Home Entertainment Robbie Robertson, Canadian music legend, lifeless at 80

Robbie Robertson, Canadian music legend, lifeless at 80

Robbie Robertson, Canadian music legend, lifeless at 80


Robbie Robertson, the guitarist and foremost songwriter in The Band, the Canadian-American group identified for songs together with The Weight and The Evening They Drove Previous Dixie Down, has died on the age of 80, his supervisor stated on Wednesday.

Robertson, who left his Toronto house at age 16 to pursue his rock’n’roll goals, died Wednesday in Los Angeles after an extended sickness, Robertson’s supervisor of 34 years, Jared Levine, stated in an announcement.

“Robbie was surrounded by his household on the time of his dying,” the assertion added.

The Band included 4 Canadians – Robertson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel – and was anchored by an Arkansas drummer, Levon Helm. Initially dubbed The Hawks because the backing band for rockabilly wild man Ronnie Hawkins, they gained consideration supporting Bob Dylan on his Going Electrical excursions of 1965-1966.

CALIFORNIA – JUNE 1976: Guitarist Robbie Robertson of the rock group ‘The Band’ performs his Fender Stratocaster electrical guitar as he performs exterior onstage in June 1976.

Picture by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Pictures

After altering their title to The Band and rebasing in Woodstock, New York, they grew to become one of the vital revered teams in rock. Their 1976 farewell live performance in San Francisco was the premise of Martin Scorsese’s 1978 film The Final Waltz.

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The Band had a singular chemistry. Identified for his or her vocal harmonies, that they had three wonderful singers in Helm, bassist Danko and pianist Manuel. Organist and multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson was additionally essential.

“They had been the products,” Robertson wrote of his 4 band mates in his 2016 autobiography, Testimony. “This band was an actual band. No slack within the excessive wire right here. Everyone held up his finish with lots to spare.”

FILM – On this Might 29, 1978 file picture, American director Martin Scorsese, left, and producer Robbie Robertson are proven within the French Riviera in Cannes, France, to current “Final Waltz” on the thirty first Cannes Worldwide Movie Competition.

(AP Picture, file)

“The impression of The Band’s first album can’t be exaggerated,” critic Greil Marcus wrote in 2000, referring to their 1968 debut album, Music from Huge Pink. It contained The Weight and Dylan’s I Shall Be Launched, amongst others.

Their 1969 sophomore album, titled merely The Band, was even higher. With their frontiersman look and distinctive mix of people, rock, nation, soul and gospel, The Band influenced the likes of Eric Clapton, Elton John, the Grateful Useless, the Beatles, and generations of later musicians who performed music that was by then referred to as “Americana.”

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Their music harked again to an earlier America, mirrored in such music titles as Throughout the Nice Divide, King Harvest (Has Absolutely Come), Up on Cripple Creek and The W.S. Walcott Drugs Present.


Jaime Royal Robertson was born in Toronto on July 5, 1943. His mom, Rosemarie Dolly Chrysler, was an Indigenous Canadian of Mohawk and Cayuga descent. She married a Canadian Military enlistee named Jim Robertson. Robbie Robertson later realized that his organic father was a person he described as a “card shark” of Jewish heritage named Alex Klegerman, who was killed in a freeway hit-and-run accident earlier than Robertson was born.

As a boy, Robertson was impressed by his visits with family members on the Six Nations Indian Reserve in southwestern Ontario. It struck him that “everyone there might play or sing or dance or do one thing with music,” he instructed the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Metro Morning in 2017. “To see anyone sitting beside you in a chair and listen to their fingers transferring on the instrument, and listen to them respiratory once they had been singing, all of that, it gave me chills.”

Robertson grew to become infatuated with the guitar early on and gained a repute as a guitar sizzling shot throughout his time with the Hawks. Rolling Stone journal ultimately ranked him No. 59 on its 2015 listing of “100 Biggest Guitarists.” His distinctive guitar model was exhibited to nice impact on such Band songs as Jawbone and Smoke Sign.

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CALIFORNIA – JUNE 1976: Guitarist Robbie Robertson of the rock group ‘The Band’ performs his Fender Stratocaster electrical guitar as he performs exterior onstage in June 1976.

(Picture by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Pictures)

After hovering to the best heights on their first two albums, The Band continued to supply good work within the Seventies however a sure lethargy and lack of path set in, not helped by the substance abuse issues of Danko, Helm and Manuel. They determined to pack it in by holding a star-studded live performance in 1976 with such company as Dylan, Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Neil Younger, Van Morrison and Muddy Waters.

After The Band’s breakup, Robertson created soundtracks for Scorsese movies, together with Raging Bull. He made a foray into performing in 1980 with the movie Carny, starring Jodie Foster. He launched a number of solo albums, exploring new sonic territory fairly than making an attempt to recapture the distinctive sound of The Band.


Within the Nineties, acrimony emerged when Helm accused Robertson of failing to present co-credits to the opposite members on songs he claimed that they had co-written. Robertson denied he had unfairly withheld credit score.

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Helm painted a scathing image of Robertson in his 1993 autobiography. Robertson reacted extra in sorrow than anger, typically saying in interviews that Helm, within the early days, was “the closest factor I needed to a brother.”

The Band’s members reunited in varied configurations within the Nineteen Eighties and Nineties and even made a number of albums beneath The Band title, however Robertson by no means took half.

Robbie Robertson performs at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Competition 2013 at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York on April 13, 2013. Tapping into the recesses of his reminiscence is sort of second nature for Robbie Robertson. Given his touring with Bob Dylan throughout his folk-electric years and enjoying guitar within the seminal Seventies rock group the Band, he will get a number of questions concerning the previous.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Picture by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File

After The Band’s breakup, a lifetime of onerous residing took its toll on the members. Manuel hanged himself in a Florida lodge room at age 42 in 1986. Danko died at age 55 in 1999. Helm died of throat most cancers in 2012. Hudson is the remaining member nonetheless alive.

In February 2022, Selection reported, citing sources, that Robertson offered his music publishing catalog to a agency referred to as Iconoclast for about $25 million.

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After all of the highs and lows, Robertson seemed again at his Band mates with love and affection. “By means of all of the turbulence, I’m left with such a deep appreciation for my journey,” he wrote in his autobiography. “This shining path I’ve traveled being a part of the Band – there’ll by no means be one other prefer it. Such a present, such expertise, such ache, such insanity … I wouldn’t commerce it for something.”
— Reporting by Matthew Lewis in Chicago; extra reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; modifying by Diane Craft and Rosalba O’Brien



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