Grateful Dead's John Perry Barlow Dies

John Perry Barlow, Lyricist For The Grateful Dead & Political Activist, Passes Away At 70

John Perry Barlow, famous for co-writing dozens of songs for The Grateful Dead, died on Wednesday at age 70. The organisation announced Barlow, a Wyoming native, died in his sleep on Wednesday morning.

Cohn said the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation, will write more about Barlow's legacy in coming days and weeks. She said Barlow understood that "new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good" and he made a conscious decision to focus on the latter. He also wrote lyrics for several of GD keyboardist Brent Mydland's songs in the 1980s, such as "Tons of Steel", "Just a Little Light", "We Can Run", "Blow Away" and "I Will Take You Home". A longtime friend of the Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, Barlow co-authored a number of songs for the band throughout the 70s.

In addition to his cyber activism, Barlow was a poet, essayist and an early lyricist for the Grateful Dead.

John Perry Barlow has one of those resumes that seems too surreal to possibly be true.

"He saw very clearly that it was a way for those who had previously been disempowered to have a voice and to have agency, be able to express themselves and connect with kindred spirits", said software entrepreneur and EFF co-founder Mitch Kapor. Among the tunes he helped compose were "Cassidy", "Heaven Help the Fool", "Looks Like Rain" and "Mexicali Blues".

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"I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us", he wrote. He was also a lyricist for The Grateful Dead.

According to CNET, Barlow is probably best remembered for his "A Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace", a 1996 paper that argued against governmental influence on the internet. He was a member of the External Advisory Council of the National Computational Science Alliance and spent time lecturing about the internet, civil rights, freedom of speech, and the EFF.

He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1969 and eventually returned to Wyoming, where he ran a cattle ranch for almost two decades and dabbled in libertarian and Republican politics, working on a congressional campaign for Richard B. Cheney, the future vice president in the George W. Bush administration.

His survivors include three daughters and a granddaughter.

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