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one of the greats will be leaving the stage
April 17, 2012 4:55 PM   Subscribe

The Band singer and drummer Levon Helm is in the final stages of cancer, according to a note posted on his website Tuesday by his wife, Sandy, and daughter, Amy.

Levon Helm Wikipedia
Levon Helm IMDb page
Levon Helm Facebook

The Billboard article includes several of the Band's greatest songs, which will be, of course, familiar to even casual fans. Here's a relatively recent (2008) performance by Levon and crew, and a fine one indeed, of one of my favorite Band songs, Ophelia.

Thanks so much for all the great, great music, Levon.
posted by flapjax at midnite (137 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh damn, damn, damn. The voice may be stilled, but the songs remain.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:59 PM on April 17, 2012


I got to see Levon (and Amy and an astounding backup band) perform in Central Park last summer and it was tremendous. He only sang on a few songs (and flap, one of them was "Ophelia") but his drumming was still tremendous. His work with the Band and on his own ranks with some of the best rock and roll ever and has inspired me throughout my life.

Thank you, Mr. Helm.
posted by jonmc at 5:01 PM on April 17, 2012


sad news. "the weight" is our wedding song.
posted by reverend cuttle at 5:02 PM on April 17, 2012


And that voice, performing Steve Earle's "The Mountain." Godspeed.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:02 PM on April 17, 2012


He is one hell of a non-renewable musical resource, and tonight he is in my prayers.
posted by Kinbote at 5:02 PM on April 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Once, I was visiting family friends in Finland, and Jukka, the patriarch of the family, and a rather obsessive television and stage director decided that for the few nights I was with them, he was going to show me some of what he considered to be truly great works of art on film. The first night he showed me The Last Waltz.

I was hooked.

.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:12 PM on April 17, 2012


(My . is premature, I know, but . is how I feel inside.)
posted by ocherdraco at 5:12 PM on April 17, 2012


I hate obituaries. I don't want to write an obituary for Levon Helm, who is, in the words of his family, entering the last stages of his battle with cancer. So I'll write about him now, before he's gone. That way this isn't an obituary. It's a celebration.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:17 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, I am sorry to hear that. I applaud him for all the amazing work he has done since his diagnosis. Bless him for using his time with us to create so many memorable musical experiences (and many of them with family and friends, which must have been a double joy for him and for them).
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:17 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you haven't experienced "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" from The Last Waltz, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

They should have never have taken the very best... Amen, Levon.
posted by entropicamericana at 5:23 PM on April 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


A Train Robbery - Levon Helm

A man who made the world a better place.
posted by Sailormom at 5:35 PM on April 17, 2012


My prayers go out to Levon and his family. My mother got to know him back in the 80's & 90's (she was his dental hygienist) and would always talk of his kindness and warmhearted nature. The world will be a poorer place without him in it.
posted by KingEdRa at 5:35 PM on April 17, 2012


This makes me sad. I loved The Band. I read somewhere that what made The Band's music so great that every song sounded like it was some really old song already in the public domain. Absolutely true.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:38 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's nothing I can say that says it well enough. First Richard Manuel, then Rick Danko, and soon, Levon Helm... Dammit, it just kills me.
posted by newfers at 5:38 PM on April 17, 2012


It's funny, there isn't one shot of Hudson or Manuel in that cut from the Last Waltz of Dixie.

This news makes me very sad. I love the Band, and I love Helm.

I've always been curious how Helm felt about missing out on the '65 and '66 Dylan tours. Has anyone read his autobiography? Does he discuss it?
posted by OmieWise at 5:39 PM on April 17, 2012


Sad news. Thanks for everything, Levon. I'll be playing The Band tonight.
posted by pemberkins at 5:40 PM on April 17, 2012


Dreadful.
posted by ericost at 5:45 PM on April 17, 2012


I'll have to pull out my old Band albums tonight and listen to the voice from Turkey Scratch.
posted by jabo at 5:49 PM on April 17, 2012


Fucking goddamn cancer.
posted by rollbiz at 5:49 PM on April 17, 2012


Goodness. Such sad news for his family and for music as a family at large. He helped create so much. Fuck cancer. My thoughts are with Levon and his family during this time of transition for all of them.

