The Weight — Levon Helm Tribute Week

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The Weight” was released by The Band as Capi­tol Records sin­gle 2269 in 1968, and appeared one week later on the group’s debut album Music from Big Pink. The song is listed as #41 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Great­est Songs of All Time pub­lished in 2004, and Pitch­fork Media named it the thir­teenth best song of the Six­ties. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named it one of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

In his auto­bi­og­ra­phy This Wheel’s on Fire, Levon Helm explains that the peo­ple men­tioned in the song were based on real peo­ple The Band knew. The “Miss Anna Lee” men­tioned in the lyric is Helm’s long­time friend Anna Lee Amsden.

On August 17, 1969, The Band played “The Weight” as the 10th song in their set at Wood­stock. Due to con­trac­tual prob­lems, The Band’s ver­sion was used in the movie, but not the sound­track for Easy Rider - included instead on the film’s sound­track was a cover (very closely resem­bling The Band’s orig­i­nal) by Smith. In The Band’s con­cert film, The Last Waltz, The Band per­form the song with the The Sta­ple Singers.

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