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View Full Version : Why does Levon Helm hate Robbie Robertson


constantine
11-16-2005, 02:16 AM
Just saw the Last Waltz.

Of course I'd heard some of the Band's songs before but after seeing this movie (several times now) I'm just blown away.

So, as I start to read more about them on the web, I learn that Levon Helm despises Robbie Robertson. (Based on second hand accounts of "This Wheel's on Fire".)

In the interviews I've read with Robertson, he seems pretty cool. It seems like Helm's big gripe is that Robertson made so much in royalties from being credited as the writer of the songs. Is there more to it?

Zoe
11-16-2005, 04:33 AM
Do you have a link?

The Last Waltz is a favorite of mine.

plnnr
11-16-2005, 08:19 AM
The Last Waltz is also a favorite of mine.

I don't know the answer to the question (I suspect royalites have a big part to play), but I do know that the last time I saw Levon Helm on TV he looked really terrible.

Richard Manuel, Rick Danko...let's hope Levon Helm holds on.

RealityChuck
11-16-2005, 08:26 AM
There was friction within the group because Robertson was the only one getting songwriting royalties. I hadn't heard that Helm destested Robertson, though.

The Last Waltz is a great film, and the Band is one of the great forgotten groups in rock. People forget that at their height they were considered up with the Beatles, the Stones, the Dead, the Doors, and many other rock legends. But they had no hit singles and classic rock stations have generally ignored them.

Ukulele Ike
11-16-2005, 09:33 AM
Really? "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and "Up on Cripple Creek" don't count as hits?

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
11-16-2005, 10:16 AM
Really? "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and "Up on Cripple Creek" don't count as hits?
"The Night..." was a hit for Joan Baez, not for the Band. "Up on Cripple Creek," though I personally remember it as a heavy airplay item back in the day, was only a minor hit, reaching #25 on the singles chart.

RealityChuck
11-16-2005, 10:20 AM
"Up on Cripple Creek" got to #25 on the Billboard Charts. It was their most successful single.

Their version of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" never charted. (Joan Baez's version did get to #3.)

So, no. They didn't have any hits. A single song just barely making the top 25 hardly qualifies, and they are criminally overlooked by "Classic Rock" stations, who tend to stick with groups that had successful singles (the the exception of Traffic).

They were primarily an album group: The Band reached #9 and Cahoot hit #5.

Nonsuch
11-16-2005, 10:24 AM
The Last Waltz is a great film, and the Band is one of the great forgotten groups in rock. People forget that at their height they were considered up with the Beatles, the Stones, the Dead, the Doors, and many other rock legends. But they had no hit singles and classic rock stations have generally ignored them.
Except for "The Weight." Ad nauseum.

astro
11-16-2005, 10:42 AM
Rolling Stone interview from 1969 is interesting - The Robbie Robertson Interview (http://theband.hiof.no/articles/rr_intreview_rs1969.html)

Wartime Consigliori
11-16-2005, 11:07 AM
I don't know the answer to the question (I suspect royalites have a big part to play), but I do know that the last time I saw Levon Helm on TV he looked really terrible.

Levon came down with a nasty case of throat cancer a few years back. He can't sing anymore, but can speak well enough to give interviews. He still plays gigs, doing the drumming while his daughter, Amy, handles the singing chores.

Albert Rose
11-16-2005, 11:40 AM
Great interview there. My favorite quote: I came very late, and just heard Yoko Ono's music, or screaming, or whatever you want to call it, and saw the Doors, who were a drag. They haven't done anything new or gone anywhere in a long time.

Sam Stone
11-17-2005, 12:18 AM
I think the beef with Robbie Robertson is that various members of the Band believed they made legitimate contributions to some of the songs that Robertson claimed for himself.

I think it would go something like this: Robbie would come in with a piece of a song, or melody, or whatever. He'd say "Guys, I'm working on a new song, and this is what I've got. What do you think?" And then they'd all sit around and talk about it, and maybe come up with a lyric or a melody change or whatevre. Finally, Robbie would go away, write up the song, and take full credit.

To be fair, I think Robbie was definitely the genius behind The Band, and deserves the lion's share of the credit. But whether he should get 100% of it, I don't know. But that's where the conflict is.

Also, having seen The Last Waltz a couple of times, Robbie's demeanor sure is off-putting. He comes across as very arrogant at times and almost condescending. It may just be that he's a jerk. I know almost nothing about him personally, so I don't know if that's the case.

Eonwe
11-17-2005, 02:06 AM
"The Night..." was a hit for Joan Baez, not for the Band.

And if that isn't tragic, I don't know what is. Baez's version has always felt unemotional and forced, while the Band's gets it just right.

Cliffy
11-17-2005, 10:30 AM
I haven't seen The Lasst Waltz in a long time, but I recently rediscovered my copy of their Greatest Hits CD and it's been on heavy rotation on my iPod.

My dad and I did catch a bit of the film a few months ago; his favorite scene, where Van Morrison is getting himself psyched higher and higher and then busts an o-ring or something, because he immediately walks off stage, never to return.

--Cliffy

RealityChuck
11-17-2005, 11:35 AM
And if that isn't tragic, I don't know what is. Baez's version has always felt unemotional and forced, while the Band's gets it just right.Agreed. And she made some really pointless changes in the lyrics that also weakened the song ("so much cavalry"? :dubious: ), as though she hadn't actually seen them.

plnnr
11-17-2005, 12:17 PM
I haven't seen The Lasst Waltz in a long time, but I recently rediscovered my copy of their Greatest Hits CD and it's been on heavy rotation on my iPod.

My dad and I did catch a bit of the film a few months ago; his favorite scene, where Van Morrison is getting himself psyched higher and higher and then busts an o-ring or something, because he immediately walks off stage, never to return.

--Cliffy

Van does get pretty animated - he even manages a high leg kick or two.

