Prominently featuring a young Emmylou Harris, Grievous Angel received great critical acclaim upon release but failed to find commercial success, a fate shared with Parsons’ previous efforts solo and with The Flying Burrito Brothers. Grievous Angel peaked at number 195 on the Billboard charts. Despite its modest sales, it is viewed as a successful example of the hybrid between country and rock and roll Parsons called "Cosmic American Music".
It was voted number 324 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000). In 2012, the album was ranked number 425 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.