Grateful Dead fans and the greater music community were sent into shock and sadness on Tuesday afternoon when news broke that Robert Hunter, the longtime songwriting partner to Jerry Garcia and the man responsible for many of the band’s most beloved lyrics, died on Monday evening at the age of 78.

Deadheads around the country have since flooded social media in gratitude to the late musician and songwriter with tribute posts comprised of their favorite lyrics from Hunter. Members of the Grateful Dead family, along with other notable musicians within the jam scene also shared their loving thoughts on the man behind the poetic genius of songs like “Dark Star”, “Terrapin Station”, “Ripple”, “Uncle John’s Band'”, and many more.

Scroll down for a mix of memorials and heartfelt tributes shared by artists and industry friends including Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Billy Kreutzmann, Oteil Burbridge, Trey Anastasio, Warren Haynes, John Mayer, and more.


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Fare you well, Mr. Hunter. We love you more than words can tell… For a man who provided us with so many meaningful words, the soundtrack to our lives, he’s left us a bit speechless with his passing. For more than 50 years, since his first lyrical contributions to the Grateful Dead in 1967, Robert Hunter has been just as integral a part of the legacy of the Grateful Dead as those who recorded the music to accompany his words, those who walked out on stage to bring his words to life. More than 2,000 times 1967-1995, these six (or five or seven) proud walkers on the jingle bell rainbow, plus countless thousands of times since then by other performers, the Grateful Dead have brought Hunter’s words to life in front of all of us as their witness. Not a single day has gone by since 1984 that Hunter’s words haven’t been a part of my world; I’ve heard Jerry, Bob and others sing his words literally every day for the past 35 years. When the final Fare Thee Well show ended in Chicago in 2015, Mickey Hart famously sent us on our way by asking us to “please, be kind,” and that lesson along with its lyrical brethren written by Hunter, “ain’t no time to hate,” and “are you kind?” are some of the truest words to live by. No matter what meaning, solace, lesson you find in Hunter’s lyrics, please go out and do some good with them. David Lemieux Photo Credit: @JayBlakesberg

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Robert Hunter wrote the soundtrack to my life; his words are with me always. They’ve become part of my daily thought process, world view, philosophy…they are the closest thing I have to prayers. Many of you can say this too and it is something we all share. He was the Grateful Dead’s lyricist but he also was the lyricist for my band 7 Walkers. He loved the music and he told me that when he played the record for the first time, he turned it up all the way and then laid down in bed to listen. Halfway through, his speakers came crashing down, almost hitting his head. He liked that. In fact, telling me about it was his form of a compliment. When I first formed 7 Walkers, I had called him up asking for a dozen songs and I told him they had to somehow reflect New Orleans or have cajun, creole, voodoo influences. He took that direction to heart and when he returned with words, I asked how he got so many of the details right — stuff you would’ve only known about if you lived in New Orleans. But Bob never lived in New Orleans. He just said, “Oh, well, I read a lot.” This just goes to show that his sorcery skills were no joke. I’m bringing up his collaboration with 7 Walkers because it gave me one more time to work with Bob, this time one-on-one. We had one major argument over changing one word, from “Seattle” to “New Orleans.” He was very protective over every single word; he’d fight you over syllables. The other time I worked with him outside the Dead was on Jerry’s solo album, Garcia. Hunter was inside the control room, writing lyrics as we played music. “The Wheel” came out of that. “Sugaree,” too. “Bird Song.” “Deal!!” Songs I still play today and that many of us can recite by heart — I know I sure can. But there’s always one thing I think of first, and that I keep coming back to, when looking back on our friendship: Bob was by my side for a particular day, seemingly lifetimes ago, that would forever alter my adventure on this planet — my first acid trip. You never forget your first, and Bob was there with me on that journey, complete with us watching the garbage trucks go by in the morning, after being up all night, convinced… (continued on FB)

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It’s Hard To Have Nothing To Sing For Robert Hunter It’s hard to have nothing to sing When your head is filled with such beautiful things Or your heart is bleeding through your shirt And the world ain’t making up for the hurt And your lungs fill up but the words don’t come So you breathe out heavy and your face goes numb And you feel so dumb Well brother here’s some words for you Some road to ride, some fat to chew Oh, I put the sun where I thought you’d need it But I spilled some clouds where I felt defeated So sometimes just to let you know, They’ll try their best to dull your glow But the spirit here is top shelf stuff We’re running low but there’s just enough. And here’s some colors you can use You’re more to me than just the blues You’re every shade of autumn leaves And the light that breaks through naked trees So steal the blanket off my bed And tip your hat down on your head The ride keeps going no matter what you do Some nights it’s just the moon and you You can borrow my dreams for as long as you need I’ll get em back when you plant that seed And you teach the world our morning songs And they join their hands and sing along In thanks for all the joy we bring Because being alive is a hell of a thing And it’s hard to have nothing to sing.

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Some of the most beautiful memories of my youth are of standing at concerts listening to Jerry sing Robert Hunter’s lyrics. The combination of those lyrics, always from the point of view of the outsider, the broken, the confused, the outlaw, the dying, the man on the street, and Jerry’s aching vulnerable voice, full of pain and spirit, was indescribable. Black Peter, Wharf Rat, Stella Blue, China doll, far too many to even name. I often find myself trying to describe those moments to younger musicians who didn’t get a chance to actually experience it. The songs live on, but for me the friendship and the connection between those two masterful artists will be the memory I’ll carry for the rest of my life. An entire arena caught in a collective gasp, tears running down peoples cheeks, all over one simple line. “A pistol shot, at five o clock, the bells of heaven ring” It was so profound and powerful. I am so grateful to Robert Hunter. Rest In Peace

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Rest easy, Robert Hunter. We will miss you more than words can tell. #folkfamily #newportfolk2014 #roberthunter 📷: Jason Speakman

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fare thee well

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RIP Robert Hunter ❤️

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