The Band was an influential Canadian-American rock and roll group of the 1960s and ’70s, formed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Band included Robbie Robertson (guitar, piano); Richard Manuel (1943-1986) (piano, harmonica, drums, saxophone, organ); Garth Hudson (organ, piano, clavinet, accordion, synthesizer, saxophone); Rick Danko (1943-1999) (bass guitar, violin, trombone), and Levon Helm (1940-2012) (drums, mandolin, guitar, bass guitar).
The members of The Band first worked together as The Hawks, the backing band of rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins from 1959 until 1963. Afterwards, Bob Dylan recruited the quintet for his history-making 1965/1966 world tour and they joined him on the informal recordings that became the acclaimed Basement Tapes.
Dubbed “The Band” by their peers, the group left the comfort of their communal home in Saugerties, NY to begin recording as a group unto themselves. The Band recorded two of the most important albums of the late 1960s: their 1968 debut Music from Big Pink (featuring the hit single “The Weight”) and 1969’s The Band. These critically praised albums helped conceive country rock as something more than a genre, but rather as a celebration of “Americana.” As such, throughout their career they would repopularize traditional American musical forms during the psychedelic era. The Band dissolved in 1976; Martin Scorcese’s landmark concert film “The Last Waltz” documented their final performance. They reformed in 1983 without founding guitarist and main songwriter Robbie Robertson.
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.
The original configuration of the Band ended its touring career in 1976 with an elaborate live ballroom performance featuring numerous musical celebrities. This performance was immortalized in Martin Scorsese's 1978 documentary The Last Waltz. The Band recommenced touring in 1983 without guitarist Robbie Robertson, who had found success with a solo career and as a Hollywood music producer. Following a 1986 show, Richard Manuel was found dead of suicide, but the remaining three members continued to tour and record albums with a revolving door of musicians filling Manuel's and Robertson's respective roles, before finally settling on Richard Bell, Randy Ciarlante, and Jim Weider. Danko died of heart failure in 1999, after which the group broke up for good. Levon Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998, and after a series of treatments was able to regain use of his voice. He continued to perform and released several successful albums until he succumbed to the disease in 2012.
The group was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked them No. 50 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and in 2008, they received the Grammy's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2004, "The Weight" was ranked the 41st best song of all time in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.
The Band was a rock group active from 1967 to 1976 and again from 1983 to 1999.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked them #50 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and in 2008, they received the Grammy's Lifetime Achievement Award.
On July 29, 1966, while on a break from touring, Dylan suffered a motorcycle accident, and retired into semi-seclusion in Woodstock, New York.
A c#m d a
I pulled into nazareth, was feelin about half past dead;
C#m d a
I just need some place where I can lay my head.
C#m d a
Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?
C#m d a
He just grinned and shook my hand, and no!, was all he said.
A e d a e d
Take a load off fanny, take a load for free;
A e d a d
Take a load off fanny, and (and) (and) you can put the load right on me.
A e d a d
I picked up my bag, I went lookin for a place to hide;
When I saw carmen and the devil walkin side by side.
I said, hey, carmen, come on, lets go downtown.
She said, I gotta go, but mfriend can stick around.
Go down, miss moses, theres nothin you can say
Its just ol luke, and lukes waitin on the judgement day.
Well, luke, my friend, what about young anna lee?
He said, do me a favor, son, woncha stay an keep anna lee company?
Crazy chester followed me, and he caught me in the fog.
He said, I will fix your rack, if youll take jack, my dog.
I said, wait a minute, chester, you know Im a peaceful man.
He said, thats okay, boy, wont you feed him when you can.
Catch a cannon ball now, ttake me down the line
My bag is sinkin low and I do believe its time.
To get back to miss fanny, you know shes the only one.
Who sent me here with her regards for everyone.
Up On Cripple Creek
"Up on Cripple Creek" is the fifth song onThe Band's eponymous second album, The Band. It was released as a single on Capitol 2635 in November 1969 and reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100.
When I get off of this mountain, you know where I want to go?
A d e
Straight down the mississippi river, to the gulf of mexico
To lake charles, louisiana, little bessie, girl that I once knew
A d e
She told me just to come on by, if theres anything she could do
Up on cripple creek she sends me
If I spring a leak she mends me
I dont have to speak, she defends me
A drunkards dream if I ever did see one
Good luck had just stung me, to the race track I did go
She bet on one horse to win and I bet on another to show
The odds were in my favor, I had em five to one
When that nag to win came around the track, sure enough she had won
I took up all of my winnings, and I gave my little bessie half
And she tore it up and threw it in my face, just for a laugh
Now theres one thing in the whole wide world, I sure would like to see
Thats when that little love of mine, dips her doughnut in my tea
Now me and my mate were back at the shack, we had spike jones on the box
She said, I cant take the way he sings, but I love to hear him talk
Now that just gave my heart a throb, to the bottom of my feet
And I swore and I took another pull, my bessie cant be beat
Now theres a flood out in california and up north its freezing cold
And this living on the road is getting pretty old
So I guess Ill call up my big mama, tell her Ill be rolling in
But you know, deep down, Im kind of tempted
To go and see my bessie again.