Levon Helm the drummer of The Band–(in the middle here):
He died a few days before his 72nd birthday, after a long battle with cancer of the throat.
His soaring voice on the Band’s The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down always makes my hair stand on end.
I saw them live two nights running at the Albert Hall in London, in the mid-seventies.
The group had not played in the UK since being booed off stage when they backed Bob Dylan at the Isle of Wight Festival at the end of the sixties.
Dylan fans were objecting to him “going electric”.
As I approached my entrance door I passed the artists’ Stage Door, where a large black Austin Princess limo had just parked and THEY were getting out–an unexpected thrill!
A moment after finding my seat they walked onto the stage and started the set without a word.
After giving a stunning performance and being rapturously received–Robbie Robertson, the Canadian lead guitarist, spoke quietly into the mic saying: “Thank you and good night,“–the only direct address to the audience that night. Then he, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Levon Helm left the stage. Clearly the memory of the Isle of Wight still lingered.
As I walked round the building heading for home, a black Austin Princess glided silently passed me gathering speed.
I went back the following night.