Musician Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Gram Parsons is the papa of country-rock. With the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, and also the Flying Burrito Brothers, the songwriter originated the concept of a rock band playing c and w, and as a solo musician he moved also further into the nation realm, blending the two genres to the factor that they ended up being tantamount from each other. While he was active, Parsons was a cult figure that never ever marketed many records but influenced numerous fellow artists, from the Rolling Stones to the Byrds. In the years considering that his death, his stature has only grown, as countless rock as well as nation artists develop on his small, yet tremendously influential, body of job.


As a child, Parsons discovered just how to play the piano at the age of 9, the exact same year he saw Elvis Presley carry out at his institution; following the seminal performance, Parsons made a decision to become an artist. A year after the relocation, his mother wed Robert Parsons; Gram was after that adopted by his stepfather, and also the child legally changed his name to Gram Parsons.

At the age of 14, Parsons started playing in the neighborhood rock & roll band the Pacers, which developed into the Legends. In 1963, Parsons created a people team called the Shilos that carried out throughout Florida as well as reduced several demonstrations.

Safe at Home Following his graduation, Gram Parsons registered at Harvard to study theology. He only spent one semester at Harvard, during which time he dedicated more energy to playing songs than going to classes. Meanwhile, he also created the International Submarine Band with guitarist John Nuese, bassist Ian Dunlop as well as drummer Mickey Gauvin. After he dropped out of college, Parsons moved to New York City with the International Submarine Band in 1966. The team spent a year in New York, creating a heavily country-influenced rock & roll sound and cutting 2 not successful songs for Columbia Records. The band after that transferred to Los Angeles in 1967, where they secured a document contract with Lee Hazlewood's LHI document label. Their debut album, Safe at Home, was released in very early 1968, but by the time it appeared in shops, the International Submarine Band had currently dissolved.

Sweetie of the Rodeo Around the moment the International Submarine Band dissolved, Parsons fulfilled Chris Hillman, the bassist for the Byrds. At that time, the Byrds were restoring their schedule and also Hillman advised to the band's leader, Roger McGuinn, that Parsons sign up with the ranks. By the springtime of 1968, Parsons had actually come to be a member of the Byrds as well as was largely accountable for the team's change towards nation songs with the cd Sweetheart of the Rodeo. The cd was initially planned to include Parsons' lead vocals, yet as he was still contractually obliged to LHI, his voice had actually to be stripped from the end product.

The Gilded Palace of SinGram Parsons just spent a few months with the Byrds, leaving the band in the fall of 1968 because he rejected to accompany them on a trip of South Africa, supposedly since he opposed discrimination. Chris Hillman left the band quickly after him, and the duo formed the Flying Burrito Brothers in late 1968. Parsons and Hillman employed pedal steel guitar player "Sneaky" Pete Kleinow and also bassist Chris Ethridge to finish the band's lineup as well as the team as well as taped a debut album with a series of session drummers. The Gilded Palace of Sin, the Flying Burrito Brothers' debut cd, was launched in 1969.

Although the cd just offered a couple of thousand copies, the group collected a specialized cult complying with that was mainly made up of musicians, including the Rolling Stones. In fact, by the time the album was launched, Parsons had actually started spending time the Rolling Stones frequently, coming to be friends with Keith Richards. Parsons had actually try out alcohol and drugs before he fulfilled Richards, yet in 1969 he dove deep right into compound abuse, which he sustained with his substantial depend on fund.

Adhering to those sessions, Parsons got in a holding pattern in which he acted the duty of a rock celebrity instead of in fact playing songs. In 1971, Parsons explored with the Rolling Stones in England and also went to the recording of the band's Exile on Main Street, as well as it showed up that he would sign with the band's record label. He fulfilled Emmylou Harris with Chris Hillman, and also Parsons asked her to join his support band; she approved.

Parsons had constructed a band-- which included Harris, guitarist James Burton, bassist Rick Grech, Barry Tashian, Glen D. Hardin, as well as Ronnie Tutt-- as well as had asked Merle Haggard to create the album. After fulfilling Parsons, nonetheless, Haggard transformed the deal down, and Parsons selected Haggard's engineer, Hugh Davis, as the album's manufacturer rather.

Severe Angel Following the release of G.P., Parsons got started on a small excursion with his backing band, the Fallen Angels. The cd was completed towards the end of the summertime, as well as Parsons celebrated its completion by taking a vacation near the Joshua Tree National Monument in California. Parsons' road manager swiped the body after the funeral service and also carried it back out to the Joshua Tree desert, where he cremated the body using gasoline.

In the two years adhering to Gram Parsons' fatality, his heritage remained to grow, as both nation and also rock musicians improved the songs he left. Musicians such as Emmylou Harris and also Elvis Costello covered his tunes, as well as his impact can still be listened to well right into the next millennium.