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Posts Tagged ‘Owsley Stanley’

Died On This Date (March 13, 2011) Owsley Stanley / LSD Icon; Longtime Soundman for Grateful Dead

Posted by themusicsover on March 14, 2011

Augustus Owsley Stanley
January 19, 1935 – March 13, 2011

Owsley “Bear” Stanley was a sound engineer and former notorious LSD cook who was reportedly the first to manufacture large quantities of the drug.  His high-quality LSD, often given away for free, became plentiful in the San Francisco area during the mid ’60s so is credited for being an essential piece of the hippie movement.  As a respected sound engineer, Stanley was employed by (and also helped finance) the Grateful Dead.  He met members of the group during Ken Kesey’s famed acid tests of 1966 and became their first sound man.  He also co-designed their iconic “Steal Your Face” skull logo with Bob Thomas.   It was Stanley who developed the advanced high fidelity live sound system used by the Grateful Dead.  He also helped launch Meyer Sound, the respected concert sound system manufacturer.  During his years with the Grateful Dead, Stanley started the practice of taping the band’s rehearsals and live shows – this lead to the phenomenon of audience-generated tapes that spread well beyond the Dead.  He also made countless live recordings during the ’60s and ’70s of such acts as Jefferson Airplane, Miles Davis, Janis Joplin, Santana, and Johnny Cash to name just a few.   Owsley and his exploits have been documented in (or at least inspired) such songs as “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix, “Kid Charlemagne” by Steely Dan, and numerous others.  On March 13, 2011, Owsley Stanley was killed when the car he was driving swerved off a road near his home in Queensland, Australia.  The car reportedly went down an embankment and crashed into some trees killing Owsley and injuring his wife.  He was 76.



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