Arts & Entertainment

Musician and songwriter Robbie Robertson dies at 80

Los Angeles, Aug 9 (EFE).- Robbie Robertson, guitarist and songwriter for The Band and musical collaborator of filmmaker Martin Scorsese, died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles after a long illness, his manager said. He was 80.

“Robbie was surrounded by his family at the time of his death,” Jared Levine said.

The man who would write rock classics such as “The Weight,” “Up on Cripple Creek,” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” was born in 1943 in Toronto to Rosemary Dolly Chrysler, a Mohawk who grew up on the Six Nations Reserve near Toronto, and her husband, factory worker James Robertson Only in his teens die Jamie Royal “Robbie” Robertson learn that his biological father was actually Alexander Klegerman, a Jewish professional gambler killed in a road accident before Rosemary gave birth.

Robertson was just 16 when he became part of The Hawks, which included fellow Canadians Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, and Richard Manuel as well as Arkansas native Levon Helm.

After several years backing US singer Ronnie Hawkins, The Hawks ventured out on their own in 1964, only to sign on the following year as the supporting band for Bob Dylan’s first tour after going electric.

The quintet made their debut at The Band in 1968 with “Music from Big Pink,” followed two years later by a self-titled effort that reached No. 9 on the album charts in the United States.

Robertson dissolved the group in 1976, writing later that he made the decision because of worsening substance-abuse problems among the members, but before going their separate ways, they offered a farewell concert in San Francisco featuring guest stars such as Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, and Van Morrison.

Scorsese filmed the performance and his cinematic version, “The Last Waltz,” was released in 1978.

Robertson went on to work as composer, music supervisor, and music producer on numerous Scorsese films including “Raging Bull,” “The King of Comedy,” “The Color of Money,” “Gangs of New York,” “The Departed,” “Shutter Island,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Silence,” “The Irishman” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” set to be released in October.

EFE gac/dr

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