Among a legion of youthful seekers, his name was synonymous with the ultimate high as a copious producer of what Rolling Stone once called "the best LSD in the world … the genuine Owsley." He reputedly made more than a million doses of the drug, much of which fueled Ken Kesey's notorious Acid Tests — rollicking parties featuring all manner of psychedelic substances, strobe lights and music.
The music that rocked Kesey's events was made by the Grateful Dead, the iconic rock band of the era that also bears Stanley's imprint. His chief effect on the band stemmed not merely from supplying its musicians with top-grade LSD but from his technical genius: As the Dead's early sound engineer, Stanley, nicknamed "Bear," developed a radical system he called the "wall of sound," essentially a massive public address system that reduced distortion and enabled the musicians to mix from the stage and monitor their playing.
Stanley relocated to Australia more than 30 years ago because he believed it was the safest place to avoid a new ice age. He was a fanatical carnivore who once said that eating broccoli may have contributed to a heart attack several years ago.
He was driving his car in a storm near the town of Mareeba in Queensland when he lost control and crashed, said Sam Cutler, a longtime friend and former Grateful Dead tour manager. He died at the scene.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by sons Pete and Starfinder; daughters Nina and Redbird; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.