Clapton and Dylan on Levon & The Band | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / June 18.
  • Clapton and Dylan on Levon & The Band

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    RIP to the great Levon Helm, who died Thursday at 71 from complications of cancer.

    Jon Pareles’ excellent obit from The New York Times is here.

    To fully understand the significance and importance of Levon and The Band, know that Eric Clapton once quit Cream to ask if he could join The Band. (See the above video from Clapton introducing The Band at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.)

    And for me it was serious.  It was serious, and it was grown up, and it was mature, and it told stories, and it had beautiful harmonies, fantastic singing, beautiful musicianship without any virtuosity.  Just economy and beauty.  And I wanted to be in the band.  So I went and told Jack and Ginger that I couldn’t go on anymore.  There was something else happening that I had to bow out of because.  And I went – Robbie and the boys will never know this – but I went to visit the Band in Woodstock, and I really sort of went there to ask if I could join the band.  I mean, I didn’t have the guts to say it – I didn’t have the nerve.  I just sort of sat there and watched these guys work.  And I remember Robbie saying, “We don’t jam.  We don’t jam, so there’s no point in sitting here and trying to, you know… We just write and work.”  And I was very impressed, you know? And from that day, I spent the rest of my career – until The Last Waltz, anyway – trying to find ways to imitate what they had.  And it was an impossible dream, really, because from where I came from, and from where they came from, completely different worlds.

    And here’s Bob Dylan, who fronted The Band until they went off on their own, on Levon’s passing:

    He was my bosom buddy friend to the end, one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation. This is just so sad to talk about. I still can remember the first day I met him and the last day I saw him. We go back pretty far and had been through some trials together. I’m going to miss him, as I’m sure a whole lot of others will too.

    Here’s Levon at the top of his game with “Don’t Do It””

    And here’s Jim James covering Rick Danko’s “It Makes No Difference” with Levon and his band. Shit breaks my heart.

    God Bless you, Levon, and thanks for the music.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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