I think my favorite "guest" is Joni Mitchell. That version of "Coyote" is terrific. I could do without Neil Diamond.

sqweels
11-17-2005, 12:37 PM
The amazing thing about The Last Walz is that nearly all the classic rockers that I don't like are together in one room.

Scumpup
11-17-2005, 12:41 PM
Rolling Stone interview from 1969 is interesting - The Robbie Robertson Interview (http://theband.hiof.no/articles/rr_intreview_rs1969.html)

My knowledge of The Band is pretty minimal. I have recordings of a couple of their songs and I saw "The Last Waltz." Based on this interview, though, it would be hard to come to any other conclusion than Robbie Robertson is an arrogant prick.

Loach
11-17-2005, 01:19 PM
The Last Waltz was The Band saying that life on the road sucks and they wanted no part of it. It was their last concert and a way of saying goodbye to that part of their lives and thanks to all of those they worked with. Robbie Robertson really meant it, the rest of them not so much. I think there was a lot of resentment that he never wanted to play with them again or go on the road after they got back together. I saw them open for CSN with all the original members except for Robertson. They were great. Soon after that Rich Manuel hanged himself. Robertson claimed to have the flu and did not go to the funeral.

Robbie Robertson did not stop making music, he just doesn't tour. He put out one of my favorite records of all time (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000000OQL/qid=1132250887/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-6503629-9270553?v=glance&s=music&n=507846) many years ago. You may have heard Rod Stewarts shitty version of Broken Arrow. The album also features U2 as a backup band with Bono as a backup singer (on a couple of tracks).

Kalhoun
11-17-2005, 02:43 PM
I read the interview. He's a pud. Yeah, he's entitled to his opinion and all, but he certainly doesn't sound like anyone I'd like to spend time interviewing.

Just goes to show you...sometimes it's just better to listen to the music and leave it at that.

Godfrey Daniels
11-17-2005, 03:11 PM
You'd write him off because of one interview 36 years ago? Or have there been subsequent episodes where he's lacked the proper humility? He hasn't done much in recent years to impress me, but he was a driving force behind the success of The Band, in my mind one of the greatest groups of all time.

Kalhoun
11-17-2005, 03:16 PM
You'd write him off because of one interview 36 years ago? Or have there been subsequent episodes where he's lacked the proper humility? He hasn't done much in recent years to impress me, but he was a driving force behind the success of The Band, in my mind one of the greatest groups of all time.
Dude...read what I wrote. I think the music is great. I think he's a dick.

Godfrey Daniels
11-17-2005, 03:26 PM
If you think he's a dick because of a 36 year old interview, it's possible that you might be making a hasty conclusion. But whatever..

mamboman
11-17-2005, 03:26 PM
Also, having seen The Last Waltz a couple of times, Robbie's demeanor sure is off-putting. He comes across as very arrogant at times and almost condescending. It may just be that he's a jerk. I know almost nothing about him personally, so I don't know if that's the case.

Did Roberston have to undergo some form of hypnosis before gigs to overcome his stage fright? Or is that just a rock n roll legend? Maybe that would explain his weird demeanour?

Also onthe subject of The Last Waltz and rock n roll legend, is it true that when Neil Diamond came off stage he said to Bob Dylan "Man, you're gonna have to go some to follow me tonight" (or words to that effect) and Bob replied "What am I gonna do - go out there and fall alseep?" (or words to that effect) Even if it isn;t true, it's pretty funny!

And IMO I don't think Neil Young ever sang prettier than he did at The Last Waltz.

mm

Voyager
11-17-2005, 04:01 PM
Agreed. And she made some really pointless changes in the lyrics that also weakened the song ("so much cavalry"? :dubious: ), as though she hadn't actually seen them.
My gripe also. :)

I don't think considering how high their singles got is a measure of their importance. They were on the cover of Time, after all!

I got to see them live at Tufts about the time Stage Fright came out. They were a fantastic live band, and I loved their version of "Don't Do It." which I had a bootleg of too. Take a listen to the Basement Tapes CD - not only do they back Dylan, they have some good stuff of their own.

RealityChuck
11-17-2005, 04:05 PM
My gripe also. :)

I don't think considering how high their singles got is a measure of their importance. They were on the cover of Time, after all! It isn't a measure of their importance: they were once of the top groups of their time, and their music hasn't dated a bit. However, because they didn't have any hit singles, their songs are not played on today's Classic Rock radio (which concentrates on singles). Thus, people don't get exposed to them and they are nowhere near as well known as they should be.

Baal Houtham
11-17-2005, 04:48 PM
I read Helmís book two years ago, and tried to figure out why he seemed so pissed at Robertson. Like Sam Stone wrote, a lot of the resentment was about writing credit (and money).

My memory is not perfect, and Helmís was not a model of cogency, these are some of the issues the book touches on:

1. The members all made important contributions to all the songs and didnít really understand the financial implications of Robertson receiving most of the writing credit.

2.The record company wanted the band to have a more visible front man, and encouraged Robertson to be THE songwriter. (While record companies do like to develop ďstarsĒ, especially females, I didnít think Helm offered much evidence of pressure from above.)

3. Helm and the other band memberís later sold the rights to the songs that they had co-written to Robertson. This was after Helm understood the importance of writing credit, but contends that he was pressured to do so by the groupís manager and the record label because they wanted to simplify royalty payment.

In the book he seemed to have mixed emotions toward the Bandís manager (Albert Grossman?) and sometimes portrayed him as an ally, and also as conspiring with Robertson to screw the rest of the group.

4. And as Loach said, the members other than Robertson didnít really want to retire after ďThe Last WaltzĒ. When the money starting getting tight, they resented Robbie's refusal to do reunions.

