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Miles Davis, Blondie inducted into GRAMMY Hall Of Fame

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Miles Davis, Blondie inducted into GRAMMY Hall Of Fame

The Hall adds 26 new recordings, including selections by Blondie, Roberta Flack, Fleetwood Mac, Grateful Dead, John Lee Hooker, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and the Zombies

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2017 - 01:36 pm

Continuing the tradition of preserving and celebrating timeless recordings, The Recording Academy has announced the newest additions to the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame. The Hall acknowledges both singles and album recordings of all genres at least 25 years old that exhibit qualitative or historical significance. With 26 new titles, the Hall, now in its 43rd year, currently totals 1,013 recordings and is on display at the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live.

List of 2016 GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recordings

"The Recording Academy remains dedicated to celebrating a wide variety of great music through the decades," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "Spanning more than 50 years, the 2016 GRAMMY Hall Of Fame entries are an outstanding collection, marked by both historical and cultural significance. These works have influenced and inspired music fans for generations and we are proud to induct them into our catalog of distinguished recordings."

Representing a genre-spanning variety of tracks and albums, the 2016 GRAMMY Hall Of Fame inductees range from the Andrews Sisters' "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)" to the Grateful Dead's American Beauty album. Also added to the list are Blondie's "Heart Of Glass," Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful," John Coltrane's 1961 album Lush Life, Roberta Flack's 1969 album First Take, Fleetwood Mac's self-titled 1975 album, and the O'Jays' "For The Love Of Money." Other inductees include recordings by Jimmy Buffett, Fats Domino, Bob Dylan And The Band, John Lee Hooker, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, the Pretenders, and the Zombies, among others.

Spotify Playlist: 2016 GRAMMY Hall Of Fame

The 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live on CBS from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). For updates and breaking news, visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook.

25 Years Later, 'No Exit' Shows Blondie Galvanizing Its Identity
(L to R:) Leigh Foxx, Clem Burke, Paul Carbonara (front), Jimmy Destri, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie backstage in 1999.

Photo: Patrick Ford/Redferns/GettyImages

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25 Years Later, 'No Exit' Shows Blondie Galvanizing Its Identity

Released in 1999 after a 15-year hiatus, Blondie's 'No Exit' was more than a reunion album. The edgy, eclectic and innovative album pulled Blondie back from the brink of history and into a new millennium.

GRAMMYs/Feb 23, 2024 - 04:22 pm

"We felt there was no exit from Blondie," Clem Burke, long-standing drummer of Blondie, said in 1999. 

Burke was speaking on the occasion of Blondie's new record, aptly titled No Exit. At the time, the band had reunited after a 15-year absence and, according to Burke, "reared its head again, a four-headed monster." 

Although Burke jested about being unable to shake the pull of the band, No Exit was an edgy, eclectic and innovative record that pulled Blondie back from the brink of history and into a new millennium. The 17-track album saw the band restart their musical mission, delivering genre-blending punk music that brought experimental sounds to the mainstream while also parodying Americana. The reckless abandon shown with No Exit — from music genres to public image — proved a direct through-line to their peak new wave output.

No Exit was certainly a long time coming. The idea of a "reunion" for the famed band was never in the cards; even the idea of a greatest hits record was a no-go.After the release of 1982’s The Hunter — an album that fared poorly with critics and achieved little impact on the charts — the group chose to disband. Co-founder Chris Stein was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and took time away from music; lead singer Debbie Harry began caring for partner Stein while also pursuing a solo music career and acting opportunities (including John WatersHairspray); Burke went on to play drums for the likes of the Romantics and Iggy Pop; keyboardist Jimmy Destri began producing music for Prince and INXS

A true reunion had to involve new music and a relaunch too. Stein recalled watching Jerry Maguire for the first time while recording No Exit in 1998. "I got all teary-eyed because the movie’s all about getting a second chance," he told the L.A. Times. "And that’s what this is about, you know? We’re getting a second chance."

