Celebrating The Life Of Legendary Guitarist Robbie Robertson

The Band's Robbie Robertson Passes Away At 80

Robbie Robertson. Credit: Robbie Robertson/Twitter.com

Robbie Robertson, the acclaimed guitarist and lyricist for the Canadian-American ensemble, The Band, has passed away at the age of 80.

Robertson’s manager disclosed that he died on Wednesday, August 9, surrounded by loved ones, following an extended illness, according to the BBC.

Born Jaime Royal Robertson in Toronto in 1943, he left his home at the age of 16 to follow a musical career and went on to write some of the world’s most memorable songs and classic movie soundtracks.

Robertson’s Musical Legacy

The Band emerged as a seminal group in the late 1960s and became the focus of The Last Waltz, a 1978 film directed by Martin Scorsese, chronicling their farewell performance. Robertson penned some of their most celebrated pieces, such as The Weight and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. Together with keyboard player Garth Hudson, Robertson was one of two remaining members from The Band’s classic formation.

He commenced his musical journey touring as a part of Bob Dylan’s support band, leading to the success of their 1968 debut record, Music From Big Pink. Through the 1970s, The Band unveiled a series of lauded albums, culminating in their final full-band performance in 1976. They reconvened without Robertson for additional tours and recordings in the 1980s and 1990s.

Following The Last Waltz, he allied with Scorsese, crafting the musical scores for some of the filmmaker’s iconic works, including the 1980 masterpiece Raging Bull and The Irishman from 2019.

In homage, Scorsese termed Robertson a ‘giant’ and ‘a constant in my life and work.’ He added, ‘Long before we ever met, his music played a central role in my life – me and millions and millions of other people all over this world. His effect on the art form was profound and lasting.’

Other well-known Robertson – Scorsese soundtracks included: Casino, The Wolf Of Wall Street, The Colour Of Money, The Departed and Shutter Island.

Tributes For Robbie Robertson

Tributes have poured in on social media, Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood commented: ‘Such sad news about Robbie Robertson – he was a lovely man, a great friend and will be dearly missed.’

Stevie van Zandt, who plays with Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band, referred to Robertson as a ‘good friend’ and an ‘underrated brilliant guitar player.’ Canadian performer Bryan Adams shared a picture of Robertson, with the caption: ‘Thanks for the amazing music and the great hangs.’

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.