Performing with the Roots and Robert Randolph on ‘Fallon’ in 2011

The famous guitarist and composer turns 78 today.

By Nate Todd Jul 5, 2021 9:57 a.m. PDT

Robbie Robertson is celebrating his 78th birthday today. The famous guitarist and composer was born July 3, 1943 in Toronto. After supporting Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan in the mid-1960s, Robertson founded The Band in 1967 with Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel.

Robertson’s time with The Band saw him emerge as one of the best songwriters of his generation, writing or co-writing stellar songs like “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” ” Life Is A Carnival ”,“ Acadian Driftwood ”and more. Whether it was from his own experience or putting himself in other people’s shoes in a historical context (something he was particularly good at), Robbie had an incredible talent for storytelling, something that would be good for him. useful as he made the transition to a career as a film composer after leaving The Band.

As The Band reformed without Robertson in the 1980s, the band’s classic lineup performed their last show on Thanksgiving Day 1976 at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, documented by famed director and Robertson’s friend Martin Scorsese to become the iconic concert film. The last Waltz. The farewell event was largely designed by Robertson and spoke to his narrative mind. Every story must have an end.

Robbie subsequently brought his storytelling skills to a film career. After filming his lead role in the 1980 film Carny, Robbie started working on the music for the flagship Scorsese film in 1980, Angry bull and continued to work with Marty on subsequent Scorsese favorites like 1995 Casino, 2006 The dead, 2013 the wolf of Wall Street and 2019 Irish.

While any songwriter must possess the ability to distill film from spirit into song, a more pronounced cinematic quality began to seep into Robertson’s style on his solo albums from his eponymous 1987 release, followed by City-history in 1991 and browsing his LP 2019, the aptly titled Sinematic, which contained allusions to various Scorsese films. Sinematic was the sequel to Robertson’s 2011 album, How to become clairvoyant, which opens with the funky rocker “Straight Down The Line”. The song tells the story in vignettes of a musician meeting various figures from rock’n’roll roots such as blues and gospel.

Robertson was telling this story when he appeared on Late at night with Jimmy Fallon and performed “Straight Down The Line” with The Roots and steel pedal guitar master Robert Randolph, who also performed on the album. Supported by the Killer Party, Robbie even released his own solo in his unique style that Bob Dylan called “math.”

To celebrate Robbie Robertson’s birthday, watch the famous musician perform “Straight Down The Line” on Fall on below via JamBase Live Video Archive:


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