Happy Birthday Neal Cassady

Who is Neal Cassady?

"Neal Cassady was undeniably the real genius behind the Beat movement.  He was a force of nature.  The inspiration behind Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road, the man Allen Ginsberg dedicated his landmark poem Howl to, the man who motivated and inspired William S. Burroughs, Ken Kesey, the Merry Pranksters, the Grateful Dead…and untold number of others. Who was this man? To the world, he was an icon of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s, the Holy Goof, Cowboy Neal at the wheel of the bus Furthur on the road to Nevereverland, to us, he was husband, father, and friend.  We are the Cassady family, dedicated to bringing you the real Neal, the Neal we knew.  Neal’s wife Carolyn Cassady and their children; Cathy Cassady Sylvia, Jami Cassady Ratto and John Allen Cassady wanted to bring the world the truth about the man, the myth, the one and only Neal Cassady. So join us in this odyssey of discovery, learn the truth behind the myth as we memorialize not the legend, but the man…" ~ http://www.nealcassadyestate.com

Read more about Neal and how he inspired an entire generation:

The real genius behind the Beat movement in literature never published a book during his life. He appeared as a main character in many books, though, from 'Go' by John Clellon Holmes to 'On The Road' by Jack Kerouac to 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test' by Tom Wolfe. His free-flowing letter writing style inspired the young Kerouac to break his ties to the sentimental style he'd picked up from Thomas Wolfe and invent his notion of 'spontaneous prose.' Without Neal Cassady, the Beat Generation would never have happened. – http://www.beatmuseum.org/cassady/nealcassady.html

The famous long lost letter:

Discovery: The letter Jack Kerouac described as ‘The greatest piece of writing I ever saw’


Is "Cassidy" about Neal?

In the Bob Weir / John Perry Barlow composition “Cassidy,” Barlow sets himself the task of comparing a newborn baby girl, named Cassidy, with the legendary “Cowboy Neal” who previously appeared in “That’s It For the Other One.” Read more from David Dodd on the meaning and lyrics. http://www.dead.net/features/greatest-stories-ever-told/greatest-stories-ever-told-cassidy

Check out some movies about Neal:

In 1964, Ken Kesey, the famed author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” set off on a legendary cross-country road trip to the New York World’s Fair. He was joined by “The Merry Band of Pranksters,” including Neal Cassady, the American icon immortalized in Kerouac’s “On the Road.” Kesey and the Pranksters intended to make a documentary about their trip, but the film was never finished and the footage has remained virtually unseen. With MAGIC TRIP, Oscar®-winning director Alex Gibney and Alison Ellwood were given unprecedented access to this raw footage to create a documentary of this extraordinary piece of American history.

A new documentary about the Furthur Bus.
Fifty years after the iconic first Trip, Ken Kesey’s son Zane took Furthur-and his father’s legacy-back on the road for its longest running tour in history. Armed with a new band of Merry Pranksters, the Furthur bus traveled over 15,000 miles in 75 days, riding into music festivals, community events, tribal gatherings and national landmarks.

Neal At The Wheel.
A recording of Neal Cassady as he is ‘rapping’ and driving Ken Kesey’s psychedelic bus ‘Further’ on their search for a Kool Place.


Watch Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady chatting below.