Robert Hunter

Robert Hunter Bio

Robert Hunter was an American lyricist, singer-songwriter, translator, and poet, best known for his work with the Grateful Dead. He has died on 24 September 2019 at the age of 78. He was born on 23 June 1941 in San Luis Obispo, California, United States.

Robert Hunter Grateful Dead

The first lyrics he wrote for the Grateful Dead were composed while on LSD and mailed to the band from Arizona: a suite that would later become China Cat Sunflower/The Eleven.

China Cat Sunflower would later find a partner in I Know You Rider. After battling moderate drug addiction, he joined the Grateful Dead on the first weekend in September 1967, at four gigs in Rio Nido, California. That weekend he wrote the first verse of Dark Star.

Hunter’s relationship with the band grew until he was officially a non-performing band member. When the band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, Hunter included as a band member, the only non-performer ever so honoured.

The majority of the Grateful Dead’s original songs are Hunter/Garcia collaborations, with music by Garcia and lyrics by Hunter. Garcia once described Hunter as the band member who doesn’t come out on stage with us.

He also collaborated as a lyricist with the different participants of the Dead, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Ron Pigpen McKernan. Although over time Weir, the different fundamental songwriter without Garcia, switched to the use of John Perry Barlow as a lyricist.

Hunter called 1970’s Friend of the Devil the closest he and Garcia came to writing a classic song. Hunter’s best-known line is probably What a long, strange trip it’s been, from that year’s Truckin’.

Solo work

In 1974, Hunter released the single album Tales of the Great Rum Runners featuring himself as a singer-songwriter. It was followed the next year by Tiger Rose. Neither attracted a broad audience.

Another of his solo efforts is the sporadic recording Jack O’ Roses, containing the extended version of Terrapin Station Suite and a solo rendition of Friend of the Devil.

In 1983, Hunter convinced Relix magazine founder, Les Kippel, to start a record company. Hunter wanted an American outlet for his new project, Jack O’Roses.

In 2013, Hunter announced a solo tour to commence in the Fall.


In 2013, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association. He then proceeded to perform Ripple. Jim Lauderdale presented the award.

In 2015, Hunter and Garcia inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.

Hunter accepted the award along with Garcia’s daughter, Trixie Garcia, allowing on behalf of her father. Hunter then performed Ripple from the Grateful Dead’s album American Beauty.

Robert Hunter Wife

Robert Hunter married his wife Maureen Hunter in 1982. She is an artist.

Death Cause

Hunter died on a Monday night, September 23, 2019, peacefully at home in his bed with his wife, Maureen, by his side holding his hand. No cause of death given yet.

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