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Induct Gram Parsons Into the Country Music Hall of Fame

It's about time.

It is absolutely amazing and dismaying that the late, great Gram Parsons has not been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  As much as Hank himself,  he influenced the form of music he loved most.  He hated, with good reason, the term "country rock."  It's either country or it's not.  GP was pure country, and influenced everyone in the field after his tragic death.  It's unimaginable that he not be inducted into the Hall.

From "Gram Parsons" by Jason Gross (July 2001): In 1981 "Sin City," as recorded by the Burritos, was included in the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Country Music. In 1983, "Love Hurts," from a live album of the Fallen Angels' Long Island radio concert, was nominated for a Grammy. In 1984 the Franklin Mint Society included the Submarine Bands performance of "I Still Miss Someone" in a compilation album, and in 1986 the Country Music Foundation in Nashville selected two Submarine Band tracks, "Luxury Liner" and "Blue Eyes," for inclusion in The Greatest Country Music Recordings of All Time, part of its official archive collection. The foundations Country Music Hall of Fame, on which Emmylou Harris served as president of the board, accepted from her a Martin guitar that Gram had used on tour, and it is on display.

So why isn't the man himself being recognized for his immense and preeminent contribution to country music?

Note: This is legitimate. I, Will Harnack, use, as they are very reliable; uncheck the two boxes if you don't want their newsletters. If you're really paranoid, do what I do and use a separate email account just for such occasions (free, like hotmail or whatever) whenever I do anything like this, just to be sure I'm not bothered by any junk, just in case, but it's not necessary here. Trust me. This is all being done in the sacred memory of Gram Parsons and what I think should be his legitimate place in the Hall of Fame.

Peter Blackstock's take on things from No Depression magazine:

PSF: Where do you think Gram will be placed when people look over the history of country music?

It's my hope that he gets more respect within that realm of country music specifically. I still think that's a place where he's mostly overlooked.
I think he's really more respected by people coming from a rock and roll background than a country background. I don't think it would be much of a stretch for Gram Parsons to be inducted into the country music hall of fame someday. But I think the climate of that organization is one in which he would not be seen as having a significance within country music.

Maybe that's partly because country music legends tend to gravitate towards the people who did this for 40-50 years and grew old and gray still doing what they were doing. And Gram obviously didn't have the chance to do that. I think it would be justifiable if he is eventually, 50 years from now, acknowledged as a significant figure in country music history.

PSF: Maybe it's also because he didn't have any hits?

Yeah, that's part of it too- the simple commercial aspect of things. When you don't have number one singles on the country charts and things of that sort, you tend to not get the recognition that Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard and various people at the forefront of country music have gotten over the years. But I do think occasionally when enough time passes and enough attention is focused on somebody's work after he's gone, like has definitely been the case with Gram, there can be some room for revisionist view of musical history. In this case, the revisionist view may be more and more accurate in terms of what should have been reflected commercially in the day.

PSF: So how long is it going to take the industry to catch up with him?

(laughs) Probably at least a few decades at least.

PSF: That's sad.

It is but it's not really the point ultimately though. What's maybe more significant is just that all the people who have discovered him in the last 25-30 years since he died. And there's obviously been interest paid to his material than he would have imagined during his lifetime. Even though there can be a lot more that could be done, there's a lot that has happened that's given him some of the credit that he's deserved.