Sunday, February 10, 2008

Robbie Robertson and The Band...Proud of Our Canadian Band

Tonight Robbie Roberston and The Band were honoured at the Grammys with a lifetime music achievement award. Some of us believe that was a long overdue kudo.

Here's a little bio on the Robbie.

One of the premier songwriters of the rock era, Robbie Robertson was born July 5, 1943 in Toronto, Ontario. The son of a Jewish father and Mohawk mother, Jaime Robbie Robertson's first brush with live music came at the Six Nations Reservation, his mother's girlhood home; at the age of five, he also gained exposure to the country music of rural America. Not long after, he began taking guitar lessons from a cousin, and gradually began composing his first songs. As time wore on, his musical interests evolved from country to big band to rock, and he eventually dropped out of school to pursue a career as a performer. In 1958, he hooked up with rockabilly star Ronnie Hawkins' backing band the Hawks, joining fellow sidemen Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel.

After remaining with Hawkins through 1963, the Hawks began working on their own; they soon came to the attention of Bob Dylan, and became the support unit on the singer's now-legendary 1965-1966 world tour. Continuing their affiliation with Dylan, the group, renamed simply the Band, went on to become one of rock's seminal acts; propelled by Robertson's acute, evocative examinations of American mythology and lore, they made a series of seminal LPs, including 1968's Music From Big Pink and the following year's self-titled masterpiece. The Band dissolved on Thanksgiving Day, 1976 following an all-star concert filmed by director Martin Scorsese and later released as The Last Waltz. The project marked the beginning of Robertson's long affiliation with Scorsese, as well as an interest in dramatic acting; in 1980, Robertson produced and starred in Carny, co-starring Jodie Foster and Gary Busey.

Also in 1980, he composed the score to Scorsese's brilliant Raging Bull, and continued to confine his musical activity to the film medium for the next several years, later working with Scorsese on the acerbic 1983 satire King of Comedy and 1986's The Color Of Money, the sequel to The Hustler. Finally, in 1987 Robertson released his self-titled solo debut, which included guest appearances from onetime Band mates Danko and Hudson as well as U2, Peter Gabriel, Daniel Lanois and Gil Evans. Storyville a conceptual piece steeped in the sounds and imagery of a famed area of New Orleans, followed in 1990. In 1994, Robertson returned to his roots, teaming with the Native American group the Red Road Ensemble for Music for The Native Americans, a collection of songs composed for a television documentary series. Contact From the Underworld of Redboy followed in 1998.

Many thanks to Jason Ankeny, All-Music Guide


Jason Cherniak said...

Why didn't they play or speak?!?!

James Curran said...

Maybe that would have pissed off Kanye West!

Charles J said...

Rick Danko died a few years ago, and Garth Hudson passed last year I think.

I've always loved the band, and I have to respect their classy exit with the Last Waltz. Few bands can end it on such a high note (pun intended).

James Curran said...

Robbie was in the audience tonight.

Danko died in his sleep in '99 from heart failure.

Hudson is 70 years old and I believe him to be alive. Not sure though.

Hudson committed suicide in '86 and was fighting serious alcoholism.

Levon Helm is in his late 60's.

They did reunite a few times in the early '80s WITHOUT Robbie and used various vocalists to replace him.

cmf said...

robby robertson is a weasel for what he did to his band mates.. and yes i know about it.

juanita van rensburg said...

What did he do to his band mates?