Robbie Robertson of The Band Dies at 80
Robbie Robertson — guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for The Band — has died. He was 80.
Robertson’s death was confirmed in a statement from his manager, Jared Levine, to Variety. It read, “Robbie was surrounded by his family at the time of his death, including his wife, Janet, his ex-wife, Dominique, her partner Nicholas, and his children Alexandra, Sebastian, Delphine, and Delphine’s partner Kenny.”
The statement continued, “He is also survived by his grandchildren Angelica, Donovan, Dominic, Gabriel, and Seraphina. Robertson recently completed his fourteenth film music project with frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Six Nations of the Grand River to support the building of their new cultural center.”
An exact cause of death wasn’t disclosed, but it was noted Robertson died following “a long illness.”
Robertson had a prolific music career with The Band. They, of course, were first known as the Hawks and were the backing band for Ronnie Hawkins. After their time with Hawkins, they famously backed up Bob Dylan.
The Band is responsible for some of rock’s most beloved songs like “The Weight,” “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” all of which were written by Robertson.
The Band famously helped perfect the art of the “rockumentary”/concert film with The Last Waltz. Filmed on Thankgiving Day on November 25, 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom, The Last Waltz was directed by Martin Scorsese. The show was billed as The Band’s final concert performance. They were joined by a stacked lineup of guests including Hawkins and Dylan, as well as Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris and more.
Robertson went on to have a decades-long partnership with Scorsese. He composed or produced music and served as executive music producer for a number of Scorsese’s films. Among Robertson’s credits on Scorsese films are 1980’s Raging Bull, 1982’s The King of Comedy, 1986’s The Color of Money, 2002’s Gangs of New York, 2006’s The Departed, 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street and 2019’s The Irishman.