Robbie Robertson, the guitarist and essential songwriter within the Canadian-American rock group The Band, has died on the age of 80, his supervisor stated.
Robertson, who left his Toronto house at age 16 to pursue his rock ‘n’ roll dreams, died on Wednesday in Los Angeles after an extended sickness, Jared Levine, his supervisor of 34 years, stated in a press release.
“Robbie was surrounded by his household on the time of his demise,” 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, the group served because the backing band for rockabilly wild man Ronnie Hawkins, earlier than gaining consideration by performing with Bob Dylan on his “Going Electrical” excursions from 1965 to 1966.
After altering their identify to The Band and rebasing in Woodstock, New York, they grew to become probably the most revered teams in rock. Their 1976 farewell live performance in San Francisco was the idea of Martin Scorsese’s 1978 documentary The Final Waltz.
The Band had a novel chemistry. Recognized for his or her vocal harmonies, they’d three glorious 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 bandmates in his 2016 autobiography, Testimony.
“This band was an actual band. No slack within the excessive wire right here. All people held up his finish with a lot to spare.”
Guitarist-songwriter-singer Robbie Robertson, who led the Canadian-American group the Band to rock prominence within the Nineteen Seventies and labored extensively with Bob Dylan, has died. He was 80.https://t.co/GAjYu279cv pic.twitter.com/OuCNgb2dm8
— Selection (@Selection) August 9, 2023
“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 hits like 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 folks, rock, nation, soul and gospel, The Band influenced the likes of Eric Clapton, Elton John, the Grateful Lifeless, the Beatles and generations of later musicians who performed music that was then known as “Americana”.
Their music harked again to an earlier United States, mirrored in such track titles as Throughout the Nice Divide, King Harvest (Has Certainly Come), Up on Cripple Creek and The WS Walcott Drugs Present.
Jaime Royal “Robbie” 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 discovered 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 he was born.
As a boy, Robertson was impressed by his visits with kinfolk on the Six Nations Indian Reserve in southwestern Ontario.
It struck him that “all people there may play or sing or dance or do one thing with music”, he informed the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Metro Morning present in 2017.
“To see any person sitting beside you in a chair and listen to their fingers transferring on the instrument, and listen to them respiration after they had been singing, all of that, it gave me chills.”
Robertson grew to become infatuated with the guitar early on and gained a status as a guitar hotshot throughout his time with the Hawks.
Rolling Stone journal finally ranked him quantity 59 on its 2015 record of “100 Biggest Guitarists”. His distinctive guitar model was exhibited to nice impact on such Band songs as Jawbone and Smoke Sign.
After hovering to the best heights on their first two albums, The Band continued to provide good work within the Nineteen Seventies. However a sure lethargy and lack of course 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 visitors 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 the boxing drama Raging Bull.
He made a foray into appearing in 1980 with the movie Carny, starring Jodie Foster. He additionally launched a number of solo albums, exploring new sonic territory moderately than attempting to recapture the distinctive sound of The Band.
Within the Nineties, acrimony emerged when Helm accused Robertson of failing to share credit score with different members on songs he claimed they’d co-written. Robertson denied he had unfairly withheld credit score.
Helm painted a scathing image of Robertson in his 1993 autobiography. Robertson reacted extra in sorrow than anger, usually 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 Eighties and Nineties and even made a couple of albums underneath The Band identify, however Robertson by no means took half.
After The Band’s breakup, a lifetime of exhausting 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, the publication Selection cited unnamed sources in a report that Robertson offered his music publishing catalogue to a agency known as Iconoclast for about $25m.
After all of the highs and lows, Robertson regarded again at his Band mates with love and affection.
“Via 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.”