The Making Of Music From Big Pink

Robbie Robertson details the making of the Band's 1968 GRAMMY Hall Of Fame-inducted opus
  • Photo: Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns
    Robbie Robertson
  • Photo: Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images
    The Band's Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel
December 04, 2013 -- 10:42 am PST
By Robbie Robertson / GRAMMY.com

(Since its inception in 1973, the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame has enshrined nearly 1,000 recordings across all genres. The Making Of … series presents firsthand accounts of the creative process behind some of the essential recordings of the 20th century. You can read more Making Of … accounts, and in-depth insight into the recordings and artists represented in the Hall, in the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition book.)





Music From Big Pink
The Band
Capitol (1968)
Album
Inducted 1998

(As told to Lynne Margolis)

[During] the making of Music From Big Pink, we were completely in our own underground. And while we were making this record, it was a very private thing, because we were trying to do something that was a culmination of a lot of music that we had pulled in over the years. And it had nothing to with what we did with Bob Dylan. It had nothing to do with what we did with the Hawks. It had nothing to do with what we did with Ronnie Hawkins. It had nothing to do with any way that we had played in the past.

So we were reinventing ourselves, and at the same time, it was who we were in that discovery process. And when that record came out, the way that it was received was like, "Oh my God, where could this have come from? Who are these people? What are they doing?" And we were like, "What do you mean, what are we doing?" It was just a combination of all the music that we loved.

We had been together for seven years before we made Music From Big Pink. We had done our woodshedding. We had paid our dues, and this was the result of that. We didn't get guitars for Christmas and say, "Let's start a band." So there was a beautiful depth to that. And then the way that the world received [the album], finally … to this day, it's still a tremendously influential record.

(Austin, Texas-based writer/editor Lynne Margolis contributes regularly to print, broadcast and online media including American Songwriter and Lone Star Music magazines. Outlets also have included the Christian Science MonitorPaste, Rollingstone.com, and NPR. A contributing editor to the encyclopedia, The Ties That Bind: Bruce Springsteen From A To E To Z, Margolis also writes bios for new and established artists.)

 

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