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Old 08-10-2023, 08:20 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
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Default Robbie Robertson- The Band has died at age 80

Toronto born Robbie Robertson has died at age 80 in L/A/
ROnnie Hawkins gave him his start in Toronto as a kid of 15. The backing band were all Canadians but for Levon Helm from Arkansas as was Ronnie. Ronnie came to TOronto in the late 50's and never left Canada...He died in early 2022.

Born of Mohawk and Cayuga and Jewish descent, Jaime Royal “Robbie” Robertson was born in Toronto on July 5, 1943, and scrapped around Toronto playing guitar in a series of bands before joining Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks with drummer and future The Band member Levon Helm when he was in his late teens.

According to Wikipedia, the first band Robertson joined was Little Caesar and the Consuls, formed in 1956 by pianist/vocalist Bruce Morshead and guitarist Gene MacLellan. He stayed with the group for almost a year, then in 1957 he formed Robbie and the Rhythm Chords with his friend Pete "Thumper" Traynor (who would later found Traynor Amplifiers). They changed the name to Robbie and the Robots after they watched the film Forbidden Planet and took a liking to the film's character Robby the Robot. Traynor customized Robertson's guitar for the Robots, fitting it with antennae and wires to give it a space-age look. Traynor and Robertson joined with pianist Scott Cushnie and became The Suedes. At a Suedes show on October 5, 1959, when they played CHUM Radio's Hi-Fi Club on Toronto's Merton Street, Ronnie Hawkins first became aware of them and was impressed enough to join them for a few numbers.

Hawkins hired him as a bassist in The Hawks, and Robertson switched to lead guitar, becoming strongly influenced by American blues-rock guitarist Roy Buchanan who himself was briefly a Hawk.

Much of Robertson’s career was fortuitously guided by happenstance and when Bob Dylan retreated to the bucolic town of Woodstock in northern New York state to recover from a reported motorbike accident and shake the unwanted mantle of spiritual leader for the American acoustic folk movement, he had his manager call Robertson to join him with Helm, and it was there that they recorded the Basement Tapes. It was there too that Music From Big Pink was gestated with Robertson credited for songs on that album that included Chest Fever, The Weight, Caledonia Mission, and To Kingdom Come. The album’s release on Capitol Records hit like a bolt of lighting in 1968, starkly different from any other albums in a year that was bolted down by a mish-mash of artists ranging from The Doors, Cream and Jimi Hendrix to Glen Campbell, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and Simon and Garfunkel.

In a moment, The Band was launched and the year following the eponymously titled second album, The Band, was released with the evergreen The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down included on it. After making the cover of Time magazine and pretty much conquering the world with their mix of authentic Americana music captured on five subsequent albums, Robertson, Helm, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel were pretty much done as a unit by 1976 when concert promoter Bill Graham booked The Band at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco for a grand finale with an A-list of guests that included Hawkins, Muddy Waters, Paul Butterfield, Dr. John, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Neil Dimond, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Paul Butterfield and others. The Winterland concert was called The Last Waltz, and filmmaker Martin Scorsese filmed it. The audio became a benchmark 2-LP live recording, and Scorsese’s film of the concert became a seminal rockumentary.

Robertson went on to pursue a solo career perhaps notably highlighted by his first release, Robbie Robertson, produced by fellow Canadian Daniel Lanois with a flotilla of A-listers guesting, with Danko and Hudson also making appearances. Its sequel, Storyville also earned distinction and, again, included Danko and Hudson contributing.

His last and sixth solo alum was Sinematic, released in 2019 with Van Morrison among guest artists making appearances.

He also pursued projects with Scorsese, contributing to movies that included Carny, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, The Colour of Money, Casino, The Departed, Gangs of New York, and The Irishman.

In 2016, Robertson published a well-received memoir, Testimony. A full-length documentary, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, opened the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019. It includes interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Martin Scorsese and Peter Gabriel and continues to stream on Canadian television.

His death was made public via a statement from his family posted on social media: “Robbie was surrounded by his family at the time of his death, including his wife, Janet, his ex-wife, Dominique, her partner Nicholas, and his children Alexandra, Sebastian, Delphine, and Delphine’s partner Kenny. He is also survived by his grandchildren Angelica, Donovan, Dominic, Gabriel, and Seraphina."

