Remembering Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan With 10 Classic Grateful Dead Performances

first_img43 years ago today, we lost co-founding member of the Grateful Dead, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan. Best known for his prodigious blues and R&B acumen behind the organ, as well as his inspired harmonica playing and deep, soulful vocals, Pigpen was a pivotal member of the Dead in its most formative years, more or less the band’s main attraction before Jerry Garcia inserted himself as the leader that we’ve come to know and love.Martin Scorsese’s Grateful Dead Documentary To Preview At Film FestBy the end of 1972, Pigpen’s health had deteriorated to the point that he was no longer able to accompany the band on tour. Years of heavy drinking and a pre-existing illness had taken their toll on the young man. Pigpen played his final show with the Dead at the Hollywood Bowl on June 17, 1972 before succumbing to a gastrointestinal hemorrhage at his home months later.Listen To The Grateful Dead’s Debut Performance Of Every Cover In Their RepertoireIn remembrance of the late great Ron “Pipgen” McKernan, here are 10 videos that capture his brilliance and contributions to the early days of the Grateful Dead:“Big Boss Man” at Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA – 7/16/66“Alligator” > “Drums” > “Caution (Do Not Step On Tracks)” at Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA – 8/23/68“Turn On Your Lovelight” at Thelma Theater, Los Angeles, CA – 12/12/69“Smokestack Lightning” at Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA – 2/8/70“Easy Wind” at KQED-TV San Francisco – 8/30/70“Operator” at Fillmore East, New York, NY – 9/18/70“Good Lovin’” at Dillon Gym, Princeton, NJ – 4/17/71“Hard To Handle” at Hollywood Paladium, Hollywood, CA – 8/6/71“Mr. Charlie” at Olympia Theatre, Paris, France – 5/3/72“He’s Gone” at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands – 5/10/72last_img

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