I guess I'll have to revisit some of his work over the next week.
posted by hippybear at 5:55 PM on April 17, 2012


When I saw Levon, Amy was 8 months pregnant but still singing her ass off (I've always felt a kinship to her too, since according to Levon's autobio we were born the same exact day), so I'm glad Levon got to spend time with his grandkid and vie versa.
posted by jonmc at 5:55 PM on April 17, 2012


Heartbreaking news.


The Band has been on heavy rotation in this house for years; Levon is a hero (I mean, how can you sing that powerfully and play drums that well?)


I got to see him play at the Winnipeg Folk Festival a couple years ago. There were Band songs being sung all around the campground (as folkies are wont to do.) Everyone knew all the words, of course.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:06 PM on April 17, 2012


I was lucky enough to be one of those in attendance at the Last Waltz on Thanksgiving Day 1976 in San Francisco. It was the best $25.00 ticket I ever bought. A full feast (vegetarian, turkey, and salmon), dancing to the Berkeley Philharmonic Orchestra, the Band, poets, and all their special guests.
Levon Helm was my favorite singer in the Band and an excellent drummer. My prayers go out for a safe passage for him, and condolences to his friends and family.
posted by wellvis at 6:13 PM on April 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


For my money, The Band was, hands down, the best rock and roll band of all time. I read one time that they played more than 50 instruments between them.

They were a motley crew with some serious issues; the last time I saw them was several nights before Richard Manuel hung himself. But they were one of those bands that could just pull you in with the obvious joy they had playing music. Levon grinning, Rick bouncing his head like a chicken, Robbie sweating through his suit and biting his lip, Garth enthroned at his keyboards looking like a mad scientist and Richard, well he was kinda mopey but when he smiled it was definitely genuine.

Nothing lasts, unfortunately. Levon has had a great run and brought a lot of people joy. He's played a shitty hand pretty well this last decade, and I hope his outro is as comfortable as possible.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:19 PM on April 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


From The Last Waltz:

The Weight (w/the Staples Singers)
I Shall Be Released

In case anyone looking in isn't sure, Levon's on the drums.

More recently, he's put out some very good solo albums. Growing Trade.

His loss is going to be painful.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:21 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


No. That just sucks. What a giant of music, it's hard to even calculate how much The Band has influenced music for the last forty years. I'm glad that I got to see them twice in the post-Robertson era, once with Richard Manuel and then once after he left us. My sister has tickets to see Helm in Northampton, MA in a few weeks, she's going to be crushed. Damn. What a loss to the world.
posted by octothorpe at 6:26 PM on April 17, 2012



Richard Manuel hung himself
Huh.

So, I could have sworn my Dad had told me Manuel died of an OD, sitting on a bench in Golden Gate park watching the sun come up. Having looked it up, Benny is correct. Did I mix up my stories--i.e. does that describe a different musician's death--or does my old man have this completely wrong?

posted by snuffleupagus at 6:26 PM on April 17, 2012


Oops. Let me try that again: Growing Trade.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:27 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Was so sorry to see this - he'll be missed - such a tremendous musician.
posted by leslies at 6:28 PM on April 17, 2012


He also wrote an autobiography (1993 NYT review), which (not to get negative, but) was pretty scathing about Robbie Robertson and The Last Waltz.

Sad/strange; I pulled Music From Big Pink for the first time in years to do the dishes to last night. I hope his passing is as painless as possible; the man's voice still goes straight to my spine.

Side note/pet peeve: don't believe folks who tell you Music From Big Pink wasn't a psychedelic record. It's folk and roots and Americana and all that, sure, and sounded very different from the rest of the 1968 airwaves, sure, but that record is drenched in psychedelic goodness. I mean, have you listened to the lyrics to Caledonia Mission recently?
posted by mediareport at 6:29 PM on April 17, 2012


King Harvest and Long Black Vail from 1970
posted by octothorpe at 6:30 PM on April 17, 2012


Just Another Whistle Stop from '74. Not that memorable a song in itself but one hell of a performance. Those guys could play up a storm.
posted by octothorpe at 6:52 PM on April 17, 2012


