Levon Helm

Here’s some impossibly sad news: Levon Helm, the drummer/singer for the Band and Americana original, is in “the final stages of his battle with cancer,” according to a statement that his wife and daughter recently posted on his website. The statement thanks all the people who have loved his music, which is an extremely gracious thing to read from people who must be going through some awful things right now. Helm sang “The Weight,” played on Music From The Big Pink, and quit the Band for a while to work on Arkansas oil rigs when he was already famous. He is one of the greats. Watch him at work below.

Comments (5)
  1. Bummer.
    Here’s to the greatest American drummer in an otherwise all-Canadian band (kind of a niche category, but still). I’m going to go listen to Up on Cripple Creek 5 times in a row.

    • No niche categories for Levon. In my book he’s one of the best rock and roll drummers that has been/will be – in the same vein as Ringo and Charlie Watts. There’s more personality and soul in one of those drum tracks than some people put to tape their entire careers. I’ve been on the brink of crying all night thinking about living in a world without Levon Helm.

      For the record, he was hardly famous when he was working those oil rigs – just dodging all the boos that came from playing in Bob Dylan’s backup band after the “plug-in”. “The Band” hadn’t even named itself yet.

      • The snare hit in King Harvest – you know, “that” snare hit – is enough to give me chills. I can’t think of another drummer that can do that.

  2. Damn. :( I immediately proceeded to listen to the weight after reading this. I’ve had some really great memories with this song and road trips with my buddies.

    Much love to you Levon, all of us fans are gonna miss you greatly.

  3. I just sang The Weight at karaoke on Saturday, for real. It was my first time ever singing karaoke, too.

    Mr. Helm is a master.

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