American singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianistDied when: 26 years 318 days (322 months)
Star Sign: Scorpio
Ingram Cecil Connor III (November 5, 1946 – September 19, 1973) who was known professionally as Gram Parsons, was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist who recorded as a solo artist and with the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers, popularizing what he called "Cosmic American Music", a hybrid of country, rhythm and blues, soul, folk, and rock.
Parsons was born in Winter Haven, Florida, and developed an interest in country music while attending Harvard University.He founded the International Submarine Band in 1966, but the group disbanded prior to the 1968 release of its debut album, Safe at Home.
Parsons joined the Byrds in early 1968 and played a pivotal role in the making of the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album, a seminal album in the country rock genre.
After leaving the group in late 1968, Parsons and fellow Byrd Chris Hillman formed The Flying Burrito Brothers in 1969; the band released its debut, The Gilded Palace of Sin, the same year.
The album was well received but failed commercially.After a sloppy cross-country tour, the band hastily recorded Burrito Deluxe.Parsons was fired from the band before the album's release in early 1970.
Parsons spent the first half of 1971 with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, living in his French villa Nellcôte during the recording sessions for Exile on Main Street, though he contributed very little to the recording process itself.
After traveling around Britain with friends in late 1971, he was treated for heroin addiction and returned to the U.S., where he was introduced to Emmylou Harris, who assisted him on vocals for his first solo record, GP, released in 1973.
Although it received enthusiastic reviews, the release failed to chart.His health deteriorated due to several years of drug abuse culminating in his death from a toxic combination of morphine and alcohol in 1973 at the age of 26.
A posthumous solo album, Grievous Angel, peaked at number 195 on the Billboard chart.Parsons's relatively short career was described by AllMusic as "enormously influential" for country and rock, "blending the two genres to the point that they became indistinguishable from each other." He has been credited with helping to found the country rock and alt-country genres.
His posthumous honors include the Americana Music Association "President's Award" for 2003 and a ranking at No. 87 on Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time."