gram parsons song
April 4, 2005 8:59 AM   Subscribe

What the heck is the Gram Parsons song $1,000 Wedding about? (lyrics inside, mp3 of one version here) The first two verses sound like she left the guy at the altar, but the chorus and the last verse sound more like she died.

Was a thousand dollar wedding
supposed to be held, the other day
and with all the invitations sent
the young bride went away
when the groom saw people passing notes 'not unusual,' he might say
but where are the flowers for my baby
I'd even like to see her mean old mama
and why ain't there a funeral, if you're gonna act that way

I hate to tell you how he acted when the news arrived
he took some friends out drinking and it's lucky they survived
well, he told them everything there was to tell there along the way
and he felt so bad when he saw the traces
of old lies still on their faces
so why don't someone here just spike his drink
why don't you do him in some old way

supposed to be a funeral, it's been a bad, bad day

the Reverend Dr. William Grace was talking to the crowd
all about the sweet child's holy face
and the saints who sung out loud
and he swore the fiercest beasts
could all be put to sleep the same silly way
and where are the flowers for the girl
she only knew she loved the world
and why ain't there one lonely horn and one sad note to play?

supposed to be a funeral, it's been a bad, bad day
ooh, supposed to be a funeral, it's been a bad, bad day
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
Bride comitted suicide on the wedding day?
posted by COBRA! at 9:06 AM on April 4, 2005

It really seems like the answer is no one knows, which is always the hardest answer to give for any question. Parsons hasn't gone on record, that I've found, with a response and according to this article combined with this article it just seems like it's a catchy mournful song that describes a lot of archetypal behavior with no one marrative thread, loosely based on his own life.
posted by jessamyn at 9:17 AM on April 4, 2005

my guess? ... the bride gave birth to a premature baby who died ... perhaps she even killed her baby
posted by pyramid termite at 9:28 AM on April 4, 2005

Response by poster: that discussion in neustile's link was awesome, just what I was looking for. A poster there summed it up for me: I don't mind that it's not necessarily about something, but if it is, I just want to know what it is.

jessamyn, I'd never seen those two links, and I've looked. Thanks!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:37 AM on April 4, 2005

It's a good question. I wonder if part of the answer is just that it is archetypical, or rather, a song made from archetypical verses and lines or situations, which doesn't really 'mean' in the way that we might want it to. Greil Marcus in his book Invisible Republic, about The Basement Tapes and The Anthology of American Folk music, talks about songs like this, which appear on AAF. Each line makes sense, but the song doesn't quite hang together because each line or verse is simply a quotation of well-known lines and situations from other traditional songs. Given Parsons' work in revitalizing the familiar country music, maybe that's part of what's going on here.
posted by OmieWise at 10:35 AM on April 4, 2005

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