Released on Feb. 23, 1999, No Exit was an energetic and eclectic mix of classic Blondie genres — pop and rock, reggae and rap — that pitched the band to a generation. No Exit eased the band back into a musical landscape dominated by rhythmic hip-hop tracks, velvet R&B anthems and thumping heavy metal.

Audiences at the dawn of the new millennium were already enjoying the success of other girl-fronted rock ensembles; groups like No Doubt, Garbage, and the Cranberries owed Blondie and Harry some credit for trailblazing. (Even if being a female-fronted band became a thorn in Blondie’s side, as seen by their 1978 "campaign" to correct the record with "Blondie is a group!" buttons.) 

Now returning to the charts with such peers, Blondie signaled to the world their assignment was never over — even aging rockers could challenge music conventions and be punk again. Harry was center stage once more, reviving the band’s famed part-parody and part-femme fatale blond bombshell image for a new audience (and Blondie diehards). 

Lead track "Maria" — a spirited song about romantic desire that also plays on religious idol worship — wasn’t quite classic Blondie but a sweet pop treat  The song 

hit No. 1 on the U.K. charts and also topped charts in Spain and Poland. Blondie were officially back in action, but their status left Stein a bit uneasy. "Now we were on the receiving end of a lot of accolades. At times it felt odd being hit with all the ‘legendary’ labels," Stein writes in his upcoming memoir, Under a Rock.

But it was no small feat to get Blondie back together. When they disbanded in 1982, they acknowledged that it was a "madhouse," with endless fighting and arguments all while Stein began to deteriorate from his chronic illness. While the band had sold more than 40 million albums in their decade-plus together and cemented themselves in the cultural lexicon, a new question emerged: Would their formerly edgy and eclectic sound resonate again?

Part of the band’s advantage in 1999 was also their original musical hallmark: a lack of a loyalty to any singular genre. 

No Exit embraced Blondie’s classic musical eclecticism — a quality that saw some critics deride the record. An "album of hollow new-wave, ska, and rap retreads," Entertainment Weekly opined while Rolling Stone argued it "indulge[d] in the kind of dilettantish genre dabbling that preceded their 1982 demise." But Blondie’s uniqueness was always that their music output resisted easy classification; it wouldn’t be Blondie without any genre experimentation. 

While looking back was important for the band when recording No Exit, it was also key to finding ways to appeal to a new generation of listeners. "We’re part of the future as well as the past," Harry said in 1999. "One of the stipulations I had was that it not be just a revue of Blondie’s greatest hits. I really felt convinced of and dedicated to the idea that we had to move ahead and do new music." That also extended to playfully redoing tracks they had originally recorded in the 1970s, including the Sangri-Las’ "Out in the Street."

Other songs on No Exit showed a playful and wry tenor, as the four original members were seemingly having fun reconnecting with each other. "Forgive and Forget (Pull Down the Night)" is a smooth and synthy dance track that recalls the Pet Shop Boys and gestures at forgiving past transgressions. Blondie cosplays as a country ensemble on "The Dream’s Lost on Me" with a structured and rhythmic country ballad that elevates Harry’s vocals. "Screaming Skin" takes their past reggae influences  and recasts them in a rapid-fire rock song about breaking the betrayal of one’s body (likely a reference to Stein’s pemphigus condition attacking his skin).

Touring No Exit also fermented worries about Blondie’s legacy. "I don’t wanna appear preposterous on stage," Harry said at the time. In an attempt to defy such expectations, Blondie chose to perform the album’s hip-hop influenced title track during the American Music Awards, even bringing Coolio onstage.

The performance was true Blondie, which had long collaborated with artists of other genres to appeal to new audiences (their "Rapture" featuring Fab Five Freddy being case in point). "I was pleased with the mixed reaction," Stein said after the AMAs. "I’d much rather have us do something controversial than safe."

