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Ron “Pigpen” McKernan

American musician

Ron “Pigpen” McKernan

American musician
ALL ARTIST INFO IS PULLED FROM PUBLICLY AVAILABLE DATA.
IF YOU REPRESENT THIS ARTIST AND WOULD LIKE TO VERIFY YOUR PAGE OR UPDATE THE INFO, Click Here
birthday
8th
September, 1945
Death
8th
March, 1973
Birth Place
San Bruno, California, U.S.
Birth Sign
virgo
Biography

Ronald Charles McKernan (September 8, 1945 – March 8, 1973), known as Pigpen, was an American singer and musician. He was a founding member of the San Francisco band the Grateful Dead and played in the group from 1965 to 1972.
McKernan grew up heavily influenced by African-American music, particularly the blues, and enjoyed listening to his father’s collection of records and taught himself how to play harmonica and piano. He began socializing around the San Francisco Bay Area, becoming friends with Jerry Garcia. After the pair had played in various folk and jug bands, McKernan suggested they form an electric group, which became the Grateful Dead. He was the band’s original frontman as well as playing harmonica and electric organ, but Garcia and bassist Phil Lesh’s influences on the band became increasingly stronger as they embraced psychedelic rock. McKernan struggled to keep up with the changing music, causing the group to hire keyboardist Tom Constanten, with McKernan’s contributions essentially limited to vocals, harmonica, and percussion from November 1968 to January 1970. He continued to be a frontman in concert for some numbers, including his interpretations of Bobby Bland’s “Turn On Your Love Light” and the Rascals’ “Good Lovin'”.
Unlike the other members of the Grateful Dead, McKernan avoided psychedelic drugs, preferring to drink alcohol (namely whiskey and flavored fortified wine). By 1971, his health had been affected by alcoholism and liver damage and doctors advised him to stop touring. Following a hiatus, he resumed touring with the group in December 1971 but was forced to retire from touring altogether in June 1972. McKernan was found dead of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage on March 8, 1973, aged 27, and is buried at Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto.

instruments played
Harmonica
Organ
Vocals
Also Known As

Pigpen, Blue Ron

Associated Acts

Grateful Dead, Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, The Warlocks

Birth Name

Ronald Charles McKernan

Genres

Blues, psychedelic rock, blues rock, rock

Labels

Warner Bros. Records

Origin

San Francisco, California, U.S.

Years Active

1961 1972

Name

Ron "Pigpen" McKernan

Nationality

United States of America

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