Levon Helm, 1940-2012

Friday, April 20th, 2012 · 4 Comments »

When The Last Waltz came out in 1978, I thought it was pretty much the coolest thing I’d ever seen. Levon’s voice, Robbie Robertson’s guitar, Rick Danko’s 100% edible goodness. All those fantastic guest artists, the rock royalty of my youth. And it turned out that Martin Scorcese had a bit of a knack behind the camera.

“Up on Cripple Creek”:

“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”:

“The Weight,” with the Staple Singers:

Rolling Stone:

Levon Helm, singer and drummer for the Band, died on April 19th in New York of throat cancer. He was 71.

“He passed away peacefully at 1:30 this afternoon surrounded by his friends and bandmates,” Helm’s longtime guitarist Larry Campbell tells Rolling Stone.

Friends and bandmates? So that lets out Robbie Robertson.

Rest in peace, Levon.

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4 Responses to “Levon Helm, 1940-2012”

  1. tinfoil hattie says:

    A sad day for geezer rock fans like me. As well as spring-chicken rock fans like you, Violet.

    RIP, Levon.

  2. Violet Socks says:

    I’ve been in a melancholy mood for the past day. Lost youth.

  3. Susan says:

    Levon Helm was a wonderful actor, too. He was completely believable as Loretta Lynn’s father in “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.

  4. Violet Socks says:

    I’ve been thinking about how different music culture is for people now, for the generation(s) younger than me.

    I was a child of the 60s, and I grew up on Dylan, The Band, Crosby Stills & Nash, Neil Young, the Beatles, Eric Clapton, the Stones, etc., etc. And all of that was an aural world; the only time you saw pictures of these people was on their album covers. You had to go to a live concert to actually see anybody perform (which, by the way, was why Midnight Special was so thrilling when it started in the 70s). Anyway, as a film-quality presentation of a live music performance, The Last Waltz was remarkably beautiful and exciting and unusual.

    It was also elegiac, because that music was ending. Not only was The Band retiring, but that whole era was ending, the great era of 60s/early 70s music. I remember feeling so frustrated at the time, like “You can’t quit now! You’ve just starred in your own movie! We’ve finally all gotten a good look at you!”