It's kind of weird, but one of my favorite songs of The Band was their cover of Springsteen's "Atlantic City". I think it's my favoite Springsteen cover. Helm's voice has just the right amount of grit and weariness for it.
posted by hwestiii at 6:58 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Weight has long been one of my all time favorite songs. This is sad news.
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:59 PM on April 17, 2012


;
posted by bowline at 6:59 PM on April 17, 2012


This really, really sucks.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:03 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now I don't mind chopping wood, and I don't care if the money's no good...
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:07 PM on April 17, 2012


Wow, I'm going to miss him. The Last Waltz has no equal among concert films. He never lost his chops. Here he is four years ago.
posted by emelenjr at 7:08 PM on April 17, 2012


Thank you Levon.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:10 PM on April 17, 2012


He could be fine actor at times too. Check out this clip from Coal Miner's Daughter.
posted by octothorpe at 7:12 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been a fan for a long time, this is too bad.

I remember staying up past midnight at my friend Scott's house around 1979, his family had some weird proto-cable thing called "ON-TV" that came in through an antenna. They were showing The Last Waltz and we were very excited to see The Band onstage with all our other heroes: Eric Clapton and Neil Young and Muddy Waters and Bob Dylan, it was all too much.

My friend Scott died of cancer last week at the age of 49. Every god damn song on my Ipod reminds me of Scott.

Fuck you cancer.
posted by marxchivist at 7:19 PM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Damn. I hate to hear this. One of the greats, indeed.
I've said this on mefi before:
When I was at the U of Ark in Fayetteville, in the early 60s, Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks owned a part interest in a place called the Rockwood Club. BYOB- under the table, paper bag, Coke setups, college freshmen playing grownup. Levon Helm was from Springdale, and so the band was sorta home town folks to us... I even jammed with them once. Then they moved up to Canada, and I lost track of em for several years. Came back to grad school and all of a sudden there was this Big Pink thing, and there they were backing Dylan..... wow.
posted by drhydro at 7:28 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of the better. most moving moments of my life, was checking into, let's just say not the most fashionable hotel in the Mississippi Delta. A blues landmark.

At this point, I am so proud of myself, to be able to actually take pen to paper, and sign the register book, I am about to crap myself, considering myself a great pioneer.

And as the proprietor hands me the register, turned to the page for me to sign, and a pen, the first thing that pops out at me, written in a brilliant blue ink, in about the neatest handwriting I have ever seen, just above above where I was about to sign my name, were the words

"Levon Helm, Woodstock, New York"

And let me just back up and say I have been a player for 35 years. I never had any illusions about being a star. While I never had a day job, the way it wrings out is I only played one stadium in my life and that sucked. Huge.

I cherish that moment in the hotel in ways I really shouldnt, but for that one moment in time? Just to see my name so close to his?

Might have lasted 20 seconds, to look down, see the name, and smile and think and write.

"Wow! Me and Levon Helm? Am I a part of this familiy now? This is unreal."

I dreamed of many things that night in the hotel, and one of them was clinking pints with him all night until it was morning.
posted by timsteil at 7:37 PM on April 17, 2012 [16 favorites]


... taking on a Little Richard number in 1970 (Festival Express).
posted by philip-random at 7:41 PM on April 17, 2012


.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:55 PM on April 17, 2012


:(
posted by crunchland at 8:13 PM on April 17, 2012


I'm not exactly sure why but this news just crushes me. There is something so pure about Helm's music and voice. I really love all of his work and have been excited every time something new came along. I really, really wanted to take a spur-of-the-moment road trip to see one of his Midnight Rambles and now it doesn't look like I'll have the chance.

Damn.

Take a weight off, Mr. Helm. Peace and good wishes to you and your family.
posted by Gronk at 8:26 PM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


He has brought much pleasure to many lives...I hope he has a peaceful journey beyond. Thank you Levon.
posted by incandissonance at 8:30 PM on April 17, 2012


He really is my favourite. Robbie tried to get the cameras pointing at him, but anyone with the inside scoop knows it was Levon's band. I am so glad that my dad took me up to Woodstock a few years back, when I was in NYC, to see him play at the "Midnight Ramble". It is (was) a monthly concert held in his spacious home theatre / recording studio, to an intimate crowd of maybe 200 or so.