Overall, I felt that Helm didn't come up with any strong reasons for his strong resentment. Robertson came away with most of the money, but it seemed that the other members could have had their own writing credits if they had tried as hard --and written as well-- as Robbie.

Revtim
11-17-2005, 05:06 PM
Robbie Robertson did not stop making music, he just doesn't tour. He put out one of my favorite records of all time (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000000OQL/qid=1132250887/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-6503629-9270553?v=glance&s=music&n=507846) many years ago. You may have heard Rod Stewarts shitty version of Broken Arrow. The album also features U2 as a backup band with Bono as a backup singer (on a couple of tracks).I'm not a big Robbie Robertson fan, but Showdown At Big Sky is one of my favorite songs of all time.

Sam Stone
11-17-2005, 08:10 PM
Btw, if you've seen the great movie The Right Stuff, that's Levon Helm playing the part of Ripley. And he did a fine job of it, too.

BobLibDem
11-17-2005, 08:21 PM
"The Night..." was a hit for Joan Baez, not for the Band. "Up on Cripple Creek," though I personally remember it as a heavy airplay item back in the day, was only a minor hit, reaching #25 on the singles chart.

Why Baez had more commercial success with that song, in which she successfully removed every trace of depth and soul, is one of life's great mysteries. The Last Waltz version of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down is a masterpiece. Definitely Van the Man was the guest with the best performance, though he appeared stoned out of his gourd. Emmylou Harris was a treat as was the surreal treatment of her studio number Evangeline. Scorsese deserved a lot of credit for the work that went into this film, done well before videos and MTV were heard of.

I never heard of the Helm-Robertson feud. Helm's gritty voice was my personal favorite of the bunch. Robbie's one of the underrated geniuses of the era- how unfair that an artist of his ability just can't sing worth a hoot.

bmoak
11-17-2005, 11:28 PM
I think the beef with Robbie Robertson is that various members of the Band believed they made legitimate contributions to some of the songs that Robertson claimed for himself.

I think it would go something like this: Robbie would come in with a piece of a song, or melody, or whatever. He'd say "Guys, I'm working on a new song, and this is what I've got. What do you think?" And then they'd all sit around and talk about it, and maybe come up with a lyric or a melody change or whatevre. Finally, Robbie would go away, write up the song, and take full credit.

Lyrically, Robbie's songs were Robbie's songs. Richard Manuel was the only other serious songwriter in the group (although everyone got a little songwriting action in the first two albums), and he had real trouble with lyrics. The arguments mostly occur over the credits for the music and whether they should be shared. The Band was VERY collobarative, especially in the early years in Woodstock, and would often spend hours together working out the arrangements for a song. For example, Robbie wrote "Rag, Mama, Rag" as a straightforward rock number, but it didn't work until the other guys changed the tempo, and switched instruments, transposing Robbie's guitar lead to Rick Dankos's fiddle and having Garth Hudson play syncopated ragtime style on an old upright piano (among other changes)

Also, having seen The Last Waltz a couple of times, Robbie's demeanor sure is off-putting. He comes across as very arrogant at times and almost condescending. It may just be that he's a jerk. I know almost nothing about him personally, so I don't know if that's the case.

Robbie sure did mug for the cameras and play up to Scorsese, didn't he? Robbie was somewhat alienated from his bandmates by that time (notice how often he seems to be standing apart from them), and was stressing from trying to put together the concert and the movie (the other guys weren't that interested, especially in the movie side of things, ad were rather ambivalent about the whole idea of The Last Waltz).

Outside of Levon Helms' book (which I haven't read) , the book on the Band is Barney Hoskyn's Across the Great Divide: The Band and America. Robbie Robertson was very driven. Without him, the Band would probably have never broken out of the bar band circuit. But he also had a very cold calculating side. For example, he didn't want Ronnie Hawkins to be at the Last Waltz, thinking his former mentor was too small time to be on that stage with him.

bmoak
11-18-2005, 06:11 PM
My highlights from The Last Waltz:

Van Morrison high-kicking his stumpy little legs thorugh the closing to "Caravan"
Paul Butterfield and Levon storming through "Mystery Train"
Muddy Waters nearly giving himself a heart attack grinding out "Mannish Boy"
The Staples Singers and the Band combining to creat multipart harmony in the last verse of "The Weight"
Robbie picking up Clapton's solo in "Further Along Up the Road" after Clapton's strap broke
Ronnie Hawkins, big time at last, hamming it up in front of his former sidemen.
Levon, Rick, and Robbie yodelling through "Up on Cripple Creek"
Garth's greasy sax solo in "It Makes No Difference"
Levon singing the immortal lines 'Vrigil Caine is the name, and I worked on the Danville Train." for what was presumable the last time.

Robot Arm
11-18-2005, 06:59 PM
Btw, if you've seen the great movie The Right Stuff, that's Levon Helm playing the part of Ripley. And he did a fine job of it, too.Ridley, Yeager's flight engineer; he of the broomhandle and Beeman's. I don't know The Band's music very well, but I'm willing to cut Levon Helm a lot of slack for being in the best damn movie ever made.

vl_mungo
11-18-2005, 07:17 PM
<snip> the last time I saw Levon Helm on TV he looked really terrible.

Richard Manuel, Rick Danko...let's hope Levon Helm holds on.

Mr. Helm appeared recently in a fine movie, The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0408993). He looked and sounded about a million years old, but he was still very entertaining.

Sam Stone
11-18-2005, 08:35 PM
Ridley, Yeager's flight engineer; he of the broomhandle and Beeman's. I don't know The Band's music very well, but I'm willing to cut Levon Helm a lot of slack for being in the best damn movie ever made.

Right. Jack Ridley. The movie depiction of Ridley was a little wrong. The real Ridley was killed in an aircraft accident in 1957, but he was shown helping Yeager prep for the NF-104, which Yeager crashed. The NF-104 wasn't delivered until 1963, and that's the year of the accident.

