The Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow has died, aged 70

Writer and internet pioneer passed away on Wednesday (February 7)

John Perry Barlow, writer and former Grateful Dead lyricist, has passed away.

Barlow penned numerous songs for cult US band The Grateful Dead from 1971 to 1995, including ‘Cassidy’, ‘Mexicali Blues’ and ‘Black-Throated Wind’.

According to reports, Barlow passed away in his sleep on Wednesday (February 7). He was aged 70.


The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir has paid tribute to Barlow on Twitter, writing: “This life is fleeting, as we all know – the Muse we serve is not. John had a way of taking life’s most difficult things and framing them as challenges, therefore adventures. He was to be admired for that, even emulated. He’ll live on in the songs we wrote”.

As well as his work with The Grateful Dead, Barlow was known for his vocal activism and defence of internet freedom, digital rights and online liberties. He helped establish the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in 1990.

In a statement, the EFF’s executive director Cindy Cohn writes: “We will miss Barlow and his wisdom for decades to come, and he will always be an integral part of EFF.”

“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. 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.”