The Band’s Robbie Robertson Dead at 80

The Band’s Robbie Robertson has passed away at 80 years old. Robertson acted as the iconic rockers’ frontman and primary songwriter.

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“Robbie was surrounded by his family at the time of his death, including his wife, Janet, his ex-wife, Dominique, her partner Nicholas, and his children Alexandra, Sebastian, Delphine, and Delphine’s partner Kenny,” Robertson’s longtime manager Jared Levine confirmed to Variety.

“He is also survived by his grandchildren Angelica, Donovan, Dominic, Gabriel and Seraphina,” the statement continued. “Robertson recently completed his fourteenth film music project with frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon.’ In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Six Nations of the Grand River to support a new Woodland Cultural Center.”

[RELATED: Behind the Band Name: The Band]

The Band – Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm – first made their rounds in the music industry as the backing band for many notable musicians. They officially became The Band in 1967 and would disband less than 10 years later. Despite their relatively short tenure, they are considered a deeply influential band within both the Americana and rock scenes.

Roberston and his bandmates first gained recognition for their work with rockabilly icon Ronnie Hawkins and became known as the Hawks. Later, they played for Bob Dylan, notably during the 1965 concert at the Newport Folk Festival where Dylan first went electric. Robertson was also a collaborator on Dylan’s iconic double album, Blonde on Blonde.

The Band’s first album, Music from Big Pink, was shared in 1968 to widespread acclaim. Their self-titled follow-up album generated even more buzz for the group because of its stark differences from other popular music at the time.  

The Band featured songs that evoked images of rural America, from the Civil War to the unionization of farm workers. Several artists made similar moves at the same time including Dylan and The Byrds.

Robertson was the group’s primary songwriter having penned hits like “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and “Up on Cripple Creek.”

The Band called it quits with the 1976 grandiose stage show, and accompanying film, The Last Waltz. The final bow saw many of The Band’s contemporaries and frequent collaborators join them for a historic send-off.

Robertson continued a fruitful career following The Last Waltz. While he never returned to the road for a tour, he did work on solo material and continued to collaborate with many other musicians like Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Tom Morello, and more. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 with The Band.

(Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

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  1. I followed Robbie as a member of The Band straight on to his solo years and I will miss the dream I never gave up on to meet him…Up until the last few months I regularly hit his YouTube videos to make inane comments even though I knew his people might think I was burnt…I have to say his video “Witness” was the absolute best…and of course, “Fallen Angel”…”:
    “Fallen Angel
    Cast your shadow against the sun
    In my mind I could see the spirit of the chosen one…”
    And I can…
    I think “DeadEnd Kid” is one of my favorites because it starts out so hopelessly and ends on a positive note.
    And as to The Band? “Stagefright”…
    RIP and thanks, Robbie.
    Reisa Gerber

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