Music

The Band

Formed September 1967. Disbanded December 1999.
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Robbie Robertson on life in The Band and their first album

Robbie Robertson speaks to 6 Music's Matt Everitt about The Band's first album and life as part of the group.

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Biography

The Band was a Canadian-American roots rock group that originally consisted of Rick Danko (bass guitar, double bass, fiddle, trombone, vocals), Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, guitar, vocals), Garth Hudson (keyboard instruments, saxophones, trumpet), Richard Manuel (piano, drums, baritone saxophone, vocals) and Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals). The members of the Band first came together as they joined rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins' backing group The Hawks one by one between 1958 and 1963.

In 1964, they separated from Hawkins, after which they toured and released a few singles as Levon and the Hawks and the Canadian Squires. The next year, Bob Dylan hired them for his U.S. tour in 1965 and world tour in 1966. Following the 1966 tour, the group moved with Dylan to Saugerties, New York, where they made the informal 1967 recordings that became The Basement Tapes, which forged the basis for their 1968 debut album Music from Big Pink. Because they were always "the band" to various frontmen, Helm said the name "The Band" worked well when the group came into its own. The group began performing officially as The Band in 1968, and went on to release ten studio albums. Dylan continued to collaborate with The Band over the course of their career, including a joint 1974 tour.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of A Musical History

    A Musical History 2005

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    It really has to be the last word on the band formerly known as Levon and the Hawks...
  2. Review of The Band

    The Band 1969

    Reviewed by David Sheppard
    The classic combo tasted the American condition by stirring up the soup of its past.
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