Ophelia — on which he almost single-handedly constructs a Dixieland-jazz wall of sound — is perhaps the greater testament to his musicality and versatility, but personal preference means Chest Fever sneaks on to this list ahead of it. Each member had a primary instrument but would chop and change as the music required; songwriting duties were mostly shared between Robertson and nominal lead vocalist Richard Manuel, but there was no de facto leader; they were adaptive, instinctual, egalitarian; a band — the band — rather than a vehicle for individual talent. I tried to follow that, to go with it and find it musically. We both felt very good about this song. All five members of the Band had cut their teeth as working musicians in the s, when the concept of success was very different to what it would be a decade later when they finally achieved it for themselves. By , the shy, sweet-natured Richard Manuel had started down the self-destructive path that would ultimately consume him. A heavy drinker since his teens, Manuel subsequently developed a fondness for hard drugs that made him unreliable and accident-prone, and he seemed content to let his considerable songwriting gifts wane — after that year, he never wrote again. Yet it still had its moments, principally this one — a song written by their former paymaster Bob Dylan, but which belongs , in the broader sense of the word, to the Band, and to Levon Helm in particular.
Music icon Levon Helm would have turned 73 on May The beloved drummer and vocalist for The Band died last April after a prolonged battle with throat cancer, prompting heartfelt tributes from musicians and fans across the globe. We asked artists to chime in on their favorite Levon Helm performance. Read our Top 20 Songs of The Band feature here. They lock into that slow tempo and just drive it home all the way to the end. During my sophomore year of college, it seems we would end every Friday night by putting that on the turntable.
Helm was known for his deeply soulful, country -accented voice, multi-instrumental ability, and creative drumming style, highlighted on many of The Band's recordings, such as " The Weight ", " Up on Cripple Creek ", and " The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down ". In , Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer, which caused him to lose his singing voice. After treatment, his cancer eventually went into remission, and he gradually regained the use of his voice. They encouraged their children to play and sing at a young age. Helm began playing the guitar at the age of eight and also played drums. He also saw traveling shows such as F.
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