Keith Richards Writes About Gram Parsons in Life
I’ve been reading Keith Richards’ new book, Life. I’ve already made some notes for the Swampland review, but today I reached page 247 where Keith writes about Gram Parsons. There’s a cast of characters in Keith’s book I’ll shine a light on in the upcoming review, but here are a few things Keith wrote about Gram:
“When I fell in with Gram Parsons in the summer of 1968, I struck a seam of music that I’m still developing, which widened the range of everything I was playing and writing. It also began an instant friendship that already seemed ancient the first time we sat down and talked. It was like a reunion with a long-lost brother for me, I suppose, never having one. Gram was very, very special and I still miss him…”
A couple of pages later, Keith provides insight to Gram’s country-influence on the Rolling Stones. “Gram taught me country music—how it worked, the difference between the Bakersfield style and the Nashville style. He played it all on the piano—Merle Haggard, “Sing Me Back Home”, George Jones, Hank Williams. I learned piano from Gram and started writing songs on it.”
Keith reveals his regard for Parsons in light of all the musicians he’s known. “Of the musicians I know personally (although Otis Redding, who I didn’t know, fits this too), the two who had an attitude towards music that was the same as mine were Gram Parsons and John Lennon. And that was: whatever bag the business wants to put you in is immaterial; that’s just a selling point, a tool that makes it easier. You’re going to get 'chowed' into this pocket or that pocket because it makes it easier for them to make charts up and figure out who’s selling. But Gram and John were really pure musicians..."
Life review soon,