Robbie Robertson, the chief composer and lead guitarist for the Band, whose work provided a country imaginative and prescient of America that appeared without delay mythic and genuine, within the course of serving to to encourage the style that got here to be often known as Americana, died on Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 80.
His supervisor, Jared Levine, stated he died after a protracted sickness.
The songs Mr. Robertson wrote for the Band used enigmatic lyrics to evoke a tough and colourful America of yore. With unusual conviction, they conjured a wild place, usually centered within the South, peopled by rough-hewed characters, from the defeated Accomplice soldier in “The Night time They Drove Previous Dixie Down” to the robust union employee of “King Harvest Has Absolutely Come” to the shady creatures in “Life Is a Carnival.”
The music he matched to his passionate yarns mined the roots of each important American style, together with people, nation, blues and gospel. But when his history-minded compositions first appeared on albums by the Band within the late Sixties, they felt important in addition to classic.
“I needed to write down music that felt prefer it might’ve been written 50 years in the past, tomorrow, yesterday — that had this lost-in-time high quality,” Mr. Robertson stated in a 1995 interview for the general public tv collection “Shakespeare within the Alley.”
Talking of the Band within the 2020 documentary “As soon as Had been Brothers,” Bruce Springsteen stated, “It’s such as you’d by no means heard them earlier than and like they’d at all times been there.”
In its day, the Band’s music additionally stood out by inverting the growing quantity and mania of psychedelic rock, and likewise by sidestepping its accent on youthful rebel. “We simply went utterly left when everybody else went proper,” Mr. Robertson stated.
The ripple impact of that sound and picture — first unveiled on the Band’s first album, “Music From Massive Pink,” launched in 1969 — went vast on affect, touchdown the group on the quilt of Time journal in 1970 and provoking a bunch of main artists to create their very own homespun amalgams, from the Grateful Lifeless’s album, “Workingman’s Lifeless” (1970) to Elton John’s “Tumbleweed Connection,” launched the following yr. The Band’s music so affected Mr. Robertson’s fellow guitarist Eric Clapton that he lobbied for entry into their ranks. (The supply was politely declined.) 1 / 4-century later, the Band’s music offered a key template for the acts first labeled Americana, together with Son Volt, Wilco and Lucinda Williams, in addition to for his or her sonic heirs.
A whole obituary will seem shortly.