|Gram Parsons in 1970|
The first meeting of Gram Parsons and Keith Richards took place in 1968 while the Byrds were touring Europe in support of their landmark "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" record. The Byrds were in London to play a benefit at the Royal Albert Hall. On the morning after the show, Parsons told McGuinn, Chris Hillman and then-Byrds drummer Kevin Kelly he was not going to South Africa under any circumstances. Parsons left the group and stayed in London while the Byrds flew to South Africa. Gram met Keith Richards in London and stayed with him for a spell, turning the Stones onto country music. Suddenly songs like 'Dear Doctor', 'Country Honk', and 'Dead Flowers' became part of the Stones' repertoire.
In 1970 Gram and the Flying Burrito Brothers release their album 'Burrito Deluxe' containing a cover of a song Gram had worked with Keith Richards on. The song was 'Wild Horses' and this would be the first recorded release of this famous song. Parsons was inspired to cover the song after hearing an advance tape of the Sticky Fingers album sent to pedal steel player Sneaky Pete Kleinow, who was scheduled to overdub a part on the song (Kleinow's part was not included on the released Rolling Stones version, though it is available on bootlegs). Mick Jagger consented to the cover version, so long as the Flying Burrito Brothers did not issue it as a single.
Here's an early recording of Gram and Keith working on 'Wild Horses'...