Posted by themusicsover on March 8, 2010
September 8, 1945 – March 8, 1973
Member of the 27 Club
Ron “Pigpen” Mckernan is best remembered as a founding member of the Grateful Dead, with whom he mostly played the keyboards. It was during his early days singing and performing at San Francisco area coffeehouses and record stores that he met Jerry Garcia, which lead to his membership in the Zodiacs, which begat Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, which begat the Warlocks, which ultimately became the Grateful Dead. It was McKernan who sang such early concert staples and “Turn on Your Lovelight” and “In The Midnight Hour,” including its legendary 48-minute version at Woodstock. An abuser of alcohol, McKernan was diagnosed with congenital biliary cirrhosis in 1970. His health worsened over the next couple of years and his final concert with the Dead was on June 17, 1972. He ultimately died of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage on March 8, 1973 at the age of 27.