Sunday, November 05, 2006

Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel

Gram Parsons: November 5, 1946 – September 19, 1973

Gram Parsons, former member of the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and solo artist, would have been 60 years old today.

Gram in his Nudie suit

Gram died September 19, 1973 in Joshua Tree, California, a part of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, at the age of 26.

During the funeral ceremony for Gram's close friend Clarence White, Gram was overheard stating that when he died, rather than being buried in the ground, he would like to be taken out to The Joshua Tree desert of southern California and burned. After Gram died in The Joshua Tree Inn, his body was taken to the Los Angeles International Airport in preparation for being flown to Louisiana for burial. Gram's road manager Phil Kaufman and a friend, Michael Martin, got very intoxicated, borrowed a broken down hearse and drove to LAX to retrieve the body. When they arrived, they told the shipping clerk that Gram's remains were to be sent out of another airport, flashed some bogus paperwork and falsely signed for the body. After crashing into a wall and almost being arrested, Phil, Michael and Gram drove back to The Joshua Tree Desert, stopping only to buy more beer and a container of gasoline. They took Gram's remains into the desert, poured gasoline inside the coffin and set him ablaze. The two were arrested several days later and fined $700.00 for stealing and burning the COFFIN (it was is not against the law to steal a dead body). Gram's partially burned remains were finally laid to rest in a modest cemetery near New Orleans, LA.
-- gramparsons dot com

Joshua tree
Photo © MJ, Infomaniac

Gram’s voice lives on in this heartbreaking duet with Emmylou Harris, “Love Hurts” (scene from Brokeback Mountain)…

Emmylou’s loving, longing tribute song to Gram, “Boulder to Birmingham”…

Baby do you know what I mean

Read all about Gram in Phil Kaufman’s book, Road Mangler Deluxe.

Still miss you, beautiful, poetic, harmonic angel.


  1. Nice tribute. I didn't know all this about Gram. Kurt Cobain is my favorite dead rock star.

  2. What a lovely tribute. Though not my type of music but I listen to it and it's lovely

  3. Brass Buttons always makes me cry.

    Fancy crying over some bloody buttons!

  4. Pru: I had to restrain myself from writing his life story!
    *raises glass*
    To dead rock stars.

    Charles: The Queer Chef, the busy blogger, took time to listen. Ta for that Charles.

    Her words still dance inside my head
    Her comb still lies beside my bed
    And the sun comes up without her, it just doesn't know she's gone
    Oh, but I remember everything she said

    Nice one, Geoff. Of course it makes you cry.

  5. Lovely tribute MJ.

    So nice to have you back! Yay! :)

  6. allison moorer, daughter of loretta lynn - famous country singer - wrote and sang a song called send me an angel. when she made the video, it was a tribute to gram parsons. had the joshua tree, the noony suit, and everything.

  7. man, that voice. how did one guy hold all that voice?

    nice ta see ya back chickie!

  8. What a great story. It makes me aware one more time that I was born to late. I would have been rigth there in the dessert, smoking high, feeling fine and fullfilling a friends last wish.

  9. Chelly: Thanks gal!

    Pink: I'm crazy 'bout a Nudie suit. And have you noticed that the word "angel" follows him around everywhere? Oh yeah.

    FN: Voice of an angel. Oh jeez. There I go again.

    Mone: Hi Mone! It's not too late.
    *passes Mone a j*
    "Then we'll sweep out the ashes in the morning"

  10. I hope "Pink" doesn't really think Allison Moorer is the daughter of "famous country singer" Loretta Lynn, 'cause discovering otherwise is only a quick Google search away. Allison Moorer and sister Shelby Lynne Moorer's parents were academics who died in a tragic murder-suicide when both girls were very young. I don't know much about Loretta Lynn's many children, but I suspect she has few, if any, as young as Moorer.