Great movie. One of my favorites, but with some flaws. Like the mystical 'fireflies' with the aborigines.

What the .... ?!?!
11-19-2005, 10:21 AM
Levon came down with a nasty case of throat cancer a few years back. He can't sing anymore, but can speak well enough to give interviews. He still plays gigs, doing the drumming while his daughter, Amy, handles the singing chores.

I thought he did some singing when I last saw him on Imus sometime this past summer.

Rilchiam
11-29-2005, 06:16 AM
And IMO I don't think Neil Young ever sang prettier than he did at The Last Waltz.


Maybe not, but he sure couldn't play his guitar! He'd done a couple of lines before going onstage, and claimed later, "I was fried...I barely knew where I was." You can see Robertson and Danko exchange a glance and then move closer to their mikes, apparently realizing that it's up to them to make up the difference for Young, who, while still making chords with one hand, is unable to hit the strings with the other. He did sing well, though; I'll give him that.

China Guy
11-29-2005, 07:04 AM
I haven't seen the Last Waltz since it was in the theaters :eek: also had a college buddy that was at the Last Waltz.

I just popped in to say that legendary bluesman (for those that don't know who he was) Muddy Waters sang beautifully in the film. Caldonea and Mannish Boy.

Dr. Rieux
11-29-2005, 11:30 AM
Mr. Helm appeared recently in a fine movie, The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0408993). He looked and sounded about a million years old, but he was still very entertaining.
Levon also played the coal miner in Coal Miner's Daughter.

Raph
08-02-2011, 02:34 AM
I've just been reading down the list of comments - some interesting stuff here.

Levon Helm also played Lorreta Lynn's father in the excellent film Coal Miner's Daughter, with Sissy Spacek as Lynn - it was made in the late 1970s.

I became an instant fan of The Band when I was 17 - watching Easy Rider on late nigth TV, first time I'd ever seen it. I watched it again recently and my favourite scene is still the one where they're riding across the desert (Monument Valley, Colorado?) at dusk with 'The Weight' playing on the soundtrack. Is there a better image of total freedom in any film? I can't think of one - that song just encapsulates it all.

I bought their greatest hits on CD 20 years ago but for some reason it just didn't quite grab me. Then a few months back I saw The Last Waltz DVD for sale for $10 and thought 'what the hell...'
I put it on after a few drinks one night, with my headphones on - and in 20 minutes I realised all that I'd heard about it was true - the best damned rock'n'roll movie ever made! I became an instant fan, have watched it 10 times since and am now a huge fan again after they dropped off my radar for a long time.

What a great bunch of guys, and the esteem in which they were held is in evidence with all the incredible guest stars. Van the man is my favourite - but I also love Dr John's performance, and Neil Young, Eric Clapton and more.

Yeah Robbie comes across as a bit of a tosser, but he was good mates with Scorsese long before the film was made. But you do get the impression Robbie treats the band as if they're his band. It's a shame about he and Levon falling out - but that sort of shit will happen in a band that's been together as long as those guys "16 years on the road!"
Focus on the legacy - some of the best damned music of the entire 20th century - the very best of Americana - and I'm an Australian...

The Tooth
08-02-2011, 02:44 AM
Is it Americana if most of the members weren't American?

Bridget Burke
08-02-2011, 08:06 AM
Last time I checked, Canada was in North America.

Le Ministre de l'au-delŗ
08-02-2011, 09:57 AM
Last time I checked, Canada was in North America.

Yes, but we're not American. If you're speaking about people connected with the USA, 'American' has become the default term. If you're speaking about things connected with Canada, you need to say 'Canadian'.

Peremensoe
08-02-2011, 01:50 PM
Is it Americana if most of the members weren't American?

Yes. And it has nothing to do with them being Canadian, either. "Americana" here refers to musical characteristics.

WordMan
08-02-2011, 01:55 PM
Yes. And it has nothing to do with them being Canadian, either. "Americana" here refers to musical characteristics.

Heck the current UK band Mumford & Sons is Americana....

purplehorseshoe
08-02-2011, 02:13 PM
My highlights from The Last Waltz:

Van Morrison high-kicking his stumpy little legs thorugh the closing to "Caravan"
Paul Butterfield and Levon storming through "Mystery Train"
Muddy Waters nearly giving himself a heart attack grinding out "Mannish Boy"
The Staples Singers and the Band combining to creat multipart harmony in the last verse of "The Weight"
Robbie picking up Clapton's solo in "Further Along Up the Road" after Clapton's strap broke
Ronnie Hawkins, big time at last, hamming it up in front of his former sidemen.
Levon, Rick, and Robbie yodelling through "Up on Cripple Creek"
Garth's greasy sax solo in "It Makes No Difference"
Levon singing the immortal lines 'Vrigil Caine is the name, and I worked on the Danville Train." for what was presumable the last time.

Ah, what the heck, as long as this has been resurrected, here's something I've wondered idly but not enough to start a separate thread:

Is it just me, or does Baez look incredibly uncomfortable standing next to Neil Young onstage? He seems to be leering at her, and she seems to be edging away, but again, maybe it's just me - Neil Young, musical talent aside, looks .. scary.

The Tooth
08-02-2011, 02:52 PM
Ah, what the heck, as long as this has been resurrected, here's something I've wondered idly but not enough to start a separate thread:

Is it just me, or does Baez look incredibly uncomfortable standing next to Neil Young onstage? He seems to be leering at her, and she seems to be edging away, but again, maybe it's just me - Neil Young, musical talent aside, looks .. scary.

Scarily drunk, yeah. Doesn't he blow the intro to "Helpless" and have to start over?

Bridget Burke
08-02-2011, 04:31 PM
Yes. And it has nothing to do with them being Canadian, either. "Americana" here refers to musical characteristics.

