Gram Parsons | Artist

Gram Parsons | Artist

Tags: Era_1970s, Gender_Male, Genre_Country, Genre_Pop_Rock, Origin_USA, Type_Artist

Ingram Cecil Connor III aka Gram Parsons was an American country-rock singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist born 1946 in Winter Haven, Florida. Parsons recorded as a solo artist and with the International Submarine Band, the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, and was a pioneer of "country rock" music. Parsons was born into a wealth but dysfunctional family and he was drawn towards music from an early age, particularly after seeing Elvis Presley perform in concert in 1956, then country star Merle Haggard sometime later. In 1963, while still in high school, he joined the Shilos group, who were heavily influenced by The Kingston Trio and The Journeymen. Parsons was admitted to Harvard University in 1966 but he left after only one semester and, along with other musicians from the Boston folk scene including future Flying Burrito Chris Ethridge, formed a group called the International Submarine Band. They relocated to LA the following year and signed to Lee Hazlewood's LHI Records. The band recorded one album Safe at Home which remained unreleased until mid-1968, by which time the International Submarine Band had broken up. The album contains one of Parsons' best-known songs "Luxury Liner" and an early version of "Do You Know How It Feels" which he revised later in his career. By 1968, Parsons had met The Byrd's bassist Chris Hillman and was recruited as a "sideman" into the band following the departures of David Crosby and Michael Clarke from The Byrds. Parsons was only with The Byrds for one year but he had a profound influence on the band. He appears on two albums, Sweetheart of The Rodeo and Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde, contributing songwriting, vocals and guitar. Sweetheart of the Rodeo is now considered one of The Byrds' best albums and a classic of early country-rock music. Parsons then formed The Flying Burrito Brothers in 1969 and straight away recorded their classic debut album Guilded Palace of Sin. The following year Parson left the Burrito's to focus on solo work. He reeled off another two classic albums, GP and Grievous Angel, plus one further album Sleepless Night, backed by The Burritos, before his tragic end. Gram Parsons died aged 26 of a drug overdose on September 19th 1973 at Joshua Tree National Monument. Standout solo works include GP, Grievous Angel, Sleepless Night and the archival release Gram Parsons and the Fallen Angels Live 1973. Other highly recommended releases are Sacred Hearts & Fallen Angels: The Gram Parsons Anthology from 2001, and the 1999 all-star tribute album Return of the Grievous Angel. There's a bizarre footnote to Parsons' life involving his good friend, comedian Andy Kaufman. To fulfill Parsons' funeral wishes to have his ashes scattered at Joshua Tree monument, Kaufman and a friend stole his body from Los Angeles International Airport and in a borrowed hearse, they drove it to Joshua Tree. Upon reaching the Cap Rock section of the park, they attempted to cremate Parsons' body by pouring five gallons of gasoline into the open coffin and throwing a lit match inside; what resulted was an enormous fireball. The two were arrested several days later.

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Featured Albums: Gram Parsons

Related Artists: International Submarine Band, The Flying Burrito Bros, The Byrds, Emmylou Harris, Rolling Stones

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