Eric Andersen established himself as a prominent singer and songwriter during the 1960s, and has since evolved to adapt the values and ideals of that time to the changing social dilemmas of today. He has released more than 25 albums and his songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as Johnny Cash, Gillian Welch, the Grateful Dead, and Peter, Paul & Mary.
In 1966, he made his debut at the Newport Folk Festival and in that same year he starred in the Andy Warhol movie Space. In 1970, he took part in the Festival Express tour across Canada with the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, and others. Andersen’s best-known songs from his early years are “Violets of Dawn,” “Come to My Bedside,” and “Thirsty Boots,” which was recorded by Judy Collins and several others.
The body of work Anderson has created the past 40 years has few rivals. Folk, blues, country, and jazz are all elements of his music. He has also explored fiction, essays, and memoir as ways to extend the rich themes of longing, wanderlust, and the search for identity and meaning that have long been central to his songwriting.
Eric Andersen published an essay, “My Beat Journal,” in The Rolling Stone Book of the Beats. An essay called “The Danger Zone” was included in the recently published Naked Lunch at 50, a homage to William S. Burroughs's landmark book, Naked Lunch, published in 1959. Andersen also wrote about Norway for the National Geographic Traveler and about William Burroughs and Robert Wilson's Black Rider for the Norwegian National Theater.