Robbie Robertson writes The Band out of history
The Band guitarist Robbie Robertson has written a book about the most influential artists of the rock era – and deliberately left his own group out.
And while Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed The World covers Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Little Richard, the Beach Boys, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly and many others, Robertson is happy that The Band aren’t between the covers.
He tells GlobalNews: “I made them take it out. I just didn’t want to be a distraction – I didn’t feel comfortable with that.
“I understood perfectly that The Band was one of the biggest examples of combining music into a whole new flavour. We did that more than anybody else.
“It just felt like, ‘Hey, here’s the greatest recording artists of all time, the music that that changed the world… and I made sure I was in there.’ I didn’t want that weighing over me.”
In fact, Robertson was far more excited about catching up with Chuck Berry during the extensive round of interviews he and co-author Jim Guerinot conducted. They showed the 86-year-old a picture on a phone in order to jog his memory, and a surprised Berry asked: “Can my phone do that?”
Guerinot says: “All of a sudden I’m sitting next to Chuck giving him an iPhone tutorial. I was like, ‘This is the greatest thing in life.’”
“I think the world of Chuck,” Robertson reflects. “He still gets up and performs. He can’t hear, but he still sings those songs.”
While the new book is designed to act as a young person’s introduction to the defining years of rock history, Robertson is also working on his memoir. “The more I’m writing, the more I’m realising that I’ve got a few stories to tell,” he says. Bbut he won’t set a date for completion.