Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Band

On February 28, 1969 The Band made their live debut at the Winterland in San Francisco. The Band began backing up Bob Dylan in 1965 calling themselves The Hawks at that time. They were very influential in taking Dylan "electric" which of course was a very controversial event at the time. Singer/drummer Levon Helm did not participate in Dylan's 1965-1966 world tour for reasons unknown to me. The relationship continued throughout 1966 with Dylan and The Hawks, now named The Band, collaborating in casual sessions at a rented house in Woodstock New York (yes that Woodstock although the actual Woodstock concert was not really held in Woodstock). These sessions eventually would wind up on a Dylan album called The Basement Tapes. The Band also recorded a number of original songs that were released on the album Music From Big Pink and also on side four of The Basement Tapes. A little trivia for you. The album Big Pink received its name from the garish pink color of the Woodstock house.

Big Pink debuted in August of 1968 with songs that contained the eclectic backwoods style of The Band that was to become their trademark. Most of the songs were written by guitarist Robbie Robertson including the enduring classic "The Weight" (which is one of my favorite tunes of all time). The album received both popular and critical acclaim an in my opinion was one of the most influential albums of the late 1960's.

The LP The Band followed in 1969 with more great songs such as The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (you thought Joan Baez wrote it didn't you) and Up on Cripple Creek. This album was arguably their best work with the vocal harmonies being one of the items I appreciate most about the album. Stage Fright followed in 1970 with Cahoots in 1971. Other albums followed in the early 1970's before The Band performed their memorable last concert titled The Last Waltz in 1976, once again at The Winterland Ballroom. An all star cast performed at the concert including Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and of course Bob Dylan. The Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

That is all for this time. As always I welcome your thoughts and comments. Keep on rockin' in the free world.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome article I just got really into the Band a few months ago, but now they're one of my faves.
    I think as the story goes, Levon was unhappy with the fans brutal reaction to Dylan going electric so while they toured Europe he went and lived in the gulf of Mexico finding work on Oil Rigs.