(May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012)
Levon Helm of rock group and one-time Bob Dylan backing band “The Band” has died Thursday in New York from complications due to throat cancer. He was 71 years old.
Helm rose to fame during the 1960s as the drummer and only American member of the seminal Canadian rock group The Band, who had their first taste of major success as the touring and studio band for Bob Dylan, playing on such classic records as “Highway 61 Revisited” which included one of Dylan’s best known and commercially successful songs, “Like a Rolling Stone.” Along with drumming duties, Helm was also responsible for singing lead on many of the group’s hit songs such as “The Weight,” “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”
Along with his passion for music, Helm was also a part-time actor, featured in movies such as The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Shooter, Smooth Talk, The Right Stuff, The Dollmaker, although he will probably be best remembered for his outstandingly poignant performance as Loretta Lynn’s father in Coal Miner’s Daughter.
If somehow you’ve missed one of the best eras in rock ‘n roll, check out some of Levon Helm’s best work after the break.