Gram Parsons

An erratic character whose taste for excess killed him at 26, Gram Parsons was also an exquisite guitarist and songwriter, whose vision and artistry helped change country music. What's now called "country-rock" and "alt. country", is essentially rooted in the revolutionary template created by the charismatic Parsons in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The son of a World War 2 pilot who committed suicide in 1958, he was raised in Georgia and adopted the Parsons surname of his stepfather. Inspired by Elvis Presley, he played in rock'n'roll covers bands in his early teens, but, after briefly studying theology at Harvard University Parsons fell in love with country music, forming the International Submarine Band. Moving to LA, he joined the Byrds, playing piano on their Sweetheart Of The Rodeo album, which also featured one of his most celebrated songs, Hickory Wind. He subsequently formed the Flying Burrito Brothers with Chris Hillman and, although not commercially successful, their modern approach to country had a profound and long-lasting impact. Parsons teamed up with Emmylou Harris and worked on his classic 1974 solo album Grievous Angel, but a mixture of morphine and alcohol killed him just months before its release.

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Stations Featuring Gram Parsons

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