Robbie Robertson, the Canadian songwriter and guitarist who helped define the sound of American roots music with the Band, died on Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 80.
His manager, Jared Levine, said Robertson died after a long illness.
Robertson was born in Toronto in 1943. He began his career as a session musician in New York City, playing with artists such as Bob Dylan and Ronnie Hawkins. In 1965, he co-founded the Band with Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, and Richard Manuel.
The Band’s music was a fusion of rock, blues, country, and gospel. Their songs often explored the dark side of American history and culture, but they also had a strong sense of hope.
The Band’s most famous album, “The Last Waltz,” was recorded in 1976 and released the following year. It featured guest appearances by Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, and many others.
After the Band broke up in 1976, Robertson pursued a solo career. He released several albums, including “Robbie Robertson” (1987) and “Music for the Native Americans” (1990).
Robertson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 as a member of the Band. He was also awarded the Order of Canada in 2009.
His death is a major loss for the music world. Robertson was a gifted songwriter and guitarist who helped shape the sound of American roots music. His songs will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.