Grateful Dead lyricist and internet activist John Perry Barlow dead at 70

PHOTO: Portrait of John Perry Barlow, from Electronic Frontier Foundation/Berkman Center for Internet and Society, at the annual PC Forum, Tucson, Ariz., in 1991.Ann E. Yow-Dyson/Getty Images
Portrait of John Perry Barlow, from Electronic Frontier Foundation/Berkman Center for Internet and Society, at the annual PC Forum, Tucson, Ariz., in 1991.

John Perry Barlow, a lyricist who co-wrote dozens of songs for The Grateful Dead, died on Wednesday at the age of 70.

A post on the website of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group Barlow co-founded in 1990 to promote freedom of expression in digital media, said that he "passed away quietly in his sleep."

Barlow contributed lyrics to many Grateful Dead songs from 1971 until the group disbanded in 1995 following the death of frontman Jerry Garcia.

Barlow usually collaborated with singer/guitarist Bob Weir, but also co-wrote with keyboardist Brett Mydland. Among the tunes he helped compose were "Cassidy," "Heaven Help the Fool," "Looks Like Rain" and "Mexicali Blues."

In addition, Barlow wrote dozens of songs with Weir for Bob's various solo projects.

PHOTO: The Grateful Dead perform at the Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, Iowa, June 16, 1974.Kirk West/Getty Images
The Grateful Dead perform at the Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, Iowa, June 16, 1974.

In the message announcing his death, the EFF's executive director, Cindy Cohn, said, "It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow's vision and leadership."

She went on, "He always saw the Internet as a fundamental place of freedom, where voices long silenced can find an audience and people can connect with others regardless of physical distance."

Barlow was among the many Grateful Dead associates who were interviewed in the 2017 documentary about the group, "Long Strange Trip."

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