Born on May 26, , Levon Helm will be remembered as a country proselytizer, an inventive interpreter, a uniquely emotive drummer — and always, always one of a kind. He appeared as part of a chorus that often performed as if they were brothers. Selecting any individual triumph from their discography eventually became something of a treasure hunt. A trio of late-period Grammys helped to underscore his importance, both inside the Band and across the broader landscape of American roots music. There were no rules. It felt good, and we went with it. As for its origins, this Robbie Robertson construction seems to have jumped off from a similarly named bluegrass folk song, recorded by both Charlie Poole and the Stanley Brothers, among others.
Ophelia — on which he almost single-handedly constructs a Dixieland-jazz wall of sound — is perhaps the greater testament to his musicality and versatility, but personal preference means Chest Fever sneaks on to this list ahead of it. Each member had a primary instrument but would chop and change as the music required; songwriting duties were mostly shared between Robertson and nominal lead vocalist Richard Manuel, but there was no de facto leader; they were adaptive, instinctual, egalitarian; a band — the band — rather than a vehicle for individual talent. I tried to follow that, to go with it and find it musically. We both felt very good about this song.
Music icon Levon Helm would have turned 73 on May The beloved drummer and vocalist for The Band died last April after a prolonged battle with throat cancer, prompting heartfelt tributes from musicians and fans across the globe. We asked artists to chime in on their favorite Levon Helm performance. Read our Top 20 Songs of The Band feature here. They lock into that slow tempo and just drive it home all the way to the end. During my sophomore year of college, it seems we would end every Friday night by putting that on the turntable. It was our last call before we were old enough to go out to the bars. It is of course ironic, though, that a band made up of mostly Canadians came to define a genre called Americana.
Levon Helm, a founding member of the groundbreaking rock and roll group The Band, died Thursday at age 71 after a long battle with throat cancer. Their farewell concert in was immortalized in Martin Scorsese's seminal documentary The Last Waltz. Here, five of Helm's finest performances remembered:. Yet it was Helm's "raw power" that shined the most. He "wears the pain and suffering of ordinary people" who lived in the South during the Civil War; you can see it "from the song's beginning until the final strike of his drum. On percussion, he had "the kind of flesh-and-blood timekeeping" that will likely never be matched. And listening to his lyrics felt like driving "down a dirt road, deep into the woods of American history.