Yes. "Americana" is a musical genre, not a nationalistic label. With their eponymous album, The Band practically defined the genre. It struck many of us like a bolt of lightning.

The next year, the Grateful Dead's Workingman's Dead & American Beauty continued in the vein of Something New that sounded like Something Really Old. (Some of the folk rockers & country rockers had been mining the same rich vein. Things aren't simple. Labels aren't that important. Borders suck.)

MPB in Salt Lake
08-02-2011, 04:43 PM
Levon Helm is one of the most beloved, well respected American musicians alive today, while Robbie Robertson is a self-absorbed, preening peacock who doesn't have one true friend left in this world, due to his ego and narcissistic personality....

Steophan
08-02-2011, 04:49 PM
Ah, what the heck, as long as this has been resurrected, here's something I've wondered idly but not enough to start a separate thread:

Is it just me, or does Baez look incredibly uncomfortable standing next to Neil Young onstage? He seems to be leering at her, and she seems to be edging away, but again, maybe it's just me - Neil Young, musical talent aside, looks .. scary.

I remember reading that Neil Young was coked up to his eyeballs at this gig, and that they had to rotoscope obvious powder from his nose in the film. No idea how true this is, but he certainly looks like he's on cocaine.

ETA Wiki agrees with me (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Waltz#Drug_use), for what it's worth.

Ogre
08-02-2011, 05:06 PM
I've had this performance on repeat recently.

Levon Helm performs "Ophelia" at Ryman Auditorium in 2009. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcgxuGiI7wU)

He still rocks. :) I just try to ignore the intro by Billy Bob Thornton.

Jim's Son
08-03-2011, 08:31 AM
Do ANY of these 1960s rock groups ever have members that get along? The Four Tops were together for 44 years before members started dying off but look at the ones with infighting. Beatles, Cream, The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Temptations, Supremes, Jefferson Airplane, Allman Brothers, Kinks. The Rolling Stones survive with some members leaving but Keef and Mick were sniping in the 1980s. Pink Floyd blew up after years of being anonymous.

Bridget Burke
08-03-2011, 08:39 AM
I remember reading that Neil Young was coked up to his eyeballs at this gig, and that they had to rotoscope obvious powder from his nose in the film. No idea how true this is, but he certainly looks like he's on cocaine.....

Weren't they all?

Le Ministre de l'au-delŗ
09-01-2011, 04:12 PM
This month's Acoustic Guitar has an interesting interview and article (http://www.acguitar.com/article/default.aspx?articleid=26890) about Robbie Richardson.

digs
09-01-2011, 05:27 PM
Do ANY of these 1960s rock groups ever have members that get along?...

Yeah, I wish I played well enough to have Levon Helm or Roger Waters mad at me...

MPB in Salt Lake
09-01-2011, 05:43 PM
I've had this performance on repeat recently.

Levon Helm performs "Ophelia" at Ryman Auditorium in 2009. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcgxuGiI7wU)

He still rocks. :) I just try to ignore the intro by Billy Bob Thornton.

I am flying out to Boston to hear Levon perform in a couple of weeks, and I absolutely can't wait; The last time (in fact the only other time) I have seen him play live before was way back in 1994, with The Band, at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, so after all these years, and with all the personal and professional travails Levon has faced recently, to be able to witness his triumphant artistic Renaissance should be truly momentous.

"Take a load off, Annie..."

waits
09-03-2011, 12:22 AM
There's a great (probably apocryphal) story about the Canadian premiere of The Last Waltz. At the end of the movie, invited guest Ronnie Hawkins stands up and drawls, "Well, that was pretty good. The only thing that movie needs is a couple more close-ups of Robbie."

cjepson
09-06-2011, 01:24 PM
There's a great (probably apocryphal) story about the Canadian premiere of The Last Waltz. At the end of the movie, invited guest Ronnie Hawkins stands up and drawls, "Well, that was pretty good. The only thing that movie needs is a couple more close-ups of Robbie."

Levon Helm himself says, in his book, that that's what Ronnie said to him after the two of them saw the movie.

glovemonkey
01-06-2013, 08:54 AM
"Up on Cripple Creek" got to #25 on the Billboard Charts. It was their most successful single.

Their version of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" never charted. (Joan Baez's version did get to #3.)

So, no. They didn't have any hits. A single song just barely making the top 25 hardly qualifies, and they are criminally overlooked by "Classic Rock" stations, who tend to stick with groups that had successful singles (the the exception of Traffic).

They were primarily an album group: The Band reached #9 and Cahoot hit #5.

Dont forget "before the flood" although released as a Dylan album the band did more than back hisbobness and the album had great commercial sucsess

glovemonkey
01-06-2013, 09:04 AM
Levon Helm himself says, in his book, that that's what Ronnie said to him after the two of them saw the movie.

Yup 20 minutes of Robbie singing into a switched off mic nearly ruined it for me!!
Best bits for me - the Weight, first time ive seen the staples and nearly shat myself they were so good.
Danko on bass the entire movie his energy was just electric
Up on cripple creek 3 words - LEVON FUcKING HELM!!!!!

Missed - Richard singing i shall be released

Anyway the band were and are amazing music from the big pink has been in my cd changer for 4 years!!

Normrn
12-17-2017, 07:08 PM
"The Night..." was a hit for Joan Baez, not for the Band. "Up on Cripple Creek," though I personally remember it as a heavy airplay item back in the day, was only a minor hit, reaching #25 on the singles chart.

Was written by Levon Helm and done by the band yeas before Joan Baez did that song. Levon Helm owned the Woodstock property. Robbie Robertson is a piece of shit from Canada that would not have the knowledge of such a song nor Cripple Creek, a place close to Elaine Arkansas where Lavon, Levonís given ame, grew up.

silenus
12-17-2017, 07:56 PM
Thank you so much for your insightful contribution replying to a post made 12 years ago in a thread that has been dead for 5 years. That's the sort of thing that makes this place the happening spot it is.

