$1000 Wedding

Gram Parsons

Song Review by Mark Deming

There's something painfully, pathetically sad in the image of someone left alone at the altar that Gram Parsons captured with aching perfection in the song "$1000 Wedding," which appeared on his final album, Grievous Angel. Parsons never tells listeners exactly why the young bride-to-be decided to run away, though the spectators passing notes among themselves seem to understand it much more clearly than the groom. All that's left is the image of a man not wanting to believe that all his hopes and dreams have been pulled out from under him at the last moment -- almost any possibility, even having to face "her mean ol' mama," seems preferable to the notion that the woman he loves has given up on him. A night of hard drinking does nothing to ease his pain, and as he sees his sorrow reflected in his friends and family, he wonders if there isn't supposed to be a funeral instead, adding with poignant understatement, "It's been a bad, bad day." This sad tale is set to a simple, graceful melody that sympathizes with the sadness of the lyrics without adding to the weight of their melancholy. It was one of the saddest songs from a man who knew how to make a sad song work, and the song also brought out the best in the brave souls who chose to cover it, from the Mekons (who sounded only slightly less groggy than the protagonist on the morning after) to Evan Dando (who delivered one of the finest vocals of his career on a cover of "$1000 Wedding" he cut for a 1999 Gram Parsons tribute album).

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Grievous Angel 1974 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 5:05
Gram Parsons 1982
G.P./Grievous Angel 1990 Reprise 5:00
The Complete Reprise Sessions 2006 Rhino 5:05