Robbie Robertson

Robbie Robertson

Infobox musical artist
Background = solo_singer
Name = Robbie Robertson

Img_capt = Robertson in 2007
Born = birth date and age|1943|7|5
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died =
Alias =
Genre = Rock, Folk rock, Country rock, Roots rock
Instruments = Guitar, Piano, Harmonica, Autoharp, Harp guitar
Occupation = Musician, Songwriter, Producer, Actor
Years_active = 1958 – Present
Associated_acts = The Band
Label = Capitol
Notable_instruments =

Robbie Robertson (born Jaime Robert Klegerman, 5 July 1943 at Toronto, Ontario, Canadacite web | url= | publisher="The Canadian Encyclopedia" | accessdate=2007-12-02 | title=Roberston, Robbie | first=Betty | last=Nygaard King ] ) is a songwriter, guitarist and singer. He is best known for his membership in The Band. He was ranked 78th in "Rolling Stone" magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time [cite web|url=|title=The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All time |work = Rolling Stone | date = 2004-03-24 |accessdate=2007-02-17] .


Early life

Born to a Jewish father and a Mohawk mother (he took his stepfather's last name after his mother remarried), Robertson had his earliest exposure to music at Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, where he spent summers with his mother's family. He studied guitar from his youth and has been writing songs and performing since his teen years.

By 1958, Robertson was performing in various groups around Toronto, including Little Caesar and the Consuls. By 1959 he had met singer Ronnie Hawkins, who headed up a band called The Hawks (after relocating to Canada). In 1960 Hawkins recorded two early Robertson songs ("Hey Boba Lu" and "Someone Like You") on his Mr. Dynamo LP. Robertson then took over lead guitar with The Hawks and toured often, before splitting from Hawkins in 1963. Robertson appears on several of Ronnie Hawkin's albums and compilations.

The quintet styled themselves as The Canadian Squires and Levon and the Hawks [] , but (after rejecting such tongue-in-cheek names as The Honkies and The Crackers) ultimately called themselves The Band.

The Band

Bob Dylan hired The Band for his famed, controversial tour of 1966, his first wide exposure as an electrified rock and roll performer rather than his earlier acoustic folk sound. Robertson's distinctive guitar sound was an important part of the music; Dylan famously praised him as "the only mathematical guitar genius I’ve ever run into who doesn’t offend my intestinal nervousness with his rearguard sound."

From their first album, "Music from Big Pink" (1968), The Band was praised as one of rock music's preeminent groups. "Rolling Stone" magazine praised The Band and gave its music extensive coverage. Robertson sang only a few songs with The Band, but was the group's primary songwriter, and was in the later years of the Band often seen as the de facto bandleader.

In 1976, The Band broke up due to the stresses of sixteen years of touring. In the Martin Scorsese film "The Last Waltz" (1978) Robertson noted that he had been playing live rock and roll music almost since rock and roll began. Also, credited officially as the band's main songwriter, he was able to live off the song royalties, and no longer needed to tour. The Band reformed in 1983 without Robertson.

olo career

Robertson produced Neil Diamond's albums Beautiful Noise in 1976 and Love At The Greek (live) in 1977.

In 1978 The Band Released Anthology, Vol. I a greatest Hits album.

Between 1979 and 1980 Robertson co-starred with Gary Busey and Jodie Foster in Carny. He also co-wrote, produced, and composed source music for the film. Inspired by Carny soundtrack composer Alex North, with whom he worked, Robertson became one of the first rock 'n' rollers to seriously engage the medium of film. For Scorsese's Raging Bull, Robertson created background music and produces source music. Released is The Band's Anthology, Vol. II.

Between 1982 and 1986 Robertson managed to stay quite busy. For another Scorsese film, King Of Comedy (released the following year), Robertson serves as music producer, assembling tunes by The Pretenders, Talking Heads, Ray Charles, Rickie Lee Jones and others. He also contributes with his first post-Band solo recording, "Between Trains." Additionally, he produced and played guitar on Van Morrison's "Wonderful Remark." Robertson signed via A&R executive Gary Gersh for his debut solo album on Geffen Records. Robertson recorded with producer (and fellow Canadian) Daniel Lanois. He also scores Scorsese's The Color Of Money working with Gil Evans and co-wrote with Eric Clapton (It's In The Way That You Use It") and Willie Dixon.

For Taylor Hackford's film saluting Chuck Berry, Hail, Hail Rock & Roll, Robertson was enlisted as creative consultant.

