60’s rock legend Gram Parsons loved Joshua Tree National Park. He loved it so much in fact, he made it known amongst his friends that when he died he wanted be cremated and his ashes scattered at his favorite landmark, Cap Rock.
Sadly, Gram died in 1973 at the young age of 26—just weeks before departing on a highly anticipated solo US Tour—at the Joshua Tree Inn. As his body lay in waiting at LAX to be transported to his hometown for burial (against Gram’s wishes), his friend and manager Phil Kaufman stole his body from the airport, and using a borrowed hearse drove out to Joshua Tree to honor his departed friend’s wish. A bungled cremation effort (which included 5 gallons of gasoline and a giant fireball) led to a wild police chase through the desert and to Kaufman’s arrest several days later.
In spite of his short yet incredibly prolific time on Earth, Gram is considered one of the most influential musicians of all time. It’s no wonder why legions of fans still make the pilgrimage to pay their respects, turning Cap Rock into an unofficial Gram Parsons shrine with flowers, handcrafted mementos, and poetic graffiti.