Beckdawrek
12-17-2017, 08:15 PM
The Last Waltz has been playing on AXS channel lately. It's a zombie I don't mind hearing REAL LOUD! The 'Love for Levon' concert is just, meh, okay. I love Levon and The Band, but his Daughter is not my favorite singer.

buddha_david
12-17-2017, 09:45 PM
Thank you so much for your insightful contribution replying to a post made 12 years ago in a thread that has been dead for 5 years.
Not to mention Levon Helm has been dead for almost six years. Strange how that wasn't mentioned during the last zombiefication.

Robertson and Helm did make peace just a few days before Helm's death.

drad dog
12-17-2017, 11:51 PM
Thank you so much for your insightful contribution replying to a post made 12 years ago in a thread that has been dead for 5 years. That's the sort of thing that makes this place the happening spot it is.

Not to mention giving the writing credit for TNTDODD to Levon, who didn't write it.

Loach
12-18-2017, 10:17 AM
At least this reminds me to get and read Robertsonís book. It came out last year. Hearing some of the interviews he made recently it seems that alcohol played a big part in the breakup. Most of the band couldnít keep it together and Robertson was sick of dealing with it. In the interviews in the movie you can see it. Robertson is trying to tell their story, Danko and Manuel seem to be plastered.

Lucas Jackson
12-18-2017, 10:44 AM
I love the concert and all of the members especially the monster talent Helm was. But it did make me sad to see him crybabying in an interview about Robertson (who by the way, wasn't in charge of filming or editing regarding his close ups).

Robertson was the driving force and the musical genius behind The Band and deserves the credit for being so.

But the highlight of the show, IMO, was Danko. My god that man put his soul into his singing.

drad dog
12-18-2017, 11:36 AM
At least this reminds me to get and read Robertsonís book. It came out last year. Hearing some of the interviews he made recently it seems that alcohol played a big part in the breakup. Most of the band couldnít keep it together and Robertson was sick of dealing with it. In the interviews in the movie you can see it. Robertson is trying to tell their story, Danko and Manuel seem to be plastered.

Not all the time, but at certain times, he was in band with 3 junkies. Garth wasn't one, but it was tough to keep that together.

When the movie was made it was Robbie who wanted all that to happen. The others weren't retiring, and weren't hanging out with Marty Scorcese, and didn't own copyrights to tide them over.

There are two sides I guess but Robbie will have the last word. You have to assert your ownership of songs when they get published.

Loach
12-18-2017, 12:03 PM
Not all the time, but at certain times, he was in band with 3 junkies. Garth wasn't one, but it was tough to keep that together.

When the movie was made it was Robbie who wanted all that to happen. The others weren't retiring, and weren't hanging out with Marty Scorcese, and didn't own copyrights to tide them over.

There are two sides I guess but Robbie will have the last word. You have to assert your ownership of songs when they get published.

From what I understand the others (or most of the others Iím not sure) sold off what rights they did have very early on.

Robertsonís book covers up to the Last Waltz and it seemed to be well received. Like I said I havenít read it. In interviews heís very articulate, practically lyrical. Of course he paints himself in a good light but Iíve not heard him bad mouth the others except for acknowledging their issues with sobriety.

Loach
12-18-2017, 12:06 PM
As I stated earlier in this thread oh so many years ago, Robertsonís self titled first solo album is one of my favorite albums of all time. In my top 5. That makes me a little prejudiced on his side.

Gyrate
12-18-2017, 12:18 PM
Since this thread is up and staggering about, I'll just say that Helm was the best damn thing in the film Shooter. His three minutes onscreen positively crackled. The rest of the film involved the majority of the cast phoning it in. (Seriously - Michael Pena alone needs to be slapped repeatedly for his slouching, mumbling FBI agent. And God only knows what Danny Glover was on.)

DrCube
12-18-2017, 01:48 PM
I thought it was as simple as Levon seeing The Band as an ensemble act, with five fantastic multi-instrument musicians, three lead singers and a guitar player, while Martin Scorsese portrayed them on screen as "Robbie Robertson's backing band" and Robertson did little to correct him.

I don't know enough about the politics and dynamics of The Band to judge how right Levon was, and I suspect he had a point but that Robbie had his reasons, too. In fact, thanks for bumping this thread because I hadn't seen it before and I learned a lot.

drad dog
12-18-2017, 05:25 PM
From what I understand the others (or most of the others Iím not sure) sold off what rights they did have very early on.

Robertsonís book covers up to the Last Waltz and it seemed to be well received. Like I said I havenít read it. In interviews heís very articulate, practically lyrical. Of course he paints himself in a good light but Iíve not heard him bad mouth the others except for acknowledging their issues with sobriety.

In a rock band that existed from 1962, say, to 1974 or so, the buying and selling of rights happens a lot. Neil Young bought and gave back Bruce Palmers rights a few times. In Steppenwolf there are some stories to be told.

When you are the writer you can buy and sell the other guys, but it makes for a weird vibe. The Band had 3 singers and were a collaborative effort by any measure. But some guys partying and some writing the tunes was not going to work out.

But the book was great. I'm sure you'll like it a lot. I was glad to hear Robbies side and it seems reasonable enough to me.

Beckdawrek
12-18-2017, 05:27 PM
In the movie credits, Robertson was a named producer. He did more work than the others. He has been producer on other movies and albums, he should have gotten more money. If he was smarter with his career and finances he can't be faulted for that, imo.
He could write a lovely tune, but the boy can't sing.
I have always thought of Levon as the leader, I need to read the books.

drad dog
12-19-2017, 12:50 AM
The deepest soul in the band was Richard Manuel. His songs are the most luminous, and there's only very few of them before he stopped writing. In a Station and Whispering Pines are from another world.

