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Levon Helm, Drummer for the Band, Dies at 71 [VIDEO]

Levon Helm at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Rick Diamond/Getty)

One of music’s best singing drummers has passed away.

Levon Helm died April 19 at the age of 71 after a battle with cancer. He was drummer and vocalist for the Band who backed up Bob Dylan during his 1965 and 1966 tours.

Helm was also part of the first Ringo Starr All Starr Band in 1989 along with Clarence Clemons, Dr. John, Rick Danko (his Band-mate), Joe Walsh, Nils Lofgren, Billy Preston, Jim Keltner and of course Ringo Starr.

In recent years, Levon Helm won 3 Grammy Awards;

Best Traditional Folk Album for ‘Dirt Farmer’ in 2007

Best Americana Album for ‘Electric Dirt’ in 2009

Best American Album for ‘Ramble At The Ryman’ in 2011

Levon Helm at the Beacon Theatre, New York in 2008 (Rob Loud/Getty)

Levon Helm was born in Marvell, Arkansas and grew up in Turkey Scratch. After seeing Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys, Helm decided to become a musician.

His first band was the Jungle Bush Beaters while in high school. In 1959 he joined Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks. That Canadian band eventually became the Band with members; Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, Robbie Robertson and Garth Hudson. They were originally called Levon and the Hawks.

The Band recorded ‘Music From Big Pink’ and six more albums before they ended the Band at ‘The Last Waltz’ in 1976. That concert was filmed by director Martin Scorsese.

Helm also did some acting, playing Loretta Lynn’s father in ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ with Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones.

In 2010, a documentary was released called ‘Ain’t in It for My Health:A Film About Levon Helm.’

Levon Helm gets my vote for music’s all time best singing drummer, he will be missed.

Check out Ringo Starr’s first All Starr Band led by Levon Helm on ‘The Weight.’

Ringo Starr\’s All Starr Band \’The Weight\’ 1989 (YouTube)


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