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Robbie Robertson

Robbie Robertson dies aged 80

10 August 2023, 12:57 | Written by Tyler Damara Kelly

The guitarist had previously collabroated with Bob Dylan, The Band, Martin Scorsese, and Ronnie Hawkins.

Robbie Robertson, best known for his work as a member of The Band, has died, surrounded by family in Los Angeles, as reported by his manager. A statement from his family was posted to Instagram, which 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."

They also noted that "Robertson recently completed his fourteenth film music project with frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon". The duo have previously worked on the likes of The King Of Comedy, Casino, Shutter Island, Gangs of New York, Wolf of Wall Street, The Irishman and more.

Scorcese shared a tribute to his friend, saying to Pitchfork, “Robbie Robertson was one of my closest friends, a constant in my life and my work. I could always go to him as a confidante. A collaborator. An advisor. I tried to be the same for him.”

"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," he continued. "It goes without saying that he was a giant, that his effect on the art form was profound and lasting. There’s never enough time with anyone you love. And I loved Robbie."

Robertson met Ronnie Hawkins and his group the Hawks on the bar band circuit around Toronto. Robertson took up with the group as a guitarist alongside Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson. After Robertson and his other colleagues split from Hawkins, Bob Dylan recruited the group to be his backing band in 1965. The Band followed Dylan to Woodstock, New York, where they holed up in the house that lent the title to their 1968 debut Music from Big Pink, and recorded what became The Basement Tapes.

Writing on X (Twitter), Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood said: "Such sad news about Robbie Robertson - he was a lovely man, a great friend and will be dearly missed." Stevie van Zandt, a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, said Robertson was a "good friend" and "underrated brilliant guitar player".

Bryan Adams and Neil Diamond have also shared tributes to the guitarist, with the latter writing, "The music world lost a great one with the passing of Robbie Robertson. Keep making that Beautiful Noise in the sky, Robbie. I’ll miss you."

Robbie Robertson had been battling prostate cancer for a year.

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