The Flying Burrito Brothers were trailblazers of country rock. They influenced a whole generation of artists with their cosmic American music.
Original Band Members:
- Gram Parsons (vocals, guitar)
- Chris Hillman (guitar, vocals)
- Sneaky Pete Kleinow (pedal steel guitar)
- Chris Etheridge (bass guitar)
The band had marijuana leaves embroidered on their Nudie suits -- instead of the usual cacti -- for the cover to The Gilded Palace of Sin.
Birth of the Burritos:
After working together in The Byrds, Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman formed The Flying Burrito Brothers in 1968. They brought in pedal-steel player Sneaky Pete Kleinow and bassist Chris Etheridge, but Parsons and Hillman would remain the central figures in the band's volatile lineup.
In 1969, The Flying Burritos Brothers released their debut album, The Gilded Palace of Sin, later hailed as a classic of the country-rock genre.
When the time came to record the band's 1970 follow-up, Burrito Deluxe, however, Parsons was caught up in drugs. Chris Etheridge had already left the group and new member Bernie Leadon and Hillman, wrote the majority of the album's original tracks.
After a lackluster release, the Burritos quickly returned to the studio -- this time focusing on country standards, including Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home" and Ray Price's "Crazy Arms." But the band was still in poor shape, and Parsons was increasingly aloof from the creative process. Most of the tracks from these sessions didn't emerge until the release of the outtakes album Sleepless Nights in 1976.
Parsons Fired, Breakup:
Not surprisingly, Parsons was ousted from the group in 1970. Chris Hillman, now de facto leader, brought on Rick Roberts who lent some of his songwriting talents to The Flying Burrito Bros' self-titled 1971 album.
The Burritos released a live album the next year, Last of the Red Hot Burritos. Chris Hillman left to work on Stephen Stills' Manassas, and the Burritos disintegrated shortly thereafter.
Later Band Members:
- Michael Clarke
- Bernie Leadon
- Rick Roberts
- Al Perkins
- Roger Bush
- Kenny Wertz
- Byron Berline
- Skip Battin
- Gib Guilbeau
- Joel Scott Hill
- John Beland
- Bobby Cochran
Best Flying Burrito Brothers Songs:
- "Sin City"
- "Hot Burrito #1"
- "Christine's Tune (Devil in Disguise)"
- "Older Guys"
- "The Dark End of the Street"