Robbie Robertson, lead guitarist and songwriter of The Band, has died aged 80.
Robertson was behind such classics as The Weight, Up On Cripple Creek, and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.
His manager of 34 years, Jared Levine, wrote: “Robbie was surrounded by his family at the time of his death, including his wife, Janet, his ex-wife, Dominique, her partner Nicholas, and his children Alexandra, Sebastian, Delphine and Delphine’s partner Kenny.
“He is also survived by his grandchildren Angelica, Donovan, Dominic, Gabriel and Seraphina.”
The Band initially served as Bob Dylan’s backing group – before becoming highly influential in the 1960s and 70s. They played at Woodstock in 1969.
Besides Robertson, who was born in Canada, the group featured drummer-singer Mark “Levon” Helm and bassist-singer-songwriter Rick Danko, keyboardist singer-songwriter Richard Manuel and all-around musical wizard Garth Hudson.
The Band are still defined by their first two albums, Music From Big Pink and the self-titled The Band, both released in the late 1960s.
Robertson also frequently collaborated with Martin Scorsese, including on The Colour Of Money, The King Of Comedy, The Departed, The Irishman and the director’s latest movie Killers Of The Flower Moon.
In a statement released today, the film-maker paid tribute.
“Robbie Robertson was one of my closest friends, a constant in my life and my work,” Scorsese said.
“I could always go to him as a confidante. A collaborator. An advisor. I tried to be the same for him.
“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.
“The Band’s music, and Robbie’s own later solo music, seemed to come from the deepest place at the heart of this continent, its traditions and tragedies and joys. It goes without saying that he was a giant, that his effect on the art form was profound and lasting.
“There’s never enough time with anyone you love. And I loved Robbie.”
Singer Neil Diamond tweeted: “The music world lost a great one with the passing of Robbie Robertson. Keep making that Beautiful Noise in the sky, Robbie. I’ll miss you.”
Brian Adams added: “RIP Robbie Robertson. Thanks for the amazing music and the great hangs, especially photographing you in LA not so long ago. We’ll keep Anna Lee company for you…”
Rolling Stone, Ronnie Wood said: “Such sad news about Robbie Robertson – he was a lovely man, a great friend and will be dearly missed xx R.”
Former president Bill Clinton posted: “Robbie Robertson was a brilliant songwriter, guitarist, and composer whose gifts changed music forever.
“I’m grateful for all the good memories he gave me-going back to his time in the Hawks when I was a teenager-and for his kindness through the years. I’ll miss him.”
The Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
Written by: Newsroom