Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hickory Wind: The Life and Times of Gram Parsons” as Want to Read:
Hickory Wind: The Life and Times of Gram Parsons
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hickory Wind: The Life and Times of Gram Parsons

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  394 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Gram Parsons lived hard and died young, and left behind a musical legacy that has influenced generations of rock and country legends. Ben Fong-Torres's account of his story - from his poor-little-rich-kid childhood; through his seminal time with the Byrds and his own bands, the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Fallen Angels; to days and nights spent with the likes of Mick J ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published September 15th 1998 by Griffin (first published July 1st 1991)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hickory Wind, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Hickory Wind

Tiger's Voyage by Colleen HouckThe Host by Stephenie MeyerOnce Upon a Road Trip by Angela N. BlountGraceling by Kristin CashoreHarry Potter Boxset by J.K. Rowling
Best Books in a Million Years
35th out of 81 books — 75 voters
No One Here Gets Out Alive by Danny SugermanThe Dirt by Tommy LeeThe Heroin Diaries by Nikki SixxScar Tissue by Anthony KiedisThe Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson
Best Books on Rock and Roll
142nd out of 521 books — 898 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 658)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jaime
Jan 25, 2009 Jaime rated it really liked it
Well done, Ben Fong-Torres. Also, I really like saying "Ben Fong-Torres."
Heather Marie
Nov 15, 2010 Heather Marie rated it it was amazing
Fantastico. The only bio on GP you need to read. And don't call it heroin, it was morphine. (and don't argue with me about it.)
Zach
Aug 29, 2007 Zach rated it liked it
Your enjoyment of the book will probably depend on whether or not you love Gram Parsons, as it's a pretty standard biography.
DJMikeG
Mar 16, 2009 DJMikeG rated it it was ok
Boring book about a great musician.
Michael Anderson
Oct 04, 2014 Michael Anderson rated it liked it
I remember his name as one of many performers among the bands and albums I listened to back in the early 70s of my youth. I didn't know he died early, like three of his more famous contemporaries, but then, it happened in 1973 while I was sequestered in a 6-week Army training course. From this biography, I learned that I probably would not have liked the man personally, but I also learned that he could compose and sing, at times, wonderful songs, so I need to find some of his solo efforts. Overa ...more
Jamie Beckett
May 19, 2009 Jamie Beckett rated it it was ok
Gram Parsons was a talented musician who lived a dramatic but short life. His foibles were due perhaps to a highly dysfunctional family life that caused him to grow up with a peculiarly disjointed view of life. As a fan and a curious onlooker who lives and works close to Parsons' old stomping grounds, I selected this book in the hopes of separating legend from reality and gaining a better understanding of both as they pertain to one of the originators of the country/rock movement.

Ben Fong-Torre
...more
BMR, MSW, LSW
Aug 25, 2014 BMR, MSW, LSW rated it liked it
Meh. Gram was a mess who sometimes wrote and sang beautiful songs.

Easy and fast read. Not very illuminating if you are an Emmylou Harris fan. She never revealed much about her personal relationship with Gram, and this doesn't reveal much about it either.

I suspect I'll learn more about Gram from Keith Richards' autobiography than I learned from this book.
Ad
Jun 14, 2012 Ad rated it really liked it
the man who invented the cosmic cowboy. he has influenced so many musicians yet never lived to see it. only 26 when he passed in a drug adled haze. born rich so he had a carefree free spirited attitude from the get go. this book is a great account of his life it has new information that the book thousand roads did not. what a bizarre tale of how his manager Phil Kauffman took care to grant Gram his wishes when phil cremated his body in the joshua tree desert. truly a great rock n roll story unfo ...more
Ken French
Oct 02, 2014 Ken French rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Very well-written and an interesting story, but I wound up liking Parsons less (as a person, not as a musician) by the time I finished.
Nathan Koci
Aug 26, 2015 Nathan Koci rated it it was ok
great subject matter, terribly written, anecdotal, barely strung together book.
Don
Jul 24, 2007 Don rated it really liked it
When I was a teenager I discovered Gram Parsons's amazing music. He was still alive then, and he performed on Providence TV 12 just before he died. I saw him, propped up there at the mike, wasted and perfect...

His songs move me in ways that few others are or were capable of.

