The Band

Officially formed in Toronto, Canada in 1967, the five members of The Band had recently left the employment of rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins, where they performed under the name The Hawks. The five founding members included guitarist / songwriter Robbie Robertson, bassist / vocalist Rick Danko, keyboardists Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson, plus drummer / vocalist Levon Helm, the sole American in the group. After leaving Hawkins, the group – still known as The Hawks - found fame whilst musicians for Bob Dylan on his notorious 1965-66 World Tour; when the folk star controversially ‘went electric’ and had to endure cries of “Judas!” When Dylan was injured in a motorcycle accident in 1966, The Hawks started writing their own songs and soon changed their name to The Band and released their debut album Songs from Big Pink (1968), which included the classic single “The Weight” (used in the film Easy Rider). They played at the legendary Woodstock festival before eponymous follow-up The Band (1969) and third album Stage Fright (1970) both made the Top 10 in the US album charts. All three albums defined their sound based in rich, bluesy Americana that stemmed from the roots of rock'n'roll. Adored by the music press and respected by their peers as pioneers of country rock, The Band split in 1976 after the huge Last Waltz concert in San Francisco, which included guests such as Joni Mitchell, Dylan, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, and Van Morrison and was filmed by Martin Scorsese. They reformed again in 1983 without guitarist Robbie Robertson and continued touring and recording with various different line-ups until 1999, releasing 10 studio albums and leaving a legacy that was a big influence on the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Black Crowes, Wilco, and Fleet Foxes. Richard Manuel committed suicide on March 4, 1986. Rick Danko died from a heart attack on December 10, 1999. Levon Helm died from throat cancer on April 19, 2012. Robbie Robertson died on August 9, 2023.

Related Artists

Stations Featuring The Band

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