Happy 105th International Women’s Day to six of my favorite visual artists—Ellen Gallagher, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Kara Walker, Diane Arbus, and Cindy Sherman! I’m overdue for a Nan Goldin and Tracey Emin portrait.
Sweetheart of the Rodeo was released on 30 August 1968.
21-year-old Gram Parsons had joined the Byrds (which consisted of Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman and recently hired Kevin Kelley at that time) in February and quickly dominated, pushing the group to make a country record.
The record was a commercial failure, rejected by the Byrds’ old fans and ignored or dismissed with hostility by Nashville (where they had recorded the album in March 1968). The band concluded their stay in Nashville with a live performance at the Grand Ole Opry, where they were booed and heckled by an openly hostile audience.
Back in Los Angeles, McGuinn replaced Parsons’ vocals on “The Christian Life”, “You Don’t Miss Your Water”, and “One Hundred Years from Now,” fearing that Parsons was too dominant on the album and in the band.
Parsons quit the Byrds in July 1968, saying he could not accompany them to South Africa due to his opposition to apartheid. Others have speculated that the true reason was that Parsons wanted to hang out with Keith Richards (which he did, helping take the Rolling Stones in a more country direction).
1. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Bob Dylan)
2. I am a Pilgrim (traditional)
3. The Christian Life (Charlie Louvin, Ira Louvin)