Today, news broke that John Perry Barlow, lyricist for the Grateful Dead, passed away at the age of 70 years old. Frequently collaborating on songs with Bob Weir, the American poet, essayist, political activist, and retired Wyoming cattle rancher was attributed with helping create Grateful Dead tunes like “Throwing Stones”, “Feel Like A Stranger”, “Cassidy”, “Estimated Prophet”, “Lost Sailor”, “Saint Of Circumstance”, “Mexicali Blues”, “The Music Never Stopped”, and many others.
In addition to his contributions to the Grateful Dead, Barlow was a well-known political activist who identified as a cyberlibertarian, though he worked across the aisle with both Democrats and Republicans to further causes he believed in. He was a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Freedom of the Press Foundation and had, most recently, been particularly vocal in advocating for the preservation of net neutrality. Furthermore, he was a Fellow Emeritus at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and had previously been recognized by Time Magazine in the outlet’s 2012 article, “School of Rock: 10 Supersmart Musicians“.
The organization that he helped found, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, posted the news via a blog post on their website today. Rest in peace, Barlow. Your vast and varied contributions to the world–both to the legacy of the Grateful Dead and to our society at large–will be remembered.
The Internet lost a hero today. EFF is mourning the loss of our visionary co-founder, John Perry Barlow. https://t.co/oaf7hgKsOL
— EFF (@EFF) February 7, 2018
Below, you can watch the Grateful Dead perform some of Barlow’s memorable songwriting contributions to their repertoire:
The Grateful Dead – “Lost Sailor/Saint of Circumstance” – Oakland Auditorium – Oakland, CA – 12/31/80:
[Video: Music Vault]
The Grateful Dead – “Throwing Stones” – Anaheim Stadium – Anaheim, CA – 7/26/87:
[Video: Fernando Vieira]
The Grateful Dead – “The Music Never Stopped” – Radio City Music Hall – Oakland, CA – 10/29/80:
[Video: Music Vault]