10 Things You Didn't Know About The Wild Life Of Gram Parsons: Country-Rock's Messiah And Grievous Angel

CHICAGO - MARCH 1969: Singer/Songwriter Gram Parsons plays acoustic guitar backstage in March 1969 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

When Gram Parsons died in 1973 he was only 26 years old. In the few years before his death he played a pivotal role in the crossover between country and rock, blending the genres until they were one in the same. As a member of The Byrds, Parsons changed the band at a genetic level, and with the Flying Burrito Brothers he created the template for the country-rock sound.

In spite of his lack of success while he was alive, Parsons' friendships with The Rolling Stones and Emmylou Harris were extremely influential on those artists. He didn't just make Harris a sought after singer, but he brought the Stones into their own as a rootsy rock band, and inspired "Wild Horses," one of their most beloved songs.

Parsons died young and never reached the heights of his friends, but his songs continue to echo through country and rock, so much so that you can still hear his influence today.