The man who wrote the lyrics for much of the Grateful Dead catalog has died. The AP reports that Robert Hunter died Monday at his home in Northern California.
His cause of death was not released. Hunter was 78.
“Although proficient on a number of instruments including guitar, violin, cello and trumpet, Hunter never appeared on stage with the Grateful Dead during the group’s 30-year run that ended with the 1995 death of lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, his principal songwriting partner,” the AP reports.
“When he did attend the group’s concerts, he was content to either stand to the side of the stage or, better yet, sit anonymously in the audience,” the report adds. “It was in the latter location, he told The Associated Press in 2006, that he received his greatest songwriting compliment, from a man who had no idea who he was.”
The report quotes Hunter saying of the stranger: “He turned to me during ‘Cumberland Blues’ and said, ‘I wonder what the guy who wrote that song a hundred years ago would think if he knew the Grateful Dead was doing it.’”
Among Hunter’s many other memorable Grateful Dead lyrics are those to “It Must Have Been the Roses,” ″Terrapin Station,” ″The Days Between,” ″Brown Eyed Women,” ″Jack Straw, “Friend of the Devil,” ″Box of Rain,” ″Uncle John’s Band” and “Black Muddy River.”