As Jerry Garcias writing partner in the Grateful Dead, lyricist Robert Hunter (born June 23, 1941) shared in the creation of such classic Dead fare as Casey Jones, China Cat Sunflower, St. Stephen, Truckin, Dark Star, Friend of the Devil, Uncle Johns Band, Casey Jones, Sugar Magnolia and Touch of Grey.
But Hunters partnership with Dead co-founder Garcia dates back to their initial pairing as performers in an early 1960s folk duo. They had met in 1961 in Palo Alto (Garcias first concert was with Hunter, with each earning $5), and Hunter also played in several of Garcia’s early bluegrass bands. Hunter rejoined Garcia in the Grateful Dead in the fall of 1967, when he wrote the first verse of Dark Star at a band rehearsal. The composition is now listed among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fames 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, and is also No. 57 on Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time. Truckin, too, has been singled out, by the U.S. Library of Congress, which cited it as a national treasure in 1997.
Friend of the Devil, from the Deads 1970 album American Beauty, is another significant Hunter-Garcia copyright in that it has been covered by Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, The Counting Crows, Elvis Costello, Lyle Lovett and John Mayer.
Hunters contributions to the Deads songs reflected his focus on being a writer and poetand he went on to publish several poetry books. Though he never played on stage with the Dead, he was indeed a member and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of…