He was frail but still in his groove. I was frequently stepping out for a smoke, and at the end of the show I managed to bump into the volunteer fire department, and sort of invited myself into the circle for a little funky somethin' somethin'.

Flapjax, Ophelia is also my fav by a long shot - the vocals are so powerful, excellent instrumentation. And the lyrics are able to evoke the situation so strongly, and so economically. Fantastic.

ROCK ON LEVON.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:31 PM on April 17, 2012


,
posted by timsteil at 8:33 PM on April 17, 2012


catch a cannonball, gonna take me on down the line
my bag is sinkin' low, and I do believe it's time...
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:36 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


And here is the canonical version of Ophelia, with Levon in his prime. If you haven't seen the entirety of The Last Waltz you really need to get on that.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:38 PM on April 17, 2012


I got to see him play at the Winnipeg Folk Festival a couple years ago.

My comment was going to be "A frequent regret is that I didn't go to see Helm at the Winnipeg Folk Fest a couple years ago." You lucky duck.

Also regretting not getting around to putting together The Band FPP I've been meaning to for the past few months.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:41 PM on April 17, 2012


The Last Waltz previously on MetaFilter.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:45 PM on April 17, 2012


Lest they get lost in all the Last Waltz love, let me raise a glass to two other devastating live recordings of the Band - Rock of Ages and my favorite, Before the Flood - the latter sides split between the Band and the Band backing Dylan. Holy smokes, that's some powerful firewater.

(I'm mobile at the moment and can't easily provide links, sorry)

travel safe, Levon.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:10 PM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thank you, Levon. Your contribution to music, and my love of it, has been truly wonderful.
posted by TheDonF at 9:32 PM on April 17, 2012


I have no words to express the heavy feeling in my heart tonight:-(
posted by bjgeiger at 10:02 PM on April 17, 2012


Playing the "Across the Great Divide" collection as I type - "The Weight" just came on.

I wonder if Helm and Robertson ever reconciled?

I was lucky enough to see The Band on their first reunion tour in 1983, at Vancouver's Queen E Theatre. As one reviewer noted (paraphrasing from memory), without Robertson they were like a T-Bird running on only seven cylinders, but they still beat most other cars on the road at the time.

And I hate to be contrarian, but *the* definitive version of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" is to be found on "Before the Flood". All the fury and passion that song commands can be found right there.

"I Shall Be Released" just finished - segue to "Chest Fever"....

RIP
posted by e-man at 10:19 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I Love Don't Do It. The song has remained a favorite since...well a long, damn time.

I wish he wrote a new memoir to cover the years since that last one. He had so much anger still from The Band's final days. It would be great to hear all about the second half of his career and The Rambles.

He will be missed.
posted by readery at 10:21 PM on April 17, 2012


As a young guitar player, the first time I ever sat up and thought "Damn, that drummer is awesome!" was Levon Helm with the Band. Often I read news like this with a detached sort of sadness, but apparently not tonight... Listening to When I Paint My Masterpiece and just bawling my eyes out. Thanks for posting, and thanks Levon.
posted by Lorin at 10:33 PM on April 17, 2012


very sad news.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:36 PM on April 17, 2012


Levon Helm Ramble at the Ryman - With John Hiatt (2009) - The Weight
posted by mikelieman at 3:42 AM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Like e-man says above, I think Before the Flood contains some of The Band's most incendiary performances. There seems to be a dearth of cuts from that album on youtube. While looking I did find this performance of "Up On Cripple Creek" with Ringo's band. Levon looks like he's having fun.
posted by marxchivist at 6:00 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was raised as a Dylan kid...Before the flood is one of my favorite albums of all time, and it is Levon that makes that album shine.

A sad day, but evoking some wonderful memories all he same.
posted by man down under at 6:22 AM on April 18, 2012


The best...ever.
posted by private_idaho at 6:37 AM on April 18, 2012


I first heard The Band when my dad put their self-titled album on while we were making dinner when I was 13. At the time, I thought that calling your band The Band was kind of presumptuous, but I have since recognized the truth.