Beckdawrek
12-19-2017, 01:18 AM
And what about Garth Hudson. Is he crazy or just genius strange and weird?

Baal Houtham
12-19-2017, 08:43 AM
[...]
But the highlight of the show, IMO, was Danko. My god that man put his soul into his singing.

This summer ďIt Makeís No DifferenceĒ popped out of my back brain and grew into a major ear worm. (It was a surprise, as Iíd paid no attention to the song during a couple of viewings of Stage Fright.) The lyrics and vocals stop just short of caricature and rip your heart out. The guitar is brutal and Garthís sax solo is sweet cream.

A few YouTube viewing got me to order Northern Lights Southern Cross. The version there is good, but the Stage Fright version tops it. (I think the film cuts a verse that is included on the soundtrack album... probably for the better.)

Baal Houtham
12-19-2017, 12:26 PM
"It Makes No Difference" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AIQeMvp5Ew) from Last Waltz soundtrack, with Robertson solo that isn't in the film. (But is nice.)

Loach
12-19-2017, 01:06 PM
And what about Garth Hudson. Is he crazy or just genius strange and weird?

Yes

Mona Lisa Simpson
12-19-2017, 01:58 PM
A weird annecdote I thought I'd shared previously but I guess I never have.

About 25 years ago I had a job cleaning offices, and one of my clients was a movie production company, or something. In a slush pile that eventually ended up in a recycle bin I found Robbie Robertson's acting resume/ c.v./whatever.

He had all his Last Waltz credits listed in three parts...as a musician actor and producer. Also listed that way for his videos.. each listed individually on this ridiculous 12 page thing.

Of course, I don't know anything about show biz resumes, but the layout and seemed really odd and resume padding to me.









Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk

Emily Litella
12-19-2017, 01:59 PM
Hey Loach, I'm with you about Robbie's first album, it's been one of my favorites for years. I love Northern Lights, Southern Cross too. My recent Band earworm was "Acadian Driftwood", an excellent song.
I read "This Wheel's on Fire" ages ago, and saw "The Last Waltz". I think if I met Robbie and Levon in person I'd like Levon a hell of a lot better.
I'm going to have to find my copy of "Before the Flood" and listen to it again.

Ukulele Ike
12-19-2017, 03:44 PM
Four singers. The Band had FOUR singers. Garth was the only one who didn’t sing.

You can say that Robbie can’t sing, but nevertheless he sang.

drad dog
12-19-2017, 05:07 PM
Four singers. The Band had FOUR singers. Garth was the only one who didn’t sing.

You can say that Robbie can’t sing, but nevertheless he sang.

If he never had a solo in The Band then he was a BG singer, or an ensemble singer. No one said he wasn't that.

But I have never heard a discussion of Robbies contributon to the Band's vocal sound, as in The Weight, Long Black Veil, and others. I always thought it was 3 part harmony.

Emily Litella
12-20-2017, 12:43 PM
Four singers. The Band had FOUR singers. Garth was the only one who didnít sing.

You can say that Robbie canít sing, but nevertheless he sang.

Robbie can't sing. :(

Fiddle Peghead
12-22-2017, 01:47 AM
"Greasy" sax solo? The hell does that mean?

Beckdawrek
12-22-2017, 02:09 AM
Slick?

Cartooniverse
12-22-2017, 08:30 AM
Btw, if you've seen the great movie The Right Stuff, that's Levon Helm playing the part of Ripley. And he did a fine job of it, too.

He sure did. Weird to be reading this thread now, I watched the film again about a week ago. I do remember after seeing it in the theaters that I went and sought out a pack of Beeman's Gum (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beemans_gum) because it appeared that Chuck Yeager sure liked a stick before testing a new lifting body. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB7ZTyVkfB8)

As for the O.P., royalties and legal writing credits are/were the stuff of dissent. It's not unique to The Band. It's kind of a modern-day phenomenon and I think unique to the record industry. Michelangelo? No slouch when it came to cutting stone. He was one sculptin' muthah. He also had assistants, notably one Pietro Urbino (http://www.aboutfamousartists.com/index.php/2013/10/michelangelos-faithful-assistant/). Yet we universally do NOT recognize the master's works as collaborations.

The modern-day iteration might be people who write screenplays for a living. One person may indeed craft a script. Sometimes it is so singular that there's little to no debate, they submit to the Writer's Guild of America the drafts and final and are granted true sole authorship. A woman named Diablo Cody (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diablo_Cody) did this for the film "Juno". No debate, she wrote it alone. This is rarely the case.

Ghosts, script doctors, uncredited assists and so on litter Hollywood screenplays. Some of these conflicts are legion. (http://uproxx.com/movies/screenwriting-controversies/).

And so it is with song credits and royalties. Here's one infamous case involving the megaband The Eagles. (https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/73339/songwriters-settle-eagles-royalty-suit).

One can understand why it's difficult to be gracious when one person is rather well-off and you're scraping by when back in the day, you contributed. True collaborations are not so rare in music. But woe to the creative contributor who lacks a good lawyer.

jaycat
12-22-2017, 08:49 AM
Robbie can't sing. :(

Which, I suppose, is why he talks his way thru this one, at least (and does a semi-credible Tom Waits imitation): Somewhere Down The Crazy River. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KP9PNSUME4)

Buford was no angel
12-22-2017, 10:14 AM
If he never had a solo in The Band then he was a BG singer, or an ensemble singer. No one said he wasn't that.

But I have never heard a discussion of Robbies contributon to the Band's vocal sound, as in The Weight, Long Black Veil, and others. I always thought it was 3 part harmony.

Robbie sang lead vocal on part of "To Kingdom Come" on Music from Big Pink.

drad dog
12-22-2017, 12:06 PM
Robbie sang lead vocal on part of "To Kingdom Come" on Music from Big Pink.

