The Flying Burrito Brothers’ 1969 album The Gilded Palace of Sin features band members decked out in suits made by Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors of North Hollywood, California. The exquisitely tailored and embellished outfits contrast nicely with the shack and wood debris in this Joshua Tree National Park setting. The image, thanks to the vision of Grammy-winning art director Tom Wilkes and photographer Barry Feinstein, captures the early country-rock convergence represented by the band’s music. As with much of the clothing coming out of Nudie’s shop, the jackets, pants, and shirts are a reflection of the people who wore them and the times in which they were created.
The Autry’s Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors Archive contains designs and/or order forms for the outfits featured on the front and back of The Gilded Palace of Sin.
Gram Parsons wore a suit that is famously, or infamously, decorated with poppies, pills, marijuana leaves, and a large cross that almost pulsates outward from the back. The suit is now in the collections of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. To see Parsons modeling the suit, follow the link to the now iconic images shot by Jim McCrary, chief photographer for A&M Records at the time the album was produced.
Band member Chris Hillman generously donated the suit he wore on The Gilded Palace of Sin to the Autry in 2002. With the passing of Chris Etheridge earlier this year, Hillman is the only surviving band member.
Peter “Sneeky Pete” Kleinow
A gorgeous black-and-white image of the Gilded Palace of Sin Nudie suits hanging on a rack in the A&M studios can be found on Jim McCrary’s website.
Just arrived, new Libraries and Archives of the Autry acquisition! The Gilded Palace of Sin by Bob Proehl; Continuum, 2008.