Levon Helm is a national fucking treasure.
posted by stompadour at 6:47 AM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


So Daniel took his harp and went high on the hill
He blew across the meadow like a whippoorwill
He played out his harp just for time to pass
And when he looked to the ground
He noticed no shadow did he cast.


Fortunately for the world, some people don't need to sell their soul to make a lifetime of great music.
posted by jferg at 7:07 AM on April 18, 2012


The cover photo on the Levon Helm Facebook page has been changed to a touching photo of him with his dog. What a great talent. So glad I finally got to see him perform a few years ago.
posted by maurice at 9:15 AM on April 18, 2012


Last week I was shocked and so saddened to hear that my old band mate, Levon, was in the final stages of his battle with cancer. It hit me really hard because I thought he had beaten throat cancer and had no idea that he was this ill. I spoke with his family and made arrangements to go and see him.

On Sunday I went to New York and visited him in the hospital. I sat with Levon for a good while, and thought of the incredible and beautiful times we had together. It was heartwarming to be greeted by his lovely daughter Amy, whom I have known since she was born. Amy’s mother, Libby Titus, and her husband, Donald Fagen, were so kind to help walk me through this terrible time of sadness. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sandy.

Levon is one of the most extraordinary talented people I’ve ever known and very much like an older brother to me. I am so grateful I got to see him one last time and will miss him and love him forever.

-Robbie Robertson

via
posted by Sailormom at 9:22 AM on April 18, 2012 [11 favorites]


The YT of King Harvest that Octothorpe posted above is beautiful. Thanks.
posted by Eyebeams at 10:54 AM on April 18, 2012


Oh man. I'm so, so sorry to hear this. Northern Lights, Southern Cross was one of the very first albums I ever owned and it's remained in heavy rotation in the thirty odd years ever since.
posted by mygothlaundry at 2:51 PM on April 18, 2012


Early in the morning
When the church bells toll
The choir's gonna sing
And the hearse will roll
On down to the graveyard
Where it's cold and gray
And then the sun's gonna shine
Through the shadows
When I go away

Don't want no sorrow
For this old orphan boy
I don't want no crying
Only tears of joy
I'm gonna see my mother
Gonna see my father
And I'll be bound for glory
In the morning
When I go away

I'll be lifted up to the clouds
On the wings of angels
There's only flesh and bones
In the ground
Where my troubles will stay

See that storm over yonder
It's gonna rain all day
But then the sun's gonna shine
Through the shadows
When I go away

(I'm going home - Lift me up)
When I go away
(No more trouble - I'm going home)
(Lift me up - When I go away)
No more crying
(I'm going home - Lift me up - When I go away)
No more trials
(I'm going home)
Home to leave my worries in the ground
(I'm going home - Lift me up - When I go away)
No more troubles
(I'm going home - Lift me up - When I go away)
No more crying
(I'm going home - Lift me up - When I go away)
No more trials
(I'm going home)
Home to leave my worries in the graveyard
Home to leave my troubles in the graveyard
Home to leave my trials
And I'll be bound for glory
In the morning
When I go away

All my kin who love me
All my friends who care
Look beyond the dark clouds
We're gonna meet up there

When they lay me in the cold ground
Bow your heads and pray
(Bow your heads and pray)

And I'll be bound for glory
In the morning
When I go away

And then the sun's gonna shine
Through the shadows
When I go away

(I'm going home - Lift me up)
When I go away
(No more trouble - I'm going home)
(Lift me up - When I go away)
No more crying
(I'm going home - Lift me up - When I go away)
No more trials
(I'm going home)
Home to leave my worries in the graveyard
(I'm going home - Lift me up - When I go away)
No more troubles
(I'm going home - Lift me up - When I go away)
No more crying
(I'm going home - Lift me up - When I go away)
No more trials
(I'm going home)
Home to leave my worries in the graveyard
Home to leave my troubles in the graveyard
Home to leave my trials
And I'll be bound for glory
In the morning
When I go away

And then the sun's gonna shine
Through the shadows
When I go away
Ah, when I go away
When I go away
(When I go away)
When I go away
(When I go away)
When I go away
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:41 PM on April 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


Damn Flapjax, now I'm all weepy. Nothing like staring death in the face and singing your own eulogy, the man's a badass to the end.
posted by octothorpe at 4:49 PM on April 18, 2012


I'm just gutted by this. I'm also so pleased that I did manage to see him live once, not that long ago, at Massey Hall in Toronto.