Today, "No Exit" might sound like a jarring marriage between classical music — with its use of Bach’s "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" — and thumping modern rap, but it isn’t a serious sonic exercise. Blondie instead impishly reminds us of the endless loop ("no exit") of their past music and the music industry, as their famed tunes might as well be as dated as those of the baroque era. The band goes philosophical with the reboot — even nodding to Jean-Paul Sartre’s bleak existential play No Exit — but conversely finds freedom adopting this adage. 

The 1999 regrouping netted Blondie chart success, new fandom, and a world tour. Yet it also brought up some personal problems. In Under a Rock, Stein admitted he was trying to gradually decrease his use of methadone, but touring demands made recovery difficult.

Still, Blondie’s return helped galvanize their popular image as enduring punk and new wave pioneers. (It might not be surprising that no Blondie album since has charted as high as No Exit at No. 18 in the U.S. and No. 3 in the U.K.) The band hasn’t pumped the brakes either, riding the renewed popularity for decades since with new music and tours of the world over.

But No Exit offered audiences something that their four following albums haven't achieved: a cutting and experimental sound that also acknowledged the artifice of the pop rock music they were making. Even recent successes like 2017’s Pollinator sounded fun and youthful, but were a largely series of songs written or co-written by other artists that aimed to appease current pop music tastes. 

The album title might sound suffocating or even nihilistic, but to Blondie No Exit was a belated self-acceptance. "I mean, there is no exit," Harry commented to journalist Michael Hill in 2013. "You work so hard to establish something, and then that’s it, there you are." 

Twenty-five years on, Blondie showed a dawning new millennium who they were: A punk band who embraced sounds with abandon while celebrating the fantasy of being dissent rock stars. Like reading a sign "last exit before freeway," Blondie saw No Exit as a moment to hit the gas and drive straight on through.    

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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A Beginner’s Guide To The Grateful Dead: 5 Ways To Get Into The Legendary Jam Band
The Grateful Dead (from left): Bill Kreutzman, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Brent Mydland and Mickey Hart

Photo: Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS/VCG via Getty Images

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A Beginner’s Guide To The Grateful Dead: 5 Ways To Get Into The Legendary Jam Band

Not a Deadhead? Dread not; GRAMMY.com offers a few suggested routes to begin your long strange trip with the Grateful Dead.

GRAMMYs/Sep 11, 2023 - 01:58 pm

Just because you never traded bootleg tapes with strangers or dropped acid to experience that Timothy Leary whacked-out feeling, you can still appreciate the Grateful Dead. 

When the Dead began their psychedelic trip back in the late 1960s, the media categorized their followers as lazy, counter-culture drop-outs. The reality: these devotees, known today as Deadheads, were just music-lovers that shared values and believed in the power of community, peace and love. Today, Deadhead culture and the band’s popularity is as relevant as ever. Even as the original fans age, new Gen Z disciples arrive each year to carry on the jams.  

Flash back to San Francisco, 1965. The original lineup, calling themselves the Warlocks, formed from the remnants of Palo Alto band Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions and Bay Area folk group the Wildwood Boys. After learning of another group called the Warlocks, the band became the Grateful Dead overnight. The story goes that guitarist/vocalist Jerry Garcia picked the band’s name randomly from the dictionary. 

The earliest gigs under this new moniker occurred at Ken Kesey’s infamous Acid Test parties. Founding members were: Garcia; Bob Weir (rhythm guitar/vocals); Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (harmonica, keyboards/vocals); Phil Lesh (bass) and Bill Kreutzmann on drums. Robert Hunter and Mickey Hart joined the group in 1967. 

The Grateful Dead were a free-flowing fusion of folk, rock, soul, blues and jazz, and their improvisational approach to the music created a new classification in the lexicon: a "jam band." A Dead concert was all about the songs, the feelings, and the interplay between musicians. The jams mattered, not perfection. 

Playing live was where the Grateful Dead made their money (they were one of the top grossing touring acts for decades), playing some 2,200 plus concerts globally in its 30-year career. Deadheads recorded these shows, traded tapes, and followed the white line in VW vans from town to town to take communion with the group night after night. No two shows were the same. Songs meandered longer or shorter depending on where the music — and the Deadheads — led them on any given evening. 

