Friday, July 30, 2021

FRIDAY MUSIC: Gram Parsons, by JD

Gram Parsons is probably unknown to most people but he was a member of one of the iconic groups of the sixties, The Byrds. He was not one of the original five members but the band went through many, many personnel changes over the years and Parsons joined them in early 1968 and was a major influence on the musical style of that year's album 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo,' a record which more or less invented 'country rock' a coming together of Country music and the 'easy' lyrical rock and roll of previous Byrds records. As it says in Wiki, Parsons made Country music fashionable again.

A note on the first video here: it is often stated that the song is a premonition of Parsons' own early death but that is not so. The song is about another band member, the guitarist Clarence White. After a show one night White was helping to load equipment into a car when he was knocked down and killed by a drunk driver. 

About Parsons' own death there is rather a lot of controversy about what happened and why. I make no comment but fellow band member Chris Hillman is in no doubt and expresses his views forcefully and bitterly in a YT video which you can find if you wish. I prefer to remember the music.

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