Tomorrow is the anniversary of the birth of Owsley Stanley. I’m writing about him today because tomorrow is also Dolly Parton’s birthday, and I wrote about her first.
Have no earthly idea who Owsley Stanley is? Well, he was also known as Bear. No? Still no idea?
According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owsley_Stanley,
Owsley Stanley (born Augustus Owsley Stanley III), also known as Bear, was an American audio engineer and chemist. He was a key figure in the San Francisco Bay Areahippie movement during the 1960s and played a pivotal role in the counterculture of the 1960s.
Under the professional name, “Bear”, he was the soundman for the rock band the Grateful Dead, whom he met when Ken Kesey invited them to an Acid Test party. As their sound engineer, Stanley frequently recorded live tapes behind his mixing board.
Stanley was the first private individual to manufacture mass quantities of LSD. By his own account, between 1965 and 1967, Stanley produced no less than 500 grams of LSD, amounting to a little more than ten million doses at the time.
Stanley also helped design the most famous symbol of the Grateful Dead, the skull and lightning bolt, or “Steal Your Face” logo. According to the Grateful Dead music website (http://gratefuldead-music.com/article/grateful-dead-symbols-de-coded-part-4-skull-and-lightning-bolt),
[d]esigned in 1969, the logo was the collaborative work of Owsley Stanley and artist Bob Thomas. Owsley was inspired by a freeway sign he happened to pass by—a round shape divided by a bold white line into an orange half and a blue half. The general shape and colors stood out, and Owsley had the notion that a blue and red design with a lightning bolt with make a cool logo. He shared his idea with Bob Thomas, who then drew up plans of the design.
Originally, there was no skull face—the logo was simply a circle divided with the lightning bolt. The skull face was added on a few days later, as a way to symbolize the “Grateful Dead.”
Stanley died in 2011, from injuries sustained in a car accident in Australia, where he had lived for many years. He may be gone from this earth, but he lives on in the hearts of Deadheads around the world.