Levon's been one of the giants to me since I was about 23, and read his autobiography. As I say, I'm gutted to face the world without him in it.

Oh, and OmieWise, from what I can recall, Levon CHOSE to bail on those Dylan tours. He felt that he didn't get into the business to be booed, so he took off and let the others do their thing.
posted by Richat at 6:31 PM on April 18, 2012


Thanks, Sir Flapjax, for posting this. When I was young and had my first son, I named him after Bob Dylan. When I was (much) older and wiser, I named my second son after Levon Helm.

Whatever there is after this life, Mr Helm, I hope you are repaid, a thousand fold, for the light and joy you brought to so many, including me.
posted by blessedlyndie at 8:35 PM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


from what I can recall, Levon CHOSE to bail on those Dylan tours

Pretty sure I heard Levon indicate that in an interview somewhere.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:39 PM on April 18, 2012


I can't find my copy of his autobiography and haven't read it since it came out but I'm pretty sure that Helm quit touring at that point and went and worked on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico for a while.
posted by octothorpe at 4:53 AM on April 19, 2012


flapjax, that was such a great link. Thanks!

Yes, in Levon's autobiography he talks about leaving the Dylan tour because of the booing and going to work on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. When he decided to come back to music he found out that Richard Manual had learned to be a drummer so he taught himself the mandolin so he'd have something to do when Manual was on drums.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:29 AM on April 19, 2012


Levon Helm has died.

.
posted by deadmessenger at 12:24 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 12:26 PM on April 19, 2012


Better article.
posted by deadmessenger at 12:30 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:35 PM on April 19, 2012


Gone on to that great music hall in the sky. Thank you, Levon, for all the great tunes over the years.
posted by Lynsey at 1:00 PM on April 19, 2012


Sad day. I'm glad his pain is over.

Cancer is such shit. There is not enough hate in the world for it.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:21 PM on April 19, 2012


As I said in the deleted obit thread, while I usually prefer Bob Dylan's renditions of his own songs, I can't imagine anyone else but Levon singing "When I Paint My Masterpiece."

.
posted by dhens at 1:24 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:26 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by jferg at 1:27 PM on April 19, 2012


Thanks for the music, Levon. Say hi to Rick and Richard for me.
posted by rocket88 at 1:34 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by princelyfox at 1:43 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by chuq at 1:50 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by boofidies at 1:52 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by lalochezia at 2:02 PM on April 19, 2012


Play it fucking loud -- a warrior is on his way.


.
 
posted by Herodios at 2:03 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:05 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:12 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by OmieWise at 2:18 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by readery at 2:27 PM on April 19, 2012


I hadn't seen any of the news about Levon Helm, but had coincidentally been listening to a bunch of The Band on YouTube a few nights ago. Very sad news.

Elton John and Bernie Taupin were fans of The Band and "Levon" was named for him.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:40 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


.
posted by -t at 2:44 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:52 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by lowest east side at 3:06 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:20 PM on April 19, 2012


Be at peace, Levon.

.
posted by dbiedny at 3:53 PM on April 19, 2012


From earlier this year.
posted by dbiedny at 3:55 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:21 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by drhydro at 4:33 PM on April 19, 2012


.





No more from this consummate musician. I am sad.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:38 PM on April 19, 2012


Damn, this is hitting me a lot harder than I expected. I almost never get emotional about the passing of musicians or the like, but Levon and the Band mean so much to me. A couple articles upthread suggest that he went out peacefully, surrounded by loved ones. I can only hope for so much when my time comes. Gonna put on some tunes and celebrate the life and work of an American musical treasure.
posted by friendlyjuan at 4:41 PM on April 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


R.I.P.

.
posted by Sailormom at 5:06 PM on April 19, 2012


.
posted by jonmc at 6:25 PM on April 19, 2012


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posted by bjgeiger at 6:30 PM on April 19, 2012


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posted by Cosine at 6:34 PM on April 19, 2012


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posted by Kinbote at 7:16 PM on April 19, 2012


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posted by songs about trains at 7:18 PM on April 19, 2012


I'll just put this here.