When Jerry Garcia died on Aug. 9, 1995, the remaining members said without their charismatic leader, the Grateful Dead (at least in name) was dead. However, the spirit of the band has carried on with the various solo projects, the Dead & Company (featuring some of the original band members) and countless jam bands. 

The Dead defined an era. The band represented a subculture that influenced the mainstream for decades from lifestyle to fashion; from music to marketing. More than 50 years since the Grateful Dead started jamming, Deadheads are still grateful for the music. 

How do you get into — but also get —  the Grateful Dead? There is no one way. Like all music, to quote the prophet Robert "Nesta" Marley: "when it hits you feel no pain." The important thing with the Dead’s music is that you feel something.  

With the release next month of a deluxe expanded and remastered version of Wake of the Flood (the band’s 1973 debut on Grateful Dead Records), here’s a primer on how to get into these merrymakers, who received a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Start that long strange trip with these five ways to appreciate — and get to know — the Grateful Dead. 

Start With The Classics

Released just five months apart in 1970 Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty are the touchstones. This pair of albums represented a shift for the band from its psychedelic roots to an Americana road of devotion; the influence of the Bakersfield sound is all over these songs. Do a deep listen of these records and hear some of the Dead’s best-loved classics and Dead show setlist staples for decades. Discover the beauty of the music, the complexity of the arrangements and the heartfelt harmony. 

Workingman’s Dead, released in June 1970, opens with "Uncle John’s Band" — one of the band’s most well-known songs and most oft-covered — it was also the band’s first chart hit. Among the rest of the eight songs here, "Casey Jones," about a train engineer speeding down the tracks "high on cocaine," is another classic.   

American Beauty, the band’s fifth studio record, showcased the Dead at their creative heights and has gone on to double-platinum certification Arriving Nov. 1, 1970, the album is an Americana masterpiece that features acoustically-inclined country-rock numbers mixed with toe-tapping, groovy psychedelic jams. 

Put on your headphones to truly savor the 10 songs that include live regulars: "Friend of the Devil," "Truckin,’" "Box of Rain," "Sugar Magnolia" and "Ripple."

Jam On: Appreciate & Listen To The Followers

The Allman Brothers Band are a close cousin of the Grateful Dead; they also loved to jam and fuse genres. In the 1980s and 1990s many other bands became Dead disciples, among them Phish, Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler, the Dave Matthews Band, Government Mule and the String Cheese Incident. 

These groups continue the jam band tradition for new generations. This in-the-moment, letting the music go where it was meant to go, is their guidepost. The jam band spirit is evident in this 11-minute live version of the Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post" recorded at the Fillmore East in 1973. 

And, let’s not forget those Vermont boys Phish, who showcased their ability to jam with the best of the best during a string of 13 concerts, from July 21 to August 6, 2017 at Madison Square Garden (MSG), dubbed The Baker’s Dozen. Each night of the residency — which has continued, with slightly fewer dates, for years — featured a different set list with no songs repeated throughout this residency at MSG. Night four included a 29-minute jam of their song "Lawn Boy."

Keep On Truckin’: Follow The Long & Winding Road To Uncover More Dead Songs 

The Grateful Dead released 13 studio albums and 77 live records. Their archives are vast and deep, and new live recordings are being released every year. The joy of getting into the Grateful Dead is that there is no rulebook. Just as their shows had no set structure, becoming a Dead fan has no defined musts. That said, here are another trio of songs you must listen to to better understand and appreciate this band.

"Friend of the Devil"

The second song from American Beauty, this acoustic number is a quintessential Dead track. 

"Franklin’s Tower"

First released in 1975 on Blues for Allah, this rollicking number with its repetitive chorus telling you to "roll away the dew," is one of the Dead’s most catchy numbers. Just listen to the live version on Dead Set and try to disagree. 

