This T-Shirt is one of our best sellers and for good reason. The Flying Burrito Brothers remain an incredibly influential band. Formed in 1968 by Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons, fresh from their stint in the Byrds. Their debut album ‘The Gilded Palace of Sin’ released in 1969 to critical acclaim blends the genres of country and rock with a proper rock and roll attitude, setting the standard for others to follow.
Gram (short for Ingram) was a clever old stick – he developed his interest in country music whilst studying at Harvard. Unfortunately he dropped out after one semester but his acumen and inspiration shone through in his music. At the time that the debut album was released he was spending a lot of time with the Rolling Stones and their influence on each other is clear.
Ironically despite the ‘Flying’ band moniker, Gram was somewhat frightened of flying and they toured the album via cross country train, frittering their money in a longstanding Poker game and bewildering audiences who just weren’t ready for their blended country-rock style. Their efforts were additionally hindered by Parson’s frequent indulgence in cocaine and psychoactive substances such as psilocybin which made his performances somewhat erratic. Things grew worse once the Stones relocated to the US to finish recording Let it Bleed and Gram continued to party hard with the band. As his interest in the Burritos dwindled, Gram left the band by mutual agreement and embarked on a solo career until his untimely death in 1973, aged just 26. He achieved so much in his short life without apparently even trying – and his legacy and influence lives on today.
Despite baffling audiences at the time, the Burritos influence is still far-reaching. At the time they had no platform for their obsessive crossover, country-rock synthesis - as Hillman later explained – they weren’t country so the country stations wouldn’t play them – and they weren’t rock, so the rock stations wouldn’t play them either. You can check out the Burritos seminal debut right now on YouTube (above). And if you like what you hear (or you’re already a fan) you can get your own Flying Burrito Brothers tee in our online store.
It is hard to believe that it was 43 years ago today that Gram Parsons of The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers, died in Joshua Tree, California at the young age of 26.
Gram was a huge influence on bands like The Eagles and The Rolling Stones (and many, many other since). Without his contribution to country rock we would no have heard many great songs including Wild Horses by the Rolling Stones or his amazing Love Hurts duet with Emmylou Harris.
So stop whatever it is your listening to and stick on the Flying Burrito Brother The Guided Palace of Sin and celebrate the soulful voice of Gram Parsons.