The 5 members of The Band: Rick Danko (bass and vocals), Robbie Robertson (guitar), Levon Helm (drums and vocals), Richard Manuel (Keys and Vocals) and Garth Hudson (Keys) represent the absolute pinnacle of Rock and Roll Music.
Initially coming together as the backing band for howlin’ Ronnie Hawkins in the early 60’s, they called themselves The Hawks. The boys soon graduated to become Bobby Dylan’s backup band during his transition from acoustic to electric – a soul-shaking period in the history of the universe.
At the behest of legendary manager (I lost my harmonica) Albert Grossman, the boys decamped to West Saugerties NY where they lived in a big rambling pink house with shite acoustics. They turned the basement of the house into a recording studio, invited Dylan over (post his mysterious motorcycle accident) and recorded close to 150 songs that became known as The Basement Tapes. To say that these songs are amongst the greatest representations in the history of sound (despite the aforementioned shite acoustics) and emotion would be doing them injustice. They have a tone and quality that simply will never be matched.
After this cataclysm, Dylan headed to Nashville to explore country and roots sounds (Nashville Skyline and John Wesley Harding to begin with), and the boys christened themselves The Band and recorded Music From Big Pink (a Dylan painting became the cover art for this record).
Over the next 8 years, they made some astounding music – never straying from their roots and never messing with the makeup of the quintet’s lineup. Never.
They recruited a young Martin Scorsese to film a star-studded guest-filled concert called The Last Waltz @ The Winterland in SF, and then… well you know the rest….
In 2004, the lackeys at Rolling Stone Magazine named The Band the 50th best Artist of all time, an opinion that foretold the demise of the magazine’s cultural influence. Simply put, they were wrong – very, very wrong.
The Band is the greatest band in the history of Music for the power and purity of what they did – music that will simply last forever and influence generations to come.