Fallen Angel: Gram Parsons | Chicago Reader

Fallen Angel: Gram Parsons

Produced for the BBC, this excellent 2004 documentary profiles one of the most important but overlooked pop musicians of the 60s—country rock pioneer Gram Parsons, whose exquisite heartache lit up the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the Flying Burrito Brothers' The Gilded Palace of Sin, and two brilliant solo albums before he died of an overdose at 26. German director Gandulf Hennig has rounded up most of the relevant witnesses to Parsons's tragically short life, from the remnants of his wealthy southern family to his musical collaborators (Chris Hillman, Bernie Leadon, James Burton, Emmylou Harris) and his repellent drug buddies. Backed up by rare performance footage, they paint a portrait of a spoiled, charming, emotionally crippled young man whose shoddy treatment of people was always forgotten as soon as he opened his mouth to sing. 90 min.

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