Robertson recently completed his fourteenth film music project with frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Six Nations of the Grand River to support a new Woodland Cultural Centre.”

Among the many statements made on his passing yesterday:

Justin Trudeau on Twitter: “Guitarist. Songwriter. Storyteller. Robbie Robertson was a big part of Canada’s outsized contributions to the arts. I’m thinking of his family, friends, and fans who are mourning his loss. Thank you for the music and the memories, Robbie.”

Bryan Adams, Twitter: “RIP Robbie Robertson. Thanks for the amazing music and the great hangs, especially photographing you in LA not so long ago. We'll keep Anna Lee company for you...”

Joni Mitchell, Twitter: “Rest in peace Robbie Robertson, legendary lead guitarist of The Band, fellow Canadian, and cherished collaborator of Joni's. May his legacy and musical harmony resonate for generations to come.”

Larry LeBlanc, Celebrity Access: “While Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and John Kay were fighting their way through Toronto’s Yorkville Village’s folk clubs in the 1960s, Ronnie Hawkins, backed by Levon and the Hawks– Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Rick Danko–reigned on downtown Yonge Street. The Yonge Street bar strip was then a ‘Life is A Carnival’ maze of flickering neon lights, honking car horns, and fast people. “Local musicians, as well as myself and others, would fight nightly for seats as the Hawks held court in a raucous style Toronto bar crowds expected from young players backing a colourful Fayetteville, Arkansas rock and roller who’d tell us, ‘Live fast, live hard, die young, and leave a be-yu-ti-ful memoree.’

"' We were really going strong in those days,’' Hawkins once told me. 'We were just experimenting; how much we could cram in, how much we could learn'.’”

“In listening to the Band’s debut album, Music From Big Pink and the slim collection of albums that followed, we knew that the years of such ‘woodshedding’ paid off. As well Robbie Robertson’s enduring legacy as a master Strats guitarist lived on with local players including the late Domenic Troiano and Freddie Keeler as well as more recently Colin Linden.

“And even those who didn’t play guitar growing up in Toronto, like myself, we still wanted to be Robbie Robertson, the coolest of the cool. I got to interview him numerous times over the years, and his music is part of my DNA.”
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Old 08-10-2023, 08:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Robbie Robertson- The Band has died at age 80

Kevin Shea, Facebook: “…. I knew Robbie’s resume: Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, followed by backing Bob Dylan and then The Band. All are seminal figures in Canada’s musical history.

“There was something magical about Robbie Robertson, his eponymous album release. Listening to the album felt like I was riding along the blue highways in a classic convertible, Robbie at the wheel, the wind whipping through our hair, both of us smiling like the butcher’s dog as he regaled me with stories about the people he’d met along the way.

“It didn’t hurt MCA Records Canada that Robbie Robertson was Canadian; a boy born in Toronto who had spent a great deal of time with his mother’s family on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario. Hamilton native Daniel Lanois produced the album and brought along his friends Peter Gabriel and U2 to contribute.

“Showdown at Big Sky, with the BoDeans backing Robertson, was the first track for rock radio, and we did exceptionally well with it. Broken Arrow, later covered by Rod Stewart, was a fabulous track, as was Hell’s Half Acre. But the track that garnered surprising and significant attention at rock radio, adult contemporary as well as Top 40 was Somewhere Down the Crazy River, with Robbie rhapsodizing about life along the blue highways. “Yeah, I can see it now. The distant red neon shivered in the heat. Take a picture of this. The fields are empty, abandoned ’59 Chevy, laying in the back seat listening to Little Willie John.”

“I can never hear that song without thinking of our dear friend Nevin Grant. His Top 40 radio station, CKOC Hamilton, added Somewhere Down the Crazy River instantly and took it into the top ten, unusual for a song in which the artist speaks the verses and sings the chorus. By CKOC playing the song, many similar stations followed suit, and we earned an unlikely Top 40 hit.

“The album left an indelible impression on me. One day soon, I plan to fill the car with gas and drive the blue highways from Toronto to Tobermory, passing through Shelburne, Flesherton, Markdale, Owen Sound and Wiarton on my way to the Bruce Peninsula, exploring my province and my personal roots with Robbie Robertson providing the soundtrack as I go.

“Thank you for the music and memories, Robbie. God bless you.”

