Posts Tagged ‘The Band’

This Week in Music History: November 3 to 9

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by Ripple Creative Strategy No Comments

By Adam Bunch


It all started in the early 1960s, when a musician from Arkansas moved to Canada. Ronnie Hawkins brought his backing band, The Hawks, with him to play the raucous nightclubs of Toronto’s Yonge Street strip, but over time most of them returned home and were replaced by Canadians. Before long, drummer Levon Helm was the only American left. He was joined by Toronto’s Robbie Robertson, London’s Garth Hudson, Stratford’s Richard Manuel and bassist Rick Danko from the tiny hamlet of Green’s Corners.

It was in 1964 that they left Hawkins and struck out on their own. For a while, they were playing as the Levon Helm Sextet, then as Levon and The Hawks, then as the Canadian Squires…. But they would change their name one more time before they became famous. In 1965, a folk singer from Minnesota came to Toronto to see them play. He offered them a job – and so, they became Bob Dylan’s backing group and called themselves, quite simply, The Band.

They spent the next decade as one of the most popular rock ’n’ roll outfits on the planet, but it all came to an end in 1976. They called their final show “The Last Waltz.” The Band took the stage at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco and were joined by a long list of all-star guests, including Hawkins, Dylan and fellow Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. The whole event was filmed by director Martin Scorsese and turned into one of the greatest concert films of all time.

It was during this week in 1977 that The Last Waltz premiered on the big screen for the very first time.




The Band weren’t the only future Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees making a name for themselves on the 1960s Yonge Street strip. It’s also where David Clayton-Thomas got his start, serving as the powerfully lunged frontman for rhythm and blues outfits such as The Shays and The Bossmen. In 1966, at the same time The Band was first teaming up with Bob Dylan, Clayton-Thomas followed the legendary blues singer John Lee Hooker to New York City, where he stayed on after their gigs together were over. Eventually, he was recruited to become the new frontman for Blood Sweat and Tears, who had broken up after their first album.

Now, with Clayton-Thomas giving the group new life, they released a second. The self-titled record was a smash hit; it even edged out The Beatles’ Abbey Road for Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards. The album’s first single, “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” climbed all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single, “Spinning Wheel,” did the very same thing. And it was during this week in 1969 that the third single, “And When I Die,” broke into the Top 10 on its way to becoming the band’s third straight single to climb all way up to No. 2.


This Week in Music History: September 8 to 14

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 by Ripple Creative Strategy No Comments

By Adam Bunch


They called it “The Doom Tour.” Promoted by Billy Graham and armed with giant new speaker systems, it was hailed as “the first large-scale stadium tour in rock history.”

During the summer of 1974, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSNY) were reunited to play shows together for the first time in years. The tour would take them to 30 different stadiums across North America, including stops at Varsity Stadium in Toronto and the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. However, the shows have been remembered more for what happened backstage than on stage: a debauched orgy of drugs and sex that helped to fuel tensions between the members of the band. That’s why David Crosby gave it the “Doom Tour” nickname.

“We actually had a guy that was employed just to provide us with cocaine,” Graham Nash admitted recently to Rolling Stone. The magazine compiled an oral history of the infamous tour. There are stories about smuggling joints and balls of coke through security, of snorting the stuff off of the carpet, of having meetings in the middle of sexual encounters. The general consensus is that the music suffered as a result. As the band tried to pioneer the big outdoor rock show, they were hardly at their sharpest.

“It’s a horrible drug,” Crosby said of cocaine, “and it has a terrible effect on your psyche and your work. The more we did it, the worse things got.”

For his part, Neil Young chose to keep his distance from the debauchery, travelling on his own bus with his son. “The tour was disappointing to me,” he remembered years later. “I think CSNY really blew it.”

But it was also a time of incredible creativity. The band members were constantly writing new songs, debuting them on stage before they’d even learned how to play them properly. And Young was leading the way. “Neil… My God….” Crosby remembered. “He knocked it out of the park over and over and over. He set the bar very, very high.”

It was on the Saturday afternoon of this week in 1974 that The Doom Tour headed across the Atlantic for one final show in London, England. The band took the stage at Wembley Stadium in front of nearly 100,000 people—and they weren’t alone. The concert was a 10-hour spectacle featuring two of Young’s fellow Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees: Joni Mitchell and The Band.

Earlier this summer, the show was released as part of a box set of live recordings from The Doom Tour. CSNY 1974 features audio and video from nine of the shows the band played on the tour, with some of the flaws edited out to give the recordings a more polished feel. The three-disc album has been met with rave reviews. Even when CSNY weren’t at their best, they were one of the best. Even on one of the most infamous tours in the history of rock and roll.


This Week in Music History: July 21 to 27

Posted on: July 22nd, 2014 by Ripple Creative Strategy No Comments

By Adam Bunch


In 1963, Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Neil Young was only 17 years old. He had been born in Toronto, spent some time in the sleepy Ontario town of Omemee and went to high school in the suburb of Pickering. But when his parents broke up, he moved with his mother to Winnipeg, and that’s where his passion for music really took off.

These were the early years of the 1960s: the golden age of rock ’n’ roll. So the young Young grew up listening to jukebox legends such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. It wasn’t long before he started playing music himself. As a teenager in Winnipeg, Young joined a few different bands. The one we remember best was called The Squires.

That’s because The Squires was the very first band that Neil Young ever recorded with. It was during this week in the summer of 1963 that Young and his bandmates walked into the studio of a local Winnipeg radio station, CKRC. That day, they recorded two songs – “The Sultan” and “Aurora” – with one of the station’s DJs serving as the producer. V Records released the tunes as a single, with only 300 copies pressed. Today, only 10 are thought to have survived. It’s one of the rarest 45s in the world and an important piece of history, because that was the day that Neil Young’s recording career officially began.




He said he would never perform “The Wall” again. This was in the early 1980s. Roger Waters was done with Pink Floyd, calling the band “a spent force.” It seemed safe to say that the elaborate theatrical live version of the group’s classic anti-fascist album – which was co-produced by Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Bob Ezrin – was a thing of the past. Unless, he added with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, the Berlin Wall came down. Then he’d have to. At the time, the fall of the wall seemed like something that might never happen; the Soviet Union was still very much a superpower. But then, of course, it did.

Just a few months later, Waters arrived in Berlin. He picked a spot that had been part of the no man’s land between the two sections of the city and there, during this week in 1990, he put together one of the biggest rock shows in the history of music.

The concert, which aimed to raise money for the Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief, also included a symbolic tearing down of a temporary wall. It included plenty of guest appearances, too. Three of them were by Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees: Joni Mitchell, Bryan Adams and The Band. They performed to a massive worldwide audience. The show sold a quarter of a million tickets, gave free admission to 100,000 more, was aired on television in 65 different countries, produced a live album and came out on VHS. The days of the Berlin Wall were over. “The Wall” was back.


| Forgot Password?

You can also login using your Facebook account

You can also register using your Facebook account