Theresa Garcia and Robert Hunter; Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of FameGrateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia is no longer with us, but he was celebrated Thursday night in New York City when he was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, along with his lyricist partner Robert Hunter. Hunter said he’s not sure what Garcia would have made of the honor, but he thinks he would’ve been happy about it.

“It’s hard to say with Jerry. You know, he sent up a cardboard cutout of himself for his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [induction],” Hunter told reporters. “But I know the songs mean as much to him as they do to me. So, I think he’d dig it.” Hunter was joined by Garcia’s daughter, Theresa.

Together, Garcia and Hunter wrote such classics as”Casey Jones,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Truckin'” and “Touch of Grey.” On the red carpet, he entertained reporters by singing a few lines of the first song he and Garcia ever wrote. Called “Black Cat,” the unreleased song was penned while they were still in their teens.

Garcia’s second wife Carolyn Adams, known to Dead fans as “Mountain Girl,” spoke to reporters about Garcia and Hunter’s partnership. “There was just a beautiful marriage of the two talents, and they worked together for many years,” she noted. “But some of those songs were built in a day.”

Performing in honor of the Dead Thursday night was country star Zac Brown, frontman for Zac Brown Band. On the red carpet, Brown talked about how influential the Grateful Dead had been on him, despite the fact that he’s a country artist.

“I’ve been covering Dead songs since you know, I was probably 15, 16,” he told reporters, noting that he read a book about the dead, Dark Star, which taught him a lot about the band’s history. “They basically invented outdoor P.A. systems,” he said. “From that, to the culture they made with their fans, the connection is there: the legacy that they made and created is very inspiring and definitely influential on me.”

Brown also talked about how he’s been in touch with his friend and musical collaborator, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, who recently broke his leg in the middle of a concert, finished the show, and then went to the hospital for surgery. Brown teamed up with Foo Fighters for the song “Congregation,” on the band’s current album Sonic Highways. “Yeah, we’ve been texting in and out of the hospital. He was feeling pretty good after his surgery,” Brown laughed. “So, I have some good videos of that.”

Other honorees Thursday night included newly minted knight Sir Van Morrison, who received the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award, and Nate Ruess of fun., who received the Hal David Starlight Award. The other inductees included Cyndi Lauper, country star Toby Keith, country songwriter Bobby Braddock, pop songwriter and former 4 Non Blondes frontwoman Linda Perry, and late blues legend Willie Dixon.

On the red carpet, Sambora, who personally campaigned to have Dixon inducted, spoke about how influential he was.

“He changed the blues,” Sambora told reporters. “I mean, how many people have covered his songs, between the ‘Hoochie Coochie Man,’ ‘Red, Red Rooster,’ ‘Wang Dang Doodle,’ ‘I Just Want to Make Love to You’…and he was a great lyricist and everybody is just doing his stuff.”

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