Robbie Robertson, born Jaime Royal Robertson, died yesterday from prostate cancer. Mr. Robertson was 80.
Robbie Robertson began playing in singing groups that he formed right out of high school. His most famous group, The Band, served as opening act for Bob Dylan before going on to become one of the most influential groups of the era. The Band made the cover of Time magazine in 1970 due to their impact. Eric Clapton loved their music so much that he offered to join their group. His offer was politely refused. While in The Band, some of the songs Robbie Robertson wrote included “The Weight”, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, and “Up on Cripple Creek”.
Robbie Robertson would go on to have a solo career. He also branched out into film as an actor, soundtrack composer and producer. Mr. Robertson shared many collaborations with Martin Scorsese including The Last Waltz (1978), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1983), Casino (1995), The Departed (2006), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), The Irishman (2019), and Killers of the Flower Moon (2023).
Robbie Robertson is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame along with other members of his group, The Band.
In 1980, Robbie Robertson co-wrote and co-starred in Carny with Jodie Foster, Gary Busey, Meg Foster, Kenneth McMillan, Elisha Cook Jr., Tim Thomerson, Bill McKinney, Bert Remsen and Craig Wasson. I saw Carny back in 1980 and really enjoyed it. I felt it was very underrated. Had he wanted to, Robbie Robertson could have had a career as an actor.
Robbie Robertson, along with his son Sebastian, and friends Jim Guerinot and Jared Levine co-authored Legends, Icons and Rebels: Music That Changed the World. Mr. Robertson wrote Hiawatha and the Peacemaker with illustrations by David Shannon. Mr. Robertson also wrote his autobiography Testimony.
Our thoughts and prayers go our to Robbie Robertson’s family, friends and fans.