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Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Remember singer, songwriter, musician Cecil Ingram Connor III or as his friends called him Gram Parsons? Gram was a sideman for The Byrds after David Crosby left the band. Today would have been his birthday.
Gram was known musically for his time with The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Emmylou Harris and had his hand in one way or the other for most of the country rock bands of the late 1960's and early 70's, but he became famous by dying.
Gram died way too early (26) of too much too much, in his case near Joshua Tree, California on the night of September 19, 1973 while visiting there with friends in preparation for his next tour. Reports suggested he had perhaps overestimated his capacity while consuming enough morphine and tequila to kill 3 horses along with their riders.
Gram's companions did what each of us would do after discovering our friend down for the count. True friends that they were they hid his stash, called the authorities then phoned Gram's family. Gram's step dad asked that they arrange to have his body shipped to Louisiana for burial, his buds however knew Gram wanted his ashes spread in Joshua Tree. Divided on what to do next, Gram's clearer thinking companions had his casket sent to LAX.
"To fulfill Parsons' funeral wishes, his manager and a friend stole his body from the airport and in a borrowed hearse drove it to Joshua Tree. Upon reaching the Cap Rock section of the park, they attempted to cremate Parsons' corpse by pouring five gallons of gasoline into the open coffin and throwing a lit match inside. What resulted was an enormous fireball. The police gave chase but, as one account puts it, "were encumbered by sobriety," and the men escaped. The two were arrested several days later." thank you Wikipedia for the quote
Oddly, body snatching is not a crime in California, yet casket stealing is. The 2 were fined $750 for coffin stealing and ordered not to repeat the performance. The remains of Gram's remains were eventually buried in Metairie, La..