John Perry Barlow, Grateful Dead lyricist and internet pioneer, dies at 70

John Perry Barlow, the Wyoming-born Grateful Dead lyricist who later co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has died in his sleep at age 70.

Barlow was a champion of online free speech and privacy

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's John Perry Barlow, seen in 2014, died Wednesday at age 70. (Richard Drew, FIle/Associated Press)

John Perry Barlow, the Wyoming-born Grateful Dead lyricist who later founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has died at age 70. 

EFF said in statement that Barlow died Wednesday morning in his sleep. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Barlow was known for his belief in cyber liberties and co-founded the EFF in 1990, along with John Gilmore and Mitch Kapor, to champion free expression and privacy online. 

"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," EFF executive director Cindy Cohn wrote.

"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 worked with the Grateful Dead from 1971 to 1995, penning lyrics to dozens of songs including Black Throated Wind and Blown Away, among others.


  • An earlier version of the story said John Perry Barlow wrote the lyrics for Touch of Grey and Brown Eyed Woman. In fact, those are not among the songs written by Barlow.
    Feb 08, 2018 11:06 AM ET