Thanks for everything. Take a load off.

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posted by trip and a half at 7:24 PM on April 19, 2012


Take a load off Fanny...
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:26 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


.

It's Annie, not Fanny!
posted by Sys Rq at 7:30 PM on April 19, 2012


No. It's Fanny.
posted by trip and a half at 7:36 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


He was my bosom buddy friend to the end, one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation. This is just so sad to talk about. I still can remember the first day I met him and the last day I saw him. We go back pretty far and had been through some trials together. I'm going to miss him, as I'm sure a whole lot of others will too.
Bob Dylan
posted by Sailormom at 7:40 PM on April 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by brennen at 8:15 PM on April 19, 2012


Take a load off, Levon.

RIP.
posted by scody at 10:11 PM on April 19, 2012


The Weight helped me survive my teenage years. Music From Big Pink and the Basement Tapes still form the tropics of my musical world, and I know that every time I put Rock of Ages on Levon and the band are gonna rock my soul with Alan Touissant's horn arrangements.

Now, we'll have to take a load from Levon and simply pray that his grace will help us find our path.

Thank you, Mr. Helm. My life would have been much poorer without you.

posted by owalt1 at 11:01 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


oops. bad syntax. . .
posted by owalt1 at 11:03 PM on April 19, 2012


Dear friends,

I lost my father today....he passed peacefully, surrounded by friends and family. The outpour of love and support I have received in the last 2 weeks has been overwhelming to me. I cannot begin to express how deeply moved I am by the people who have reached out... poems, prayers, beautiful words of comfort, offers to bring food, help with babysitting, and on and on and on...

As I've been walking through this incredible heartbreak, the letters, e-mails, text messages, and phone calls have lifted up my spirit and helped me stay strong and present for him throughout.

I started this facebook page in the hope of reaching back to many of you and telling you how truly grateful I am for all of the support. It's hard to really convey how much it means... I'm sure many of you understand and have gone through similar losses.

With Love,

Amy
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:30 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sad news. My favorite drummer. A friend affectionately described his fills as sounding like "a guy falling down a flight of stairs".

He left behind a great body of work.

And, Bob Dylan says:

In response to Levon’s passing

He was my bosom buddy friend to the end, one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation. This is just so sad to talk about. I still can remember the first day I met him and the last day I saw him. We go back pretty far and had been through some trials together. I'm going to miss him, as I'm sure a whole lot of others will too.

posted by JBennett at 7:36 AM on April 20, 2012


There will be Levon music playing loud in our house tonight.
posted by chococat at 8:12 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you've got a copy of Dylan's Planet Waves, crank up Tough Mama, chococat. Levon at his funkiest.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:15 AM on April 20, 2012


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posted by tommasz at 8:26 AM on April 20, 2012


Don't Do It - the Academy of Music, NYC, 1971.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:46 AM on April 20, 2012


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posted by zaelic at 11:26 AM on April 20, 2012


I guess this is Levon's Obituary thread?

I leave you with a small contribution from his acting career. A line from the Right Stuff, where he played Jack Ridley, Chuck Yeager's drop ship pilot.

"Sir, is that a man?"
"Damn right it is."

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posted by Mcable at 5:44 PM on April 20, 2012


Wolfgang's Vault's page celebration Levon Helm's life and commemorating his passing.
posted by hippybear at 6:10 PM on April 20, 2012


celebration = celebrating

I saw the error right as I clicked post. Dammit.
posted by hippybear at 6:11 PM on April 20, 2012


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posted by El Brendano at 3:20 AM on April 21, 2012


Robbie Robertson's songs and Levon's voice together are one of American music's great gestalts. I was just reading a Slate piece on Helm, and there was a line about how Helm's voice could make any song sound like an American traditional. It was so perfect for what Robertson was doing as a song writer.
posted by Trochanter at 10:46 AM on April 22, 2012


Springsteen (and crowd): The Weight.
posted by maudlin at 3:15 PM on May 4, 2012


(This one includes Bruce's spoken tribute before the song.)
posted by maudlin at 3:18 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


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