Nicholas Jennings, Facebook: “Stepping off a Greyhound bus from Toronto in 1961, a 17-year-old boy found himself in West Helena, Ark., by the banks of the Mississippi River, unable to believe his senses. “It smelled different and moved different,” Robbie Robertson once told me. “The people talked and dressed different. And the air was filled with thick and funky music.” The experience left an indelible impression on the budding guitarist and songwriter.

“When he released his post-Band solo debut years later, the album’s most explicitly autobiographical song was Somewhere Down the Crazy River, which related Robertson’s experience in the American South. The inspiration came late one night in the recording studio. Robertson, an engaging storyteller, was recounting his arrival in the Mississippi Delta. His conversation so enthralled producer Daniel Lanois that he started rolling the tape.

“The result, a richly cinematic narrative, magically takes the listener back to that day in 1961. “A stranger in a strange land,” Robertson growls, “I followed the sound of a jukebox coming from up the levee.” Walking past abandoned Chevys in empty fields, he explored that world—entranced, but with his eyes and ears wide open. That song, like so much of Robertson’s music, still retains that magic.

“Now Robbie Robertson is gone, dead at the age of 80. Condolences to his family, friends and fans the world over.”

– Sources: Wikipedia, Variety. and Classic Rock & Culture
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Old 08-10-2023, 08:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Robbie Robertson- The Band has died at age 80

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Old 08-10-2023, 08:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: Robbie Robertson- The Band has died at age 80

Andy Greene
Robbie Robertson, Master Storyteller Who Led the Band, Dead at 80
The Band's guitarist and primary songwriter collaborated with Bob Dylan and penned "The Weight," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," and "Up on Cripple Creek," among other classics
August 9, 2023

Robbie Robertson, the Band’s guitarist and primary songwriter who penned “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Up on Cripple Creek,” and many other beloved classics, died Wednesday at age 80.

Robertson’s management company confirmed the musician’s death. “Robbie was surrounded by his family at the time of his death, including his wife, Janet, his ex-wife, Dominique, her partner Nicholas, and his children Alexandra, Sebastian, Delphine, and Delphine’s partner Kenny,” his longtime manager Jared Levine said in a statement. “In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Six Nations of the Grand River to support the building of their new cultural center.”

The Band only lasted eight years after the release of their 1968 debut LP, Music From Big Pink, but during that time they forever changed the pop-culture landscape by releasing brilliant Americana music at the peak of the psychedelic movement. Their first album sent shockwaves through the industry, inspiring Eric Clapton to break up Cream, the Beatles to attempt their own stripped-back project with Let It Be, and a pair of young British songwriters named Elton John and Bernie Taupin to begin writing and recording their own material.

Robertson took on the role as the group’s leader, writing the majority of their songs and pushing them forward when substance abuse issues and infighting threatened their existence. It was also his decision to pull the plug on the group in 1976 when he couldn’t take it anymore, setting the stage for their legendary farewell concert The Last Waltz.

“The road has taken a lot of the great ones,” he said at the time. “Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, Otis Redding, Janis, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis. It’s a goddamn impossible way of life.”

Before the Band began making their own music, Robertson was one of Bob Dylan’s key collaborators, playing guitar on Blonde on Blonde and convincing the songwriter to hire the other members of his group as his backing band. They toured the world in 1965 and 1966, facing a torrent of boos by enraged folk purists. “His friends, his advisors, and everyone told him to blow us off and start from scratch,” Robertson said in 1987. “And it took a tremendous amount of courage for him not to do that.”

Born in Toronto on July 5, 1943, to a Native American mother and Jewish father, Robertson was fascinated by music from a young age. “I’ve been playing guitar for so long I can’t remember when I started,” he told Rolling Stone in 1968. “I guess I got into rock & roll like everybody else.”

He left high school long before graduation to tour Canada with a series of rock bands, joining rockbabilly icon Ronnie Hawkins’ backing band when he was 16. “We played everywhere,” Robertson said, “from Molasses, Texas, to Timmins, Canada, which is a mining town about 100 miles from the tree line.”

It was in Hawkins’ band where he first played with drummer Levon Helm, keyboardist Richard Manuel, organist Garth Hudson, and bassist Rick Danko. They formed a tight musical bond, which continued when they hit the road with Dylan in 1965. “I had never seen anything like it,” Robertson said in 2004. “How much Dylan could deliver with a guitar and a harmonica, and how people would just take the ride.”

