LIVE AT THE
1971 ACADEMY OF
YEAR-END CONCERTS, INCLUDING THE COMPLETE
YEAR’S EVE SET
During the final week of 1971, The Band played four legendary concerts at
’s New York City , ushering in the New Year with
electrifying performances, including new horn arrangements by Allen Toussaint
and a surprise guest appearance by Bob Dylan for a New Year’s Eve encore. Select highlights from the concerts were
compiled for The Band’s classic 1972 double LP, Rock Of Ages, which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and
remains a core album in the trailblazing group’s Capitol Records
catalogue. For the first time, all four
of the concerts’ multi-track recordings have been revisited for Live At The Academy Of Music 1971,
a new 4CD+ Academy Of Music DVD collection. The expansive
new collection features new stereo and 5.1 Surround mixes, including 19
previously unreleased performances and newly discovered footage of two songs
filmed by Howard Alk and Murray Lerner. Live At The Academy Of Music 1971
takes a deep dive into The Band’s historic shows for a definitive document of
the pioneering group’s stage prowess at the apex of their career. The collection’s first two discs will also be
released as a 2CD set.
Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 is presented in a deluxe, 48-page hardbound book with previously unseen photos, a reproduction of Rolling Stone’s original Rock Of Ages review by magazine co-founder Ralph J. Gleason, an essay by The Band’s Robbie Robertson, and appreciations of The Band and the set’s recordings by Mumford & Sons and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. The collection’s first two discs feature performances of every song played over the course of the four concerts, and the New Year’s Eve soundboard mix on discs 3 and 4 puts the listener in the room for that entire legendary night: Uncut, unedited, taken straight from the master recordings and presented in full for the first time. The set’s
presents the tracks from discs 1 and 2 in 5.1 Surround, plus Alk and Lerner’s
filmed performances of “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)” and “The W.S. Walcott
By the late 1960s, The Band had become one of the most popular and influential rock groups in the world. Robertson, reflecting on the time and the decision to record the
concerts, recalls, “We were in a huddle
of playing music, enjoying what we were doing, and I had a feeling, ‘We should
capture this.’ To end 1971 with these
shows felt, for all of us, like the right thing to do. This is a fulfillment of that extraordinary
musical experience that I feel great about sharing.” Academy Of Music
Of the set’s complete New Year’s Eve recording, Robertson says, “This is like being there. It was the final night; there was a thrill in the air. We were excited about New Year’s Eve, and then Dylan joined us for the encore. When he came out, we thought we could wing it, and wing it we did. We thought, ‘We’re not gonna fall off this wire.’ That whole night had a bit of magic to it.”
The Band’s members shared an extensive collaborative history. Between 1960 and 1962, the then-teenaged multi-instrumentalists Levon Helm (drums, vocals, mandolin), Robbie Robertson (guitar, piano, vocals), Rick Danko (bass, vocals, fiddle), Richard Manuel (keyboards, vocals, drums) and Garth Hudson (keyboards, horns) first performed and recorded together as members of the backing band for Ronnie Hawkins called the Hawks. In late 1963, the Hawks struck out on their own and became Levon & the Hawks, playing and recording under this name in 1964 and 1965.
In 1965, Robertson met with Bob Dylan in
, just as Dylan was seeking an electric guitarist
for his touring band. The Band was born, with all of the former Hawks backing Dylan
on the road from October 1965 through 1966 as he incensed audiences in the New
York , U.S. and Australia Europe, performing electric sets. Disheartened by the
vocally disdainful ‘folkie purist’ audience response to their first plugged-in
performances with Dylan, Helm left The Band in November 1965.
After the 1966 tour concluded, The Band spent the next year in upstate New York, often in the company of Dylan, forging a highly original sound that in one way or another encompassed the panoply of American roots music: country, blues, R&B, gospel, soul, rockabilly, the honking tenor sax tradition, Anglican hymns, funeral dirges, brass band music, folk music, modern rock, fused and synthesized in ways that no one had ever before thought possible.
Helm re-joined The Band in 1967, as the group prepared to record their first full-length album. Released in 1968, Music From Big Pink received glowing reviews; a journalist for Life magazine wrote that The Band “dipped into the well of tradition and came up with a bucketful of clear, cool, country soul that washed the ears with a sound never heard before.” While the album only reached No. 30 on Billboard’s chart when it was released, it has become recognised over time as one of the most important albums in the history of rock.
Between 1968 and 1978, The Band released nine albums. In 1989, The Band was inducted into the Canadian Juno Hall of Fame; five years later they were accorded the same honour by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2008, The Band was honoured with The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sadly, three members of The Band, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Levon Helm, have passed away, but The Band’s legacy lives on, in their recordings and in their tangible influence on popular music since they first hit the scene, wowing not only Bob Dylan, but many other major players of the day, including Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and Miles Davis. Making
music before the term even existed, Rick, Levon, Garth, Richard and Robbie
collectively constituted the only ensemble to ever rightfully earn the
sobriquet The Band Americana
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