Description of the Band's Music:
The Band Lineup:
Garth Hudson - keyboard, saxophone, trumpet
Richard Manuel - piano, drums, saxophone, vocals
Robbie Robertson - guitar, vocals
Levon Helm - drums, mandolin, guitar, vocals
Recommended CDs by the Band:
Northern Lights - Southern Cross (Capitol, 1975) compare prices
Jericho (Pyramid Records, 1993) compare prices
Purchase/Download the Band MP3s:
"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (from The Band)
"Atlantic City" (from Jericho)
Biography of The Band:
Hudson essentially came in as the band's music teacher. He'd studied music in college and brought to the band a certain higher educational way of thinking, and a more sophisticated approach to the fledgling form of rock and roll. With a new appreciation for their own creativity and a heightened artistry on their instruments, the Band eventually parted ways with Hawkins in 1964, looking for an opportunity to write their own songs and pursue a career as an autonomous unit.
At first, the Band toured as Levon and the Hawks, letting Helm (the original Hawk) take the lead. But, it wasn't until Bob Dylan hired them on for his first electric tour in 1965 that the Band really gained traction. Dylan first hired only Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson, until the two convinced the young folksinger that their allegiance to the rest of the Hawks was not only firm but formidable. Bob Dylan finally caved and invited the rest of the Band on the road. Together, Dylan and the Band toured for about eight months, although his attempts to record with the Band (for Blonde on Blonde) during this time turned out to be fairly unfruitful. Still, Robertson, Hudson, and Danko wound up contributing various parts to the album. Helm had left the band due to dismay over the amount of heckling the received on that winter's tour. After all, this was Dylan's first foray into rock music, a fact which was not well received by many of his ardent folk fans.
Finally, after Dylan's motorcycle accident in Woodstock, NY, the Band gathered with him during his recovery and, together, they recorded The Basement Tapes - an album which has proven to be one of the most iconic of the folk-rock era.
Soon after, they got to work on their own music. Helm had returned to the band, and they holed up in upstate New York to record what would become Songs From Big Pink (named for the pink home in which they lived at the time). This was also the point when the Band took its name - based on the fact they'd been touring with Dylan for some time, and during that run everyone simply referred to them as The Band.
Big Pink was well-received by fans and critics alike, and thus began the Band's "solo" career. They performed at Woodstock and earned praise from the likes of Eric Clapton and Rolling Stone magazine. Eventually, the Band split in 1977 after recording The Last Waltz and then Islands, and Robertson bought all but Helm out of the Band in 2002. NARAS awarded them a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2008. Each of the Band's members have enjoyed rather storied solo careers, as well.