert Hunter died September 23 in his home at the age of 78. His wife was by his side at the time of his death. No official cause of death was released.
In 1994 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the Grateful Dead and in a rare decision, The Hall also inducted Hunter as a non performing member. However, he never appeared on stage with The Dead.
Along with Jerry Garcia, Hunter is also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
A musician and songwriter in his own right, Hunter penned songs for a number of artists including Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, and Bruce Hornsby.
A multi instrumentalist, Hunter played the guitar, violin, cello, and trumpet. Hunter also recorded several albums of his own music.
Hunter often cited Gilbert and Sullivan, Woody Guthrie, James Joyce, John Steinbeck, Hans Christian Andersen, Josh White and Francis James Child as influences in his writing.
He was born Robert Burns on June 23, 1941. His father abandoned the family when young Robert was only Seven years old; as a result, he spent time in foster homes. At age eleven, he got a new father…and a new name when his mother married Norman Hunter.
In 1960, Hunter met Jerry Garcia and formed the folk duo Bob and Jerry.
After formed the Grateful Dead, Garcia contacted Hunter, who had moved to New Mexico by then, to send him some song lyrics…which Hunter did.
He is survived by his wife Maureen and daughter Kate.
Robert Hunter discography:
“Tales of the Great Rum Runners”
“Jack O’ Roses”
“Flight of the Marie Helena”
“A Box of Rain: Live 1990”
“Riike: Duino Elegies / The Sonnets to Orpheus”
“Carolina Moonrise: Bluegrass”
“Songs by Robert Hunter and Jim Lauderdale”
“Great Rum Runner”
feature photo credit: By briangatens – Flickr: image, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28956528