In early 1966, during a break from the tour, Dylan brought Robertson down to Nashville to play guitar on his landmark double album Blonde on Blonde. “We’d go into the studio, and he’d be finishing up the lyrics to the songs we were going to do,” Robertson said. “I could hear his typewriter — click, click, click, ring, really fast. There was so much to be said.”

The tour came to a sudden end in the summer of 1966 when Dylan crashed his motorcycle in Woodstock, New York. But a few months later, Dylan summoned Robertson and company to Woodstock to begin work on a series of home recordings later known as The Basement Tapes. “We thought nobody was ever going to hear this thing,” Robertson said decades later. “In their own way, they were like field recordings.”

Dylan resumed his own career in 1968. Around that time, the group redubbed themselves the Band. “There aren’t many bands around Woodstock and our friends and neighbors just call us the Band, and that’s the way we think of ourselves,” Robertson said in 1968. “We just don’t think a name means anything. It’s gotten out of hand, the name thing. We don’t want to get into a fixed bag like that.”

When they began writing songs for their first LP, Robertson stepped forward as the leader in the process. In a 1969 interview with Rolling Stone, the guitarist attempted to explain how he wrote “The Weight.” “I thought of a couple of words that led to a couple more,” he said. “The next thing I know I wrote the song. We just figured it was a simple song, and when it came up, we gave it a try and recorded it three or four times. We didn’t even know if we were going to use it.”

Needless to say, the song wound up on Music From Big Pink and generated radio play all over the world, generating cover versions by the Staple Singers, Joe Cocker, the Grateful Dead, Aretha Franklin, and countless others.

Over the next eight years, the Band scored more Robertson-penned hits (“Up on Cripple Creek,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Stage Fright,” “The Shape I’m In”), played Woodstock, toured the world many times over, and reunited with Dylan for a hugely successful stadium tour.

By 1976, Danko and Manuel developed severe substance-abuse issues, and Robertson — who had effectively been on the road since 1959 — was burned out. “The road turns you into a meaningless piece of dribble that will complain about shit that doesn’t mean anything to anybody,” he said in 1987. “It got to the point where I couldn’t see the upside.”

Robertson decided that the Band should go out with a bang, so he organized a massive farewell gig at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom and invited everyone from Dylan to Neil Young to Muddy Waters and Hawkins to guest. Martin Scorsese filmed the event, which was released in 1978 under the title The Last Waltz. It’s widely seen as one of the greatest concert films of all time, even though Helm felt it focused way too much attention on Robertson at the expense of other members of the group.

It was the beginning of a long feud with Helm over credit and songwriting royalties that was never fully resolved, though Robertson did visit his old friend in the hospital during the final days of his life in 2012.

The Last Waltz was also the beginning of a tight bond between Robertson and filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who hired the songwriter as the musical supervisor for his movies The King of Comedy, Casino, Gangs of New York, Shutter Island, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Robertson had a role in the 1980 film Carny, and the documentaries Dakota Exile (1996) and Wolves (1999). In 1967, Robertson married Canadian journalist Dominique Bourgeois, with whom he had three children. They later divorced. In 2014, Robertson’s son Sebastian published a children’s book, Rock and Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story, about his father’s life and legacy.

Keeping the promise of The Last Waltz, Robertson never returned to touring, though he did release five solo albums beginning with 1987’s critically acclaimed Robbie Robertson. In 2011, he collaborated with Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails on the blues-steeped How to Become Clairvoyant.

His most recent solo release was 2019’s Sinematic, which featured guest appearances by Van Morrison, Derek Trucks, and Citizen Cope. He also oversaw the music for Scorsese’s Silence, The Irishman, and the upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon, capping off a five-decade relationship with the director that stretched back to The Last Waltz.

In 2016, he published the memoir Testimony, following it up in 2019 with the documentary Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band. At the time of his death, he was working on a second volume of his memoir series. “There is something blatantly honest about this period I’m in now, what I’m drawn to,” he told Rolling Stone in 2019. “I guess I’m at an age now — a place in my journey — where I don’t care what you think. I’ll tell you anyway!”
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