Robbie Robertson, Guitarist for the Band, Passes Age 80

  • Robbie Robertson’s songs help define a generation. 
  • The Band played for Bob Dylan as his backing band. 
  • Director Martin Scorsese frequently collaborated with Robertson.
  • Robertson died on August 9.

( – Robbie Robertson was as much a musician as he was a storyteller. As the main songwriter for The Band, he told old Americana stories in their music. Decades after their breakup, millions of Spotify users still stream their songs every month. Sadly, the music world has now lost the brilliant songwriter and guitarist.

A Legacy

On August 9, Robertson’s family announced he passed away surrounded by the people who loved him most. In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, his family said his wife Janet, ex-wife Dominique, her partner Nicholas, and his three children, Sebastian, Alexandra, and Delphine, were at his bedside when he passed away.

Robertson was 80 years old. The artist lived a long life, leaving an incredible imprint on the music industry. He was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1943. He always loved music and began composing songs when he was just a child. Eventually, he dropped out of school to pursue a music career. In 1958, The Band was originally formed to serve as a backing group for Ronnie Hawkins. In fact, their original name was “The Hawks.” Then, in 1965, they met Bob Dylan while on tour and became a backing band for him.

Robertson wrote a number of hit songs for The Band and is credited with helping to transform the music industry. His song “Weight” is one of the era’s most recognizable songs and was immortalized by director Martin Scorsese in the film “The Last Waltz.”

The film served as The Band’s last performance, but Robertson’s relationship with Scorsese endured. He became the music director on many of his films, including a final project, “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Not Afraid to Go Against the Grain

In 1966, Bob Dylan faced backlash from fans when he went electric. Robertson, however, supported the decision and encouraged him. When Robertson revived his solo career in the ‘80s, he released “Storyville,” where he infused Americana and electronic music. That was the type of music he leaned into when he did solo projects.

Former President Bill Clinton paid tribute to Robertson, calling him a “brilliant songwriter, guitarist, and composer whose gifts changed music forever.”

Ringo Starr offered his love to Robertson’s family.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked the musician for his “music and the memories.”

Robertson is survived by the family mentioned above and his loving grandchildren.

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