Grateful Dead Lyricist And Cyberspace Advocate, John Barlow, Dies At 70

Date February 13, 2018

Foremost lyricist John Barlow passed away on Wednesday. The celebrated lyricist who worked with the American rock band Grateful Dead died in his sleep at his home in San Francisco. He was aged 70.

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John Barlow's Songwriting

His lyrical career with the Grateful Dead brought songs like “Cassidy,” “Heaven Help the Fool,” and “Mexicali Blues” to fans. He co-wrote those songs with members of the band and wrote four songs on the “Built to Last” album.

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Barlow did not only write songs. He was a foremost Republican politician and a leading freedom of expression advocate.

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His death was announced in a blogpost by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) that he co-owned and led as its Vice Chairman.

Cyberspace Advocacy

The foundation, formed in 1990, is known for its work on the internet. They are credited with challenging the American government’s internet policies and making the word ‘cyberspace’ popular.

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Executive director for the foundation Cindy Cohn noted that Barlow’s legacy was his devotion to making a world where free speech was possible without the fear of being coerced into silence.

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"The Internet Lost A Hero"

On their official Twitter account, Barlow's foundation captioned their announcement of his death, "The Internet lost a hero today."

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange also paid his respect to Barlow:

A piece on the New York Times noted that the late lyricist's desire for an open internet was partly inspired by the Grateful Dead. This is in reference to the band's practice of welcoming audiences to record the band's concerts.

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