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Music lyricist, singer songwriter, and poet Robert Hunter pictures (pic) and photo gallery, albums covers pictures.
Birth name: Robert Burns.
Born: June 23, 1941 San Luis Obispo, California, USA.
Robert Hunter biography (bio):
He was born Robert Burns in San Luis Obispo, California. An early friend of Jerry Garcia, they played together in bluegrass bands (such as the Tub Thumpers) in the early sixties, with Hunter on mandolin and upright bass. They hung out in coffee shops, read poetry, learned about the Beat Movement, and were generally the hip teenagers of Palo Alto.
Around 1962, Hunter was an early volunteer test subject (along with Ken Kesey) for psychedelic chemicals at Stanford University's research covertly sponsored by the CIA in their MKULTRA program. [McNally 42] He was paid to take LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline and report on his experiences, which were creatively formative for him: "Sit back picture yourself swooping up a shell of purple with foam crests of crystal drops soft nigh they fall unto the sea of morning creep-very-softly mist...and then sort of cascade tinkley-bell like (must I take you by the hand, every so slowly type) and then conglomerate suddenly into a peal of silver vibrant uncomprehendingly, blood singingly, joyously resoundingbells....By my faith if this be insanity, then for the love of God permit me to remain insane." [McNally 42-43]
The first lyrics he wrote for the Grateful Dead were composed on LSD, and mailed to the band from Arizona: a suite that would later become "China Cat Sunflower"/"The Eleven" (these were originally performed together for a short time). After battling moderate drug addiction, he abandoned his Joycean/Western vision quest and joined his old friend's band, the Grateful Dead, on the first weekend in September 1967, at the small Rio Nido, California gigs. The association was at first informal, but began on an auspicious note, as that weekend he wrote the first verse of possibly his best known song, "Dark Star". It is perhaps not a coincidence that some Deadheads argue that the Rio Nido gigs were the first in which the band accessed the full power of their psychedelic improvisation style.
Hunter's relationship with the band grew, until he was officially a non-performing band member. The majority of the Grateful Dead's original songs are Hunter/Garcia collaborations, where Garcia specified the music, and Hunter wrote the lyrics. Garcia once described Hunter as "the band member who doesn't come out on stage with us." Hunter also collaborated as a lyricist with the other voices in the Dead, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, although over time Weir, the other principal songwriter besides Garcia, switched to using 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 most-known line is What a long, strange trip it's been, from that year's "Truckin'". Perhaps the apex of Hunter's lyricism came with two suites written in the mid-1970s, "Help on the Way"/"Franklin's Tower" (1975) and "Terrapin Station" (1977).
In 1974 Hunter released the solo 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 large audience. Another of his solo efforts, the extremely rare recording Jack O' Roses, containing the extended version of "Terrapin Station Suite" (sans the non-Hunter "At A Siding") and a solo rendition of "Friend Of The Devil",