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Biography

  • Born

    23 June 1941

  • Born In

    Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo County, California, United States

  • Died

    23 September 2019 (aged 78)

Robert Hunter (June 23, 1941 – September 23, 2019) was an American lyricist, singer-songwriter, translator, and poet, best known for his work with Grateful Dead. When the Dead was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, Hunter was included as a band member, the only non-performer ever so honored. Hunter recorded several albums under his own name, collaborated with Bob Dylan on several occasions, and wrote songs with Jim Lauderdale, Greg Anton, Steve Kimock, David Nelson, Pete Sears, and Rob Barraco, among others.

Most famous as the lyricist for a large number of Grateful Dead songs and of other projects of the members, especially his longtime friend Jerry Garcia, Hunter also wrote poetry, novels and (folk) music on his own, having released his first album, Tales of the Great Rum Runners, in 1974, supported by members of the Dead. Some of the songs he wrote to sing were later played by the Dead, some of the ones he wrote to the band he later sang (usually very differently) and others kept only his own, like Boys in the Barroom, probably his most famous song never played by the Dead.

Following the dissolution of Grateful Dead in 1995, Hunter successfully continued his writing career, working on new songs with Jim Lauderdale, Greg Anton, Steve Kimock, David Nelson, Pete Sears, and Rob Barraco, among others.

Hunter collaborated with Bob Dylan on several occasions; he co-wrote two songs on Dylan's 1988 album Down in the Groove, all but one of the songs on Dylan's 2009 album Together Through Life, and "Duquesne Whistle" from Dylan's 2012 album Tempest.

In 2012, Hunter co-wrote four songs on Little Feat's album Rooster Rag.

In 2013, Hunter received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association. In 2015, Hunter, along with Garcia, were inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.

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