Chris Ethridge, a founding member of The Flying Burrito Brothers, died today from complications of pancreatic cancer, the L.A. Times reported. Ethridge, who was 65 years old, died in Meridian, Miss. The death was first confirmed by a tweet by Willie Nelson.
The bassist also played in the International Submarine Band with Gram Parsons, where he would help record the album Safe at Home. The two would later collaborate with ex-Byrds singer Chris Hillman to form the Flying Burrito Brothers band, which changed the way pop music incorporated rock and country influences. Ethridge was also a touring member of Willie Nelson’s touring band.
“Here’s what people don’t know or don’t remember,” Hillman said today in a statement to the LA Times. “Three of Gram’s greatest songs were co-written by Chris: those would be ‘Hot Burrito #1,’ ‘Hot Burrito #2’ and ‘She.’ And I’ve always said: Gram Parsons’ greatest recorded vocals were those two [‘Hot Burrito’] songs. Maybe it’s my opinion, but I was there and I know I never heard him sing better than he did on those two songs. He just nailed ‘em.”
Ethridge left the Flying Burrito Brothers band in 1969 after the band’s first album The Gilded Palace of Sin. Besides his work with Nelson’s band, Ethridge would later work with acts that included Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt and Arlo Guthrie.