The Band performs "Acadian Driftwood (The Last Waltz)," live from Night At The Palladium 1976. From You Tube.
The Band's popularity grew through subsequent LPs, although a series of singles also met with some success: 'The Weight' (1968), 'Up on Cripple Creek' (1969), 'Rag Mama Rag' (1970), 'The Shape I'm In' and 'Life Is a Carnival' (1971), 'Don't Do It' (1972), and 'Ain't Got No Home' (1973). Other songs associated with The Band include 'We Can Talk About It Now,' 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' (of which a version by Joan Baez was a hit single in 1971), 'Stage Fright,' and 'Chest Fever'. In 1974, The Band and Bob Dylan released the live album, Before the Flood, which was culled from their 40-show tour.
Based in Woodstock until 1974 and thereafter in Los Angeles, The Band performed throughout North America and in Europe and appeared at some of the largest rock festivals of the day, including Woodstock, NY (1969), the Isle of Wight (1970), and Watkins Glen, NY (1973). In Canada they performed at the Toronto Pop Festival (Varsity Stadium 1969), on two cross-country tours in 1970, at the 1976 CNE, and in several concerts with Dylan. The Band gave its final concert ('The Last Waltz') 25 Nov 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom with Hawkins, Dylan, and many other rock stars, including Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. (A movie and a recording of the concert were released in 1978.)
Perhaps as a result of its association with Hawkins and Dylan, The Band had essentially a US identity - one in fact stronger than many US groups cultivated - to the extent that the group was the subject of a chapter in Mystery Train ('Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll') by the US critic Greil Marcus. (At the same time, some of The Band's songs, including 'We Can Talk about It Now' and 'Acadian Driftwood,' reflected the experience of the Canadian expatriate.) It drew on many US popular-music genres creating 'a unique, consistent style - high wailing voices, odd chugging rhythms... unusual instrumentation and unpredictable harmonies that had neither the prettiness nor the shrill sound most groups sought when they put their voices together' (Charlie Gillet The Sound of the City, New York 1972). All members sang - Danko, Helm, and Manuel were The Band's individual voices - and each played several instruments, giving The Band a saxophonist (Hudson), a fiddler (Danko), two drummers (Helm, Manuel), and various guitarists, all employed under Robertson's direction with a deliberate sense of understatement that was antithetical to the excesses in rock music of the day.
The Band released Islands in 1977, and following 'The Last Waltz,' Helm and Danko began in 1978 to tour with their own groups and various Band members continued to collaborate on each others' projects. The Band itself, without Robertson, was reunited for concerts in 1983 and more tours followed. Manuel committed suicide in 1986 during one of the tours, and Robertson joined the others for a memorial concert in New York. On the occasion of The Band's induction into the Juno Hall of Fame in 1989, Robertson, Danko and Hudson performed at the awards ceremony with Blue Rodeo. That same year The Band was also inducted into the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) Hall of Fame. In 1994 The Band was inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Although the revived group did not record during the 1980s, it sustained a moderate degree of popularity. Its place in the stellar international cast of Roger Waters' production 21 Jul 1990 of The Wall in Berlin, before a TV audience estimated at one billion, was evidence of the continuing esteem in which The Band was held.
After Danko's death in 1999 the group disbanded and the remaining members pursued solo careers. The Festival Express (DVD), was released in 2003; it recorded the events and concerts of the 1970 train tour across Canada that featured The Band, the Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin; during the national tour the documentary was filmed in Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary.
At the 2008 Grammy Awards, The Band was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award from the US National Recording Academy.
The Band. 1969. Capitol Records STAO-132
Stage Fright. 1970. Capitol Records SW-425
Cahoots. 1971. Capitol Records SMAS-651
Rock of Ages. 1971-2. 2-Capitol Records SAB-11045
Moondog Matinee. 1973. Capitol Records SW-11214
Planet Waves (with Bob Dylan). 1974. Asylum Records
Before the Flood (with Bob Dylan). 1974. Asylum Records
The Basement Tapes. 1975. Columbia Records
Northern Lights, Southern Cross. 1975. Capitol Records ST-11440
The Best of the Band. (Compilation) 1976. Capitol Records ST-11553
Islands. 1977. Capitol Records SW-11602
The Last Waltz. 1976 1978. 3-Warner 3WS-3146P
The Band: Anthology Volume I. 1978. (Compilation) Capitol Records
To Kingdom Come: The Definitive Collection. 1990. 2-Cap C2-92169 (CD)
Jericho. 1993. Rhino Records (Warner Music Group)
Across the Great Divide. (Compilation) 1994. Capitol Records
Live at Watkins Glen. (Compilation) 1995. Capitol Records
High on the Hog. 1996. Rhino Records
Jubilation. 1998. River North Records
The Best of the Band, Vol. II. (Compilation) 1999. Rhino Records
The Band's Greatest Hits. (Compilation) 2000. Capitol Records
The Last Waltz. 2002. Rhino Records
A Musical History. (Compilation) 2005. Capitol Records
The Band is heard with Bob Dylan on The Basement Tapes 1967, 2-Col C2-33682), Self-Portrait (1969, Col C2X-30050), Planet Waves (1973, Asylum 1003), Before the Flood (1974, Asylum 201), The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert (1998).
See also Discography for Ronnie Hawkins.
Danko Rick Danko. 1977. Arista AB-4141
Helm Levon Helm and the RCO All Stars. (1977). ABC 9022-1017
- American Son. (1978). MCA 5120
- Levon Helm. 1981. Capitol Records ST-12201
Helm also appeard on The Legend of Jesse James., A&M SP-3718
Gladstone, H. 'Robbie Robertson,' Rolling Stone, 48, 13 Dec 1969
Bender, William. 'Down to Dixie and back,' Time, 12 Jan 1970
Marcus, Greil. 'The Band: pilgrim's progress,' Mystery Train (New York 1976)
Ward, Ed. 'The Band,' The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll (New York 1976)
Hawkins, Ronnie & Goddard, Peter. Ronnie Hawkins: Last of the Good Ol' Boys (Toronto 1989)
Hoskyns, Barney. Across the Great Divide: The Band and America (London 1993)
Flanagan, B. 'Rick Danko on the Band,' Musician, vol 182, Dec 1993
McGee, D. et al. 'The Rolling Stone 200: The Band,' Rolling Stone, vol 760, 15 May 1997
Spencer, S. 'Levon Helm's next waltz,' Rolling Stone, vol 839, 27 Apr 2000
Helm, Levon. This Wheel's On Fire, 2nd ed. (London 2000)
Johnson, Brian D. 'The wizard: a quarter century after The Last Waltz, Garth Hudson, The Band's reclusive keyboard genius, is still rolling back the frontiers of music,' Maclean's, 22 Jul 2002
Bowman, Rob. CD liner notes for To Kingdom Come: The Definitive Collection 2-Capitol Records C2-92169
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Music Hall of Fame
The website for the Canadian Music Hall of Fame from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS).
Canada's Walk of Fame
Check out the celebrity profiles at the Canada’s Walk of Fame website.
A biography of acclaimed guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson from the MapleMusic website.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...