Robbie Robertson, Frontman of The Band, Dies at 80

Robbie Robertson, beloved guitarist, songwriter and frontman of The Band, died after an unspecified long illness on Wednesday (Aug. 9). He was 80 years old.

Robertson’s longtime manager, Jared Levine, shared the devastating news in a statement: “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.”

The Toronto, Ontario-born artist began playing guitar at age 10, and at just 16 years old he joined drummer Levon Helm in the Hawks, the backing band for Ronnie Hawkins. The Hawks went on to play with Bob Dylan on his legendary Going Electric tours in 1965 and 1966, and recorded the seminal “basement tapes” with the legend before changing their group’s name to The Band. They released their debut Music From Big Pink album in 1968, which featured the Robertson-penned classic, “The Weight,” and the group performed at Woodstock Festival a year later. 

Robertson was the sole writer of The Band’s first four hits on the Billboard Hot 100 — “The Weight” (peaked at No. 63), “Up on Cripple Creek” (No. 25), “Rag Mama Rag” (No. 57), and “Time to Kill” (No. 77). He was also the sole writer of the biggest hit Joan Baez ever had, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” which reached No. 3 in 1971.

After eight years as a band, Robertson ended the group in 1976, culminating in The Band’s legendary farewell concert, The Last Waltz. Dylan, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell all joined the group for the performance at San Francisco’s Winterland and a corresponding concert film was directed by Martin Scorsese. The Last Waltz soundtrack was released in 1978 and peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Robertson also delved into the film world, co-writing, producing, appearing in and composing the source music for Carny (1979), starring Gary Busey and Jodie Foster. He went on to create and produce music for Scorsese’s Raging Bull (1980), King Of Comedy (1983), and The Color Of Money (1986), which included “It’s In The Way That You Use It,” co-written with Clapton. Robertson scored, consulted for, produced or supervised music for numerous iconic films throughout the years, including American Beauty (1999), Any Given Sunday (1999) Gangs Of New York (2002), The Departed (2006), Shutter Island (2009), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and Silence (2016).

Robertson made his solo album debut in 1987 with his Grammy nominated self-titled album, featuring guests Peter Gabriel and U2 and the beloved track “Somewhere Down The Crazy River.” His sixth and final solo album, Sinematic, was released in 2019.

The Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 2008. Robertson never won a Grammy in competition, despite five nods over the years, but he won five Juno Awards in his native Canada, including three in 1989 — album of the year (for his eponymous album), male vocalist of the year and producer of the year (in tandem with Daniel Lanois).

Additional reporting by Paul Grein.

This story first appeared on

Source From:

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts
Blogarama - Blog Directory