"Touch of Grey"

The Grateful Dead got another mainstream bump in the late '80s thanks to MTV. The video (the first ever official one made by the Dead) for this single from the 1987 album In the Dark, featured the band turned into life-size marionette skeletons playing this song live. The memorable refrain: "I will get by/ I will survive," and heavy rotation on TV, helped this song become a Top 10 Billboard hit (the group’s only Top 40 charting song of its 30-year-career), bringing the Dead’s music to a new generation. 

Get Turned On & Tune Out 

After listening to some of the Dead’s best live records like Europe ‘72 and Dead Set (1981), subscribe to the Grateful Dead’s YouTube channel. Make sure you’ve got time on your side; for if you go down this rabbit hole, there is no telling when you might resurface. 

That's not a bad thing. Get a taste of what it was like to attend a Dead show. Watch a Dead concert from different decades like this show at the famed San Francisco Winterland on New Year’s Eve in 1978, this one from California’s Shoreline Amphitheatre in 1987, or this one from 1990 at Three RIvers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Read On! The Dead Are Far From Dead 

Thousands of scholarly theses have been written — and continue to be published — on the band; college courses have been created and even a journal is devoted to discussing the cultural significance of the Grateful Dead. Marketing gurus have shared business lessons learned from the band such as the innovative ways they sold and promoted their music. Head to your local library or independent bookstore and ask what books they have on the Grateful Dead. 

A quick Google search reveals dozens upon dozens devoted to this American band: from memoirs written by Dead members Mickey Hart and Phil Lesh, to academic explorations and longform odes by Deadheads. Ready to dive deeper? This film offers an in-depth look at Deadheads’ devotion and gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the connection between a fanbase and a band. And learn more here than you ever thought you wanted — or needed — to know about the Grateful Dead. What a long, strange trip it’s been. 

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Remembering Robbie Robertson: 7 Essential Tracks From The Roots Music Trailblazer
Robbie Robertson in 2013

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

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Remembering Robbie Robertson: 7 Essential Tracks From The Roots Music Trailblazer

The driving force behind the influential act the Band died Aug. 9 at age 80.

GRAMMYs/Aug 10, 2023 - 02:17 pm

As a songwriter, guitarist, artist, composer and armchair historian, Robbie Robertson richly impacted music throughout a 50-plus-year career. The multiple GRAMMY nominee and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award died on Aug. 9 at age 80. 

Those who think of Robertson as the architect of the Band have unquestionably identified his most essential work, but they also risk selling short his immense contributions to music. He backed Bob Dylan, led a band that laid the foundation for Americana, was the subject of one of cinema’s great concert films, and enjoyed a long affiliation with Martin Scorsese as one of his musical muses. 

Born Jaime Royal Robertson in Toronto, Ontario, to a family with Jewish and Mohawk ancestry, Robertson found himself drawn to American traditions — from the blues and country music, and to both's ethos of self-invention. These traditions would greatly impact his prolific musical output, as well as the sound of rock. 

Robertson first hooked up with the members of the Band at age 15 when they were the Hawks, the backing band for rockabilly star Ronnie Hawkins. In the mid-’60s they became the backing band for Bob Dylan’s famed first electric tour. That turned into recording sessions with the Bard in Woodstock, N.Y., ultimately released almost a decade later as the renowned the Basement Tapes

The Band’s first two albums — 1968’s Music from Big Pink and 1969’s self-titled the Band — were both critically acclaimed records that were unique amalgams of rock, folk, country and blues immersed in American iconography. Both albums, as well as the Basement Tapes, have been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame. 

"The Band’s music shocked the excess out of the Renaissance and were an essential part of the final back-to-the-roots trend of ’60s," Stevie Van Zandt tweeted in eulogy. 

The Band’s breakup was immortalized with the 1978 Martin Scorsese-directed The Last Waltz, which Rolling Stone called the greatest concert film of all time. 

Not long after, Robertson began working with Scorsese as a composer and music supervisor, including on such towering films as Raging Bull and Goodfellas. His solo output included Storyville, a nod to the history and music of New Orleans, and Music for Native Americans, which honors the spirit of his own Mohawk roots. 