What part does he sing?

bmoak
12-22-2017, 12:06 PM
...and that's Exhibit A of why he never sang lead again on a Band song.

Loach
12-22-2017, 01:25 PM
Which, I suppose, is why he talks his way thru this one, at least (and does a semi-credible Tom Waits imitation): Somewhere Down The Crazy River. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KP9PNSUME4)

Thatís a stylistic choice for that one song. The rest of the album or his other solo work is not like that. Nice job by the Bodeans as his backup band.

Does he have a great voice? No. Does Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen? His voice suits his music in my opinion.

Buford was no angel
12-22-2017, 01:37 PM
What part does he sing?

His voice is in the mix throughout the song, with his vocal louder in the mix than Rick Danko's during the first verse. Robbie sings solo on the verse that begins "I've been sitting in here for so darn long".

Interestingly, according to Levon's biography they worked up a song with Garth singing lead.

jaycat
12-22-2017, 02:43 PM
Thatís a stylistic choice for that one song. The rest of the album or his other solo work is not like that. Nice job by the Bodeans as his backup band.

Does he have a great voice? No. Does Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen? His voice suits his music in my opinion.

That's the first song that Youtube came up with. In fairness I went back and discovered Broken Arrow, which he sings ok but his voice is way down in the mix, and Ghost Dance, which he also partly talks his way thru, and when he does sing, it's in a duet with a female singer.

That's as far as I'm willing to explore. In fairness, I only gave each song 20-30 seconds. I saw The Band in 1974 backing up Dylan and I'd rather cling to my memories....

Beckdawrek
12-22-2017, 05:30 PM
That's the first song that Youtube came up with. In fairness I went back and discovered Broken Arrow, which he sings ok but his voice is way down in the mix, and Ghost Dance, which he also partly talks his way thru, and when he does sing, it's in a duet with a female singer.

That's as far as I'm willing to explore. In fairness, I only gave each song 20-30 seconds. I saw The Band in 1974 backing up Dylan and I'd rather cling to my memories....Me too. Some people just can't sing. Ringo can't sing. That doesn't mean you can't have a good music career. Align your self with people who have talents you don't. FWIW I don't like Dylan's vocal stylings, I know all the songs and they represent a time in my life that is pleasant, so I like them. But seriously his voice is crap.

drad dog
12-22-2017, 05:44 PM
Me too. Some people just can't sing. Ringo can't sing. That doesn't mean you can't have a good music career. Align your self with people who have talents you don't. FWIW I don't like Dylan's vocal stylings, I know all the songs and they represent a time in my life that is pleasant, so I like them. But seriously his voice is crap.

Ringo never embarrassed himself singing in THE BEATLES. Think about that.

His vocal turn was a part of the product and it was beloved for being just right. When someone's vocal is a part of something that great it seems a little much to say he couldn't sing.

There is a difference between "can't sing" and the eccentric delivery which sometimes, and very famously, gets paired with great art. Like Bob and Neil for instance. I do get the feeling that some people can't forgive Dylan for not singing like luther vandross, or Merle haggard, or Tom Jones, whomever, as if that makes a difference. I really don't want to wait for Luther to write Mr Tambourine Man, any more than I need Bob to sing "well." These are the given conditions.

Beckdawrek
12-22-2017, 05:53 PM
True.

bmoak
12-22-2017, 09:47 PM
"Greasy" sax solo? The hell does that mean?

Hey, it's my comment from twelve years ago! I almost had to think about what I meant, since I'm lousy at describing music.I'm pretty sure I took the term "greasy" from a book or review of either The Last Waltz or Rock of Ages, maybe from Greil Marcus. Greasy describes old-time rock-and-roll sax playing in the style of King Curtis et.al. that depends more on emotion and tone than clean note virtuoso playing. Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band is a more modern rock saxophonist with a greasy feel to their playing.

drad dog
12-23-2017, 01:55 PM
Hey, it's my comment from twelve years ago! I almost had to think about what I meant, since I'm lousy at describing music.I'm pretty sure I took the term "greasy" from a book or review of either The Last Waltz or Rock of Ages, maybe from Greil Marcus. Greasy describes old-time rock-and-roll sax playing in the style of King Curtis et.al. that depends more on emotion and tone than clean note virtuoso playing. Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band is a more modern rock saxophonist with a greasy feel to their playing.

I hope you didn't really have to explain "greasy" as it applies to music here, but I guess you just did. Oboy.

Loach
12-23-2017, 03:24 PM
That's the first song that Youtube came up with. In fairness I went back and discovered Broken Arrow, which he sings ok but his voice is way down in the mix, and Ghost Dance, which he also partly talks his way thru, and when he does sing, it's in a duet with a female singer.

That's as far as I'm willing to explore. In fairness, I only gave each song 20-30 seconds. I saw The Band in 1974 backing up Dylan and I'd rather cling to my memories....

As far as I remember thatís the only song off of that album that he made a video for which is why it comes up near the top of searches. I still like it a lot.

I donít know what you mean by being low in the mix. It sounds fine to me. I hope youíre not judging the mix from how it sounds on phone speakers. I think itís a great song. Rod Stewartís version is soulless and sterile.

Here is the song he named his book after. On it heís backed by some boys from Ireland.
https://youtu.be/Egi8M3fndAg

No reason why you have to like it but like I said I love the album. No one else in the band put out anything worth buying after the Last Waltz. His next album Storyville was good too. I never really got into his explorations on his First Nations background in his later albums.

K364
12-23-2017, 03:32 PM
There was a lot of resentment for Robby taking sole writing credits for some songs - the others felt they contributed to the song and should get a share. I wonder how much they contributed? It has become standard for side musicians to come up with a groove, a hook, add a line or two for the lyric... and not get a writing credit.