From 1987 onwards, Robertson released a series of four solo albums that began with a self-titled album. In 1990, he contributed to Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto's album "Beauty". Robertson's song "Broken Arrow", off the "Robbie Robertson" album, was covered by Rod Stewart on his album "Vagabond Heart" and became a hit single. "Broken Arrow" was also a part of the Grateful Dead's rotation of live songs 1993-95 (sung by bassist Phil Lesh), and later with Phil Lesh and Friends.

In 1995, in Rome, Robertson headlined an annual Labor Day concert festival with support acts Andrea Bocelli, Elvis Costello, and Radiohead. More than 300,000 fans attended the event.

In 1996, Executive soundtrack producer Robertson hears a demo of "Change The World" and sends it to Clapton as a suggestion for the soundtrack to Phenomenon, starring John Travolta. He then enlists Babyface to produce the track. "Change the World" wins 1997 Grammy® Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

In 1997, Robertson receives a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Songwriters.

From 1997 to 2000, Robertson stayed busy with side projects and documentaries.

In 2000, music industry legends David Geffen and Mo Ostin convinced Robertson to join DreamWorks Records as Creative Executive. Robertson, who persuaded Grammy® Award winner Nelly Furtado to sign with the company, is actively involved with film projects and developing new artist talent, including signings of AI, Boomkat, Daniel DeBourg, eastmountainsouth, and singer-songwriter-pianist Dana Glover.

On 9 February 2002, Robertson performed "Stomp Dance (Unity)" as part of the Opening Ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

At the 2003 commencement ceremonies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Robertson delivered an address to the graduating class and was awarded an honorary degree by the university. In 2006, he announced plans to write his autobiography.

In 2003, Robertson was inducted into [ Canada's Walk of Fame] .

In 2006, Robertson recorded with Jerry Lee Lewis and Samuel Bidleman on "Last man standing" on track "Twilight".

On July 28,2007, at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in Bridgeview, Ill, Robertson made a rare appearance on stage and played briefly.

According to an article in the February 9 2008 edition of the Winnipeg Sun, Robertson is said to be working with Eric Clapton on an album of new material.

Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese was hired to direct "The Last Waltz" based on his use of music in "Mean Streets". The two lived together during the editing of "Waltz" and became friends. Scorsese had later admitted that during the editing process, the two of them heavily used drugs. Scorsese hired Robertson to compose the musical score for his 1980 film "Raging Bull", and in the years since the two have been frequent collaborators. Robertson would later work on Scorsese's movies "The King of Comedy", "The Color of Money", "Casino" and "The Departed", and act as executive music director for "Gangs of New York".


Albums with The Band

*1968 "Music from Big Pink"
*1969 "The Band"
*1970 "Stage Fright"
*1971 "Cahoots"
*1972 "Rock of Ages" (live concert album)
*1973 "Moondog Matinee" (collection of covers)
*1974 "Before the Flood" (live album with The Band and Bob Dylan)
*1975 "Northern Lights - Southern Cross"
*1975 "The Basement Tapes" (with Bob Dylan)
*1977 "Islands"
*1978 "The Last Waltz" (live concert album with additional studio material)

olo recordings

*1987 "Robbie Robertson" (featuring U2, Peter Gabriel and the BoDeans on several tracks)
*1991 "Storyville"
*1994 "Music for The Native Americans"
*1998 "Contact from the Underworld of RedBoy"

Film credits

Robertson is credited in the following films:
*1978 "The Last Waltz" (performer/producer)
*1980 "Carny" (actor/writer/producer)
*1980 "Raging Bull" (music producer)
*1983 "The King of Comedy" (music producer)
*1986 "The Color of Money" (songs and score)
*1991 "Until the End of the World" (music)
*1994 "Jimmy Hollywood" (music)
*1995 "Casino" (music consultant)
*1995 "The Crossing Guard" (actor - Roger)
*1996 "Phenomenon" (executive soundtrack producer)
*1996 "Dakota Exile" (narrator)
*1999 "Forces of Nature" (creative music consultant)
*1999 "Wolves" (narrator)
*1999 "Any Given Sunday" (songs)
*2001 "The Life and Times of Robbie Robertson"
*2002 "Gangs of New York" (executive music producer)
*2002 "Skins (film)" (writer/performer)
*2004 "Jenifa" (co-producer/executive producer)
*2004 "Ladder 49" (original song)
*2006 "The Departed" (music producer)
*2007 "" (performer)
*2008 "" (actor)


External links

*imdb name|id=0005371
* [ Interview with Robbie Robertson KUOW Radio]
* [ Report on Robertson's forthcoming collaboration with Eric Clapton]

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