As a solo artist, Robertson has earned five GRAMMY nominations, including Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media for The Wolf Of Wall Street in 2015. Robertson also wrote several books, co-authoring Legends, Icons and Rebels: Music That Changed the World and an autobiography, among other tomes. At the time of his passing, Robertson had recently completed his 14th project with Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon.

In a statement, Scorsese called Roberston "one of my closest friends, a constant in my life and my work." The filmmaker continued to note that Robertson and the Band's music "seemed to come from the deepest place at the heart of this continent, its traditions and tragedies and joys. It goes without saying that he was a giant, that his effect on the art form was profound and lasting."

A career so varied deserves a varied list of essential musical memories. Read on for seven releases that demonstrate Robbie Robertson's varied musical genius. 

"Yazoo Street Scandal" (1967)  

The Robertson-penned "Yazoo Street Scandal" is one of the first true Band recordings, though they were still the Hawks at the time. Though released formally in 1975, the track was part of the original Basement Tapes bootlegs recorded with Dylan in 1967. 

The blueprint was already apparent: the earthy and rambling playing, Levon Helm’s unstudied and twangy singing, and Robertson playing where mythology meets reality in the form of a narrative around an actual Arkansas street called Yazoo.  

"The Weight" (1968) 

"The Weight" was most of America’s introduction to the Band and the group's first "hit" (it peaked at No. 63 on the U.S. charts), the song would prove more influential on the artist community than the mass market. The song established the Band as progenitors of what would become known as Americana, with blues and country overtones, roadhouse piano and its cryptic story rife with Southern gothic and Biblical allusions. 

Covered numerous times over the years, Aretha Franklin’s noteworthy version features Duane Allman on slide guitar. 

"Up on Cripple Creek"/"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (1969) 

This double-sided single was the Band’s biggest hit, with "Cripple," the A-side, hitting No. 25 in the United States. Though Robertson has said even he doesn’t know the meaning of the song, it seems to turn on the strength and solace men derive from women. 

But it’s "Dixie" that has become a Band signature. A story song that feels like authentic folklore, it takes a seemingly empathetic view on the Civil War South. Critics have argued it glorifies the antebellum South, while others see in it a personal story of a Southerner caught up in a senseless war. Joan Baez’ hit version made it a staple in the summer of 1971.  

"If You Know What I Mean" (1976) 

Neil Diamond would seem an unlikely client for Robertson the producer, but the latter likely related to Diamond’s Brooklyn roots and Brill Building history. Beautiful Noise was a song cycle of sorts about Diamond’s early years in Don Kirshner’s song factory and his bittersweet remembrances of a time gone by — all of which would have resonated with Robertson’s appreciation of music’s roots and traditions. 

"If You Know What I Mean" just missed the U.S. Top 10, but the album went platinum and was one of Diamond’s most critically well-received, proving Robertson’s versatile abilities. It’s also one of the few albums in pop history where the producer shares top billing with the artist on the album’s cover. 

"Webster Hall" (1980) 

Raging Bull, Robertson’s first collab with Scorsese as a music supervisor/composer, happened to produce what many critics consider one the top films of all time. 

"Webster Hall" is a jaunty jazz club instrumental with some sterling keyboard work by the Band’s Garth Hudson. Most importantly, it was the start of a yearslong association between Robertson and Scorsese that began with the latter directing the Band concert film the Last Waltz

 "Broken Arrow" (1987) 

Robertson released only a handful of solo albums, each one moving progressively toward ethereal instrumentals and new agey world music. "Broken Arrow" came from his first effort, released in 1987 and produced by Daniel Lanois

Robertson’s haunting growl, the detailed arrangements and guests such as Peter Gabriel and Manu Katché show he was exploring a broader soundscape than the Band allowed. A 1991 cover went Top 20 for Rod Stewart

Robbie Robertson Visits The GRAMMY Museum