Rock and roll legend Levon Helm has died at the age of 71.
Earlier this week it was revealed that Helm was in the final stages of his battle with throat cancer. Helm’s longtime friend and collaborator Larry Campbell told the Times-Herald Record: “We lost Levon at 1:30 today surrounded by friends and family and his musicians have visited him. As sad as this was, it was very peaceful.”
Alongside Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, and Garth Hudson, Helm began his musical career as a member of Ronnie Hawkins’ band the Hawks in the 1960s. After parting ways with Hawkins a few years later, the quartet renamed themselves The Band and were soon hired to serve as Bob Dylan’s backing band. Helm played with Dylan during the infamous “electric” tour and was involved in the recordings that eventually became known as The Basement Tapes. Ultimately, The Band found success on their own with hits like “The Weight” and “Up on Cripple Creek”.
After The Band broke up in the late 1970s, Helm released a string of solo albums and toured with Ringo Starr. In the late 1990s, Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer and he paid for his medical bills with benefit concerts at his Woodstock, NY barn known as the Midnight Ramble. He recovered in the 2000s, ultimately regained his voice, and had been performing shows up until a few weeks ago.