Leader Of The Rock Group That Produced Hits Such As “Up On Cripple Creek” Dies At 80

Musician Robbie Robertson who is best known as the leader of the rock group The Band has died. He was 80 years old. Robertson’s manager, Jared Levine, announced the sad news sharing that “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.”

Levine added that Robertson “is survived by his grandchildren Angelica, Donovan, Dominic, Gabriel and Seraphina.” Levine did not mention a specific cause of death but stated that he died following a long illness.

Robertson was born on the Six Nations Reserve outside Toronto, Canada. He had already started playing guitar when he was 10 years old. By 1965, he and the main members that would go on to form The Band were on tour with Bob Dylan. 

In 1968, Robertson and his bandmates first started calling themselves The Band. That same year, they released their debut album, “Music from Big Pink.” In 1994, they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Robertson was both the lead guitar player and songwriter for The Band. Some of the most famous songs that he wrote are “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “The Weight” and “Up on Cripple Creek.”

Robertson also had a solo career. He released his first solo album in 1987 and went on to release another five solo albums throughout his career.

In 1978, Robertson appeared in a documentary about The Band’s final concert. The film, which was called “The Last Waltz” was directed by Martin Scorsese. That was the beginning of a long working relationship with the talented director.

Robertson ended up producing songs for 14 different Scorsese films including “Raging Bull,” “The Departed,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and “The Irishman.” His most recent project was for Scorsese’s film “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Upon learning the news of Robertson’s death, Scorsese reflected, “Robbie Robertson was one of my closest friends, a constant in my life and my work.” He added, “Long before we ever met, his music played a central role in my life—me and millions and millions of other people all over this world. The Band’s music, and Robbie’s own later solo music, seemed to come from the deepest place at the heart of this continent, its traditions and tragedies and joys.”

Rest in peace.