Stumbled onto this one via the Chron, but the Times article is a little better.

Gram Parsons is likely one of the most unheralded musical forces to come out of the late 60s. The timeline is unmistakable … without his influence, you wouldn’t have the whole California rock movement that was highlighted by the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris.

Dead at the age of 26 thanks to a drug overdose, he was basically the first country musician to live life like a rock star. I only came across his work thanks to my affinity for Jason & the Scorchers, which was one of the seminal influences for the present movement and likewise, heavily influenced by Parsons himself. Ironically, one of the other bands mentioned as a current offshoot of the Parsons influence, the Brooklyn Cowboys, have had a temporary member in their lineup who is another of my faves: Joy Lynn White (Walter Egan is also in the band, which is kinda cool). The list of artists influenced just gets enormous when you draw it out long enough.

All in all, very nice reading (either article). Definitely noteworthy to those who’s musical tastes have a little history and delve a little further down the list of Top 40 tunes.