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Gram Parsons

By

Grievous Angel
Image Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Description:

Often considered the founding father of country rock, Gram Parsons did genre-defining work with The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Byrds, and as a solo artist.

Basic Facts:

Name: Ingram Cecil Connor
Birthday: November 5, 1946
Birthplace: Winter Haven, Florida
Date of death: September 19, 1973
Death location: Joshua Tree, California

Gram Parsons Trivia:

After Gram died, his friend Phil Kaufman stole his body and burned it in the desert -- making good on a funeral pact the pair had made.

Keith Richards Quote on Gram Parsons:

"He loved country music, but he really didn't like the country music business and didn't think it should be angled just at Nashville. The music's bigger than that. It should touch everybody."

Band Membership:

Artists Influenced by Gram Parsons:

Gram Parsons Discography:

Recommended Gram Parsons Songs:

  • "In My Hour of Darkness"
  • "She"
  • "A Song for Young"
  • "$1000 Wedding"

Gram Parsons Biography:

Gram Parsons was born November 5, 1946, into a wealthy family. Despite his upper-crust background, he grew to have an abiding love for country music. In high school he played in folk and rock groups before being seduced by rock 'n' roll while attending Harvard University. These influences came together when Parsons formed the country-flavored International Submarine Band.

Parsons joined The Byrds in 1968. Under his influence, they recorded 1969's Sweethearts of the Rodeo, a classic which featured rock-influenced versions of country standards like "Christian Life." It also included Parson's "Hickory Wind," which became one of the singer's best-know songs.

The same year, Parsons left The Byrds to form The Flying Burrito Brothers with Chris Hillman. The group made their debut with The Gilded Palace of Sin, widely considered a benchmark of country rock. It also had a less glossy, folk-rock feel than his work with The Byrds.

Solo Career, Drugs, and Death:

In the late 1960s, Parsons began increasing his use of drugs. Partially because of this, The Flying Burrito Brothers became known less for their music than their erratic live performances; Parsons was fired from the band in 1970.

After floundering in excess, often with The Rolling Stones, Parsons met singer Emmylou Harris. She became one of his longtime collaborators and performed on his well-regarded 1973 solo debut G.P..

While visiting Joshua Tree, Parsons died of a drug overdose. He was only 26 years old. His second album, Grievous Angel, was released after his death and was greeted with rave reviews.

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