Levon Helm passed away April 19 the day after I ran this story... He was 71.

Steven Davis, with whom Helm wrote his biography, ‘This Wheel’s on Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band,’ told the Boston Globe that there will be a New Orleans-style brass band procession through the streets of Woodstock. However, Helm’s manager, Barbara O’Brien, on her Facebook page, has said that there is no official word about that.

However, O’Brien did say that Helm will be buried in the Woodstock Cemetery in the grave next to Rick Danko, the Band’s bassist. Danko died in 1999 due to a drug-related heart failure.

Levon Helm RIP

It is so sad to hear about Levon Helm's battle with cancer. Levon was one of the most talented artists in acting and American music history. He played drums, mandolin guitar, and sang on many of The Band's most famous songs such as "The Weight". This video is from the fantastic Rock film "The Last Waltz" directed by Martin Scorsese.

Levon is best known as the singer/drummer of The Band, the rock group featured in Martin Scorsese's 1978 documentary, "The Last Waltz", Levon Helm went on to deliver a handful of strong portrayals in film and TV.

The Arkansas native began his musical career as a the drummer for the rockabilly band Ronnie Hawkins' Hawks. By 1963, Helm and fellow musicians Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko had left to form their own group variously known as Levon and the Hawks, the Crackers and the Canadian Squires.

In 1964, singer John Hammond Jr had heard them and asked them to join him on tour. In NYC, Helm and Robertson caught the attention of singer Bob Dylan who hired them to perform with his electrified band at his now famous Forest Hills (NY) concert.

Helm and Dylan had a disagreement and the group toured for a year without Helm. By late 1966, the rift had been healed and Helm joined in the recording session which were eventually released in 1975 as "The Basement Tapes".

Around this same time, the musicians began working on their own material and they renamed their group The Band. For the next decade, The Band recorded six albums and toured. In 1976, The Band played its last concert at Winterland in San Francisco (where the group had played its first concert in 1969) which Scorsese captured in "The Last Waltz". Helm continued his music career but added acting to his resume.

Hired by director Michael Apted to play Ted Webb, Loretta Lynn's father, in "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980), Helm surprised many with his strong characterization. He subsequently appeared to good effect in Philip Kaufman's "The Right Stuff" (1980), Joyce Chopra's "Smooth Talk" (1985) and "End of the Line" (1987).

On TV, in addition to making appearances as a musical performer ("Live From the Lone Star", "Farm Aid VI") or in documentaries ("The History of Rock 'n' Roll", "The Band"), Helm offered strong support as Jane Fonda's mechanic husband in "The Dollmaker" (ABC, 1984) and won praise for his turn as an ex-convict in a 1990 episode of the NBC drama series "Midnight Caller"
Mark Lavon "Levon" Helm (born May 26, 1940), rock multi-instrumentalist and actor who achieved fame as the drummer and frequent lead and backing vocalist for The Band.

Helm is known for his deeply soulful, country-accented voice, and creative drumming style highlighted on many of The Band's recordings, such as "The Weight", "Up on Cripple Creek", "Ophelia" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down".

His 2007 comeback album Dirt Farmer earned the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album in February 2008, and in November of that year, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him #91 in the list of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

In 2010, Electric Dirt, his 2009 follow-up to Dirt Farmer, won the first ever Grammy Award for Best Americana Album, an inaugural category in 2010. In 2011, his live album Ramble at the Ryman was nominated for the Grammy in the same category and won.

Helm was born in Marvell, Arkansas, and grew up in Turkey Scratch, a hamlet west of Helena, Arkansas, the son of Nell and Diamond Helm, who were cotton farmers and also great lovers of music who encouraged their children to play and sing. Young Lavon (as he was christened) began playing the guitar at the age of eight and also played drums during his formative years. He saw Bill Monroe & his Blue Grass Boys at the age of six and decided then and there to become a musician. Levon Helm Wiki Page

Dear Friends,

Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey.

Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration... he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage...

We appreciate all the love and support and concern.

From his daughter Amy, and wife Sandy

1 comment:

marianerhodes said...

I Love the group-"the Band" and i am sorry to hear this talented, sharing and seemingly PURE PEOPLE person who shares all-family man is fighting for his life. I often wonder why and it is a shame that the good are the ones who constantly have to overcome so many obstacles and trials in life! I said a prayer for strength for him and his family.
GOD Bless!!
mariane rhodes

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