Ben Fong-Torres does an admirable job telling the story of this rich country boy, the boy who gave the Byrds their American Soul, the boy who invented Cosmic American Music.
Kateburgau
Aug 25, 2008 Kateburgau rated it really liked it
Music, Drugs, women, poker, Keith Richards, a tragic and most unfortunate outcome. I love Gram Parsons music, and I love reading about the music industry before my time. The difference in how fast things happen, the marketing, the communication back in the day is very interesting. This author seems to drop off right at a climax at some points, but I just think it was due to a lack of information that he could come up with.
Tonya
May 21, 2011 Tonya rated it really liked it
This was a quick and easy Gram Bio. After reading Twenty Thousand Roads: The ballad of Gram Parsons, I must say that Ben Fong-Torres was much easier on Gram than David N. Meyer was and this bio wasn't nearly as detailed at the the Meyer piece. I'm still left wishing I wouldn't have read either of them, though, because I think I like his music a lot better before I knew it was coming from a sort of lazy, spoiled brat.
Chad
Mar 20, 2013 Chad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, music
Great book about a much overlooked singer/song writer of the 60s and 70s. Gram Parsons died a month after I was born so I wasn't able to appreciate him when he was alive but I can appreciate his influence today. I enjoyed the book, I know there are some that say it doesn't tell the whole story, but then again what book does. It's a good starting point for reading about Gram Parsons life and times.
Herzog
Mar 20, 2010 Herzog rated it it was ok
Shelves: music
I'm not the biggest Gram Parson fan to start with, but I read this for my rock and roll book club. Not only was the subject not that interesting to me, but the prose style wasn't especially good either. It was interesting to gain some insight into Gram Parsons relationship with Emmy Lou Harris, but even that was mostly 2nd hand.
Bosco Farr
Sep 27, 2010 Bosco Farr rated it liked it
An okay look into the life of Gram Parsons. It's a good start for the new fan but borders on textbook dry as often as not. I felt like I knew a little more than I did before reading but it's less insightful than the subject matter calls for. Certainly a passable read but not as strong as I would have liked.
Jason Evans
Nov 13, 2007 Jason Evans rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of gram parsons
Shelves: biography
This man literally invented a new genre of music. His tales of drug abuse, frienship with Keith Richards and true knowledge of Southern music make this book an interest tale. Oh, yeah, also the burning of his body at Joshua Tree National Park, a must read story.
Mike
Nov 18, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
a very nice intro to a very sad character who....well I'll let the story tell itself. Certainly a major influence on country rock music, many good stories about Gram and his cast of characters he performed with through his short enigmatic career.....
Owen Goldin
May 10, 2013 Owen Goldin rated it liked it
In the case of some musicians, knowing about their lives helps deepen appreciation of their achievement -- in the case of others it's pretty irrelevant. Gram is in the first group. Well done portrait of this sad cosmic country icon.
Carlos Repuestodelatabla
Mar 13, 2012 Carlos Repuestodelatabla rated it really liked it
A quick scan of Gram Parson's life that offers you what you need to know of one pf music's most influential figures without agenda attached.
Rude E
Jan 03, 2008 Rude E rated it really liked it
many Gram books, yet this did not seem over done nor simple...a complex and gifted soul in love with music, and honesty...sometimes love does hurt.
Rama Hodam
Jun 06, 2009 Rama Hodam rated it it was amazing
If you want to know about Gram Parsons life, this is the book. I've read almost every printed word on him and this book stands up.
Bliss
Mar 13, 2012 Bliss rated it liked it
OK, but Sid Griffin's book on Gram was better. But this one got a lot more press. (Gee, wonder why?)
Trey
I lurv Gram Parsons, and this bio by a former editor of Rolling Stone was quite enlightening.
Mark Nenadov
Jul 21, 2011 Mark Nenadov rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, 1960s
A snappy, interesting account of the life of a talented but short-lived musician.
Timothy Limner
Apr 05, 2012 Timothy Limner rated it really liked it
Great biography of a brilliant songwriter that seemed to run from success.
Rich
Jun 03, 2012 Rich rated it really liked it
Good Bio of the Grievous Angel
Chris
Aug 25, 2007 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
Gram Parsons was a smart, weird dude.
Haylee
Oct 07, 2010 Haylee rated it really liked it
My fave G.P. bio.
Andy
Feb 09, 2008 Andy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Gram Parsons Fans
Life and times of Gram Parsons. Good not great.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 21 22 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Twenty Thousand Roads: The Ballad of Gram Parsons and His Cosmic American Music
  • Hardcore Troubadour: The Life and Near Death of Steve Earle
  • Across the Great Divide: The Band and America
  • Nick Drake: The Biography
  • Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters
  • Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix and Post-War Pop
  • What's Welsh for Zen: The Autobiography of John Cale
  • Bowie: Loving The Alien
  • This Wheel's on Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band
  • Moanin' at Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin' Wolf
  • On the Road with Bob Dylan
  • Whores: An Oral Biography of Perry Farrell and Jane's Addiction
  • Bird Lives!: The High Life & Hard Times of Charlie (Yardbird) Parker
  • A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead
  • Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley
  • Country: The Twisted Roots Of Rock 'n' Roll
  • Nico: Songs They Never Play on the Radio
  • When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison
35985
Benjamin Fong-Torres (Fāng Zhènháo) is an American rock journalist, author, and broadcaster best known for his association with Rolling Stone magazine (through 1981) and the San Francisco Chronicle (from around 1982).

Due to the Chinese Exclusion Act, Fong-Torres' father, Ricardo Fong-Torres (born Fong Kwok Seung), changed his surname to Torres and posed as a Filipino citizen in order to emigrate t
...more
More about Ben Fong-Torres...

Share This Book