Robert Hunter

Robert C. Christie Hunter (born Robert Burns; June 23, 1941 – September 23, 2019) was an American lyricist, singer-songwriter, translator and poet, best known for his work with the Grateful Dead. Born near San Luis Obispo, California, Hunter spent some time during his childhood in foster homes as a result of his father abandoning his family, and took refuge in reading and writing. He attended the University of Connecticut for a year before returning to Palo Alto, where he became friends with musician Jerry Garcia. Hunter and Garcia began a collaboration that lasted through the remainder of Garcia’s life.

Garcia and others formed the Grateful Dead in 1965, and later began working with lyrics from Hunter, whom Garcia invited to join the band as a lyricist. Hunter contributed substantially to many of their albums, beginning with Aoxomoxoa in 1969. He wrote lyrics to a number of the band’s signature songs, including “Dark Star“, “Ripple“, “Truckin’“, “China Cat Sunflower“, and “Terrapin Station“. Hunter was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Grateful Dead in 1994, and is the only non-performer to be inducted as a member of a band. Upon his death, Rolling Stonedescribed him as “one of rock’s most ambitious and dazzling lyricists”.

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