Album Cover Art Wednesday: Sweetheart Of The Rodeo

Hippie rock stars playing country music doesn’t seem that odd to us to now. But when the Byrds cut Sweetheart Of The Rodeoin 1968, it was a revolutionary notion. The Nashville establishment hated the mere idea so they hated the album itself. Today, it seems like a respectful twist on traditional country music but to the Grand Ole Opry crowd it was heresy.

Gram Parsons was the driving force behind the album, but he didn’t get along with some of the other Byrds. He left the band and his lead vocals were re-recorded by Roger McGuinn because of a legal dispute between Parsons and his record company. It has become a classic and inspired a raft of other artists over the years. The cover art is by the Uruguayan born cowboy and artist Jo Mora; or rather it is an adaptation of a 1932 poster by the artist, The American Cowboy Rodeo:


Here’s the version of the LP that featured three lead vocals by Gram Parsons:

2 thoughts on “Album Cover Art Wednesday: Sweetheart Of The Rodeo

  1. This old chestnut came up when looking at today’s Mott the Hoople post, and brought back fond memories. My abhorrence of country music, based on what was on my brand new pocket transistor birthday present of 1963 versus what was on WTIX–the British Invasion–was first broken down by the Gram Parson-inspired disc one of Untitled, and later by close listening to the Dead and ultimately by an acquaintance from Texas turning me onto the Texas Outlaws. But Parsons, who I understand is buried out by Cemeteries, one the one who pushed me past the Nashville Strings and other dreck of my childhood into the full glory of American music.

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