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The Band

The Band

Birthdate:   1967
Category: Music

The Band was a Canadian rock group from Toronto, active from 1967 to 1976 and again from 1983 to 1999. The members of The Band first worked together as The Hawks, the backing band of rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins from 1959 until 1963. Afterwards, Bob Dylan recruited the group for his 19651966 world tour. They also joined him on the informal recordings that later became The Basement Tapes. Dubbed "The Band" by their record company (a name derived from how they were referred to during their tenure with Dylan), the group left Woodstock, New York to begin recording in their own material. They recorded two of the most acclaimed albums of the late 1960s; their 1968 debut Music from Big Pink (featuring the single "The Weight" though most people would know it as "Take a Load off Fanny") and 1969's The Band. They broke up in 1976, but reformed in 1983 without founding guitarist and main songwriter Robbie Robertson. Although The Band was always more popular with music journalists and fellow musicians than with the general public, they have remained an admired and influential group. They have been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked them #50 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Their music fused many elements: primarily old country music and early rock and roll, though the rhythm section often had a bouncy, funky punch reminiscent of Stax or Motown, and Robertson cites Curtis Mayfield and the Staple Singers as major influences, resulting in a synthesis of many musical genres. As to the group's songwriting, very few of their early compositions were based on conventional blues and doo-wop chord changes. The Band comprised Robbie Robertson (guitar); Richard Manuel (piano, harmonica, drums, saxophone); Garth Hudson (organ, piano, clavinet, accordion, synthesizer, saxophone); Rick Danko (bass guitar, violin, trombone); and Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, guitar, bass guitar). With the exception of Robertson, every other member was a multi-instrumentalist; each person's primary instrument is listed first. There was little instrument-switching when they played live, but when recording, the musicians could make up different configurations in service of the songs. Hudson in particular was able to coax a wide range of timbres from his Lowrey electronic organ; on the choruses of "Tears of Rage", for example, it sounds like a mellotron. Helm's drumming was often praised for its subtlety and funkiness. Critic Jon Carroll famously declared that Helm was "the only drummer who can make you cry," while prolific session drummer Jim Keltner admits to appropriating several of Helm's techniques. Singers Manuel, Danko, and Helm each brought a distinctive voice to The Band: Helm's gritty, southern voice had more than a hint of country, Danko sang in a soaring, unfettered tenor, and Manuel alternated between fragile falsetto and a wounded baritone. The singers regularly blended in unorthodox harmonies. Though the singing was more or less evenly shared between the three men, both Danko and Helm have stated that they saw Manuel as the Band's "lead" singer. Robertson was the unit's chief songwriter (he sang lead vocals on only two studio songs released by The Band: To Kingdom Come and Knockin' Lost John). This role, and Robertson's resulting claim to the copyright of most of the compositions, would become a point of much antipathy between the group's members, especially between Robertson and Helm. Producer John Simon is cited as a "sixth member" of The Band for producing and playing on Music from Big Pink, co-producing and playing on The Band, and playing on other songs up through The Band's 1993 reunion album Jericho. Share on Facebook

Posted by: hockeyguy3399      Last updated: 24-03-2007      Hits: 10882