Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mark Lavon Helm (1940-2012)

As the 1960s progressed, the genre known as "rock and roll" took numerous directions, depending upon its inspiration. Was it from country, or folk, or blues, or jazz?

One of those directions was a departure from the usual psychedelia and "acid rock" that was emerging at the time. Shortly after folksinger-songwriter Bob Dylan went electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, he found a group of collaborators in the form of a band known simply as "The Band." Among them was the drummer and multi-instrumentalist Levon Helm, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 71. Only two days earlier, his family disclosed that he was in the late stages of cancer. Then came the announcement ...

Levon Helm passed peacefully this afternoon. He was surrounded by family, friends and band mates and will be remembered by all he touched as a brilliant musician and a beautiful soul.

... and this writer was reminded of being present for the passing of his own father two months earlier. recently did an piece about the 1978 film documentary of the band's farewell concert, The Last Waltz, directed by Martin Scorcese. Apparently, “Helm hated Scorsese’s film, but he made it worth watching.”

And so he was. Rest in peace, Levon.

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