- READ MORE: The Band’s Robbie Robertson: “If there was anything wrong with ‘The Last Waltz’ it was that the cocaine wasn’t very good”
The news was confirmed on Wednesday night (August 9) via The Band’s management on social media. The statement, which originally came from Robertson’s family, reads: “Robbie was surrounded by his family at the time of his death, including his wife, Janet, his ex-wife, Dominique, her partner Nicholas, and his children Alexandra, Sebastian, Delphine, and Delphine’s partner Kenny.”
Robbie Robertson is survived by his grandchildren Angelica, Donovan, Dominic, Gabriel, and Seraphina.
Robertson’s family has called for donations to be made to the Six Nations of the Grand River in lieu of sending flowers. The donations will be helped to support a new Woodland Cultural Centre.
Robbie Robertson met Ronnie Hawkins, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson as a teenager, and they went on to form The Hawks. Following the band’s split from Hawkins in 1965, they were recruited to be Bob Dylan‘s backing band during his pivot to non-acoustic music.
Robertson and co. then rebranded themselves as The Band, and released their debut album ‘Music from Big Pink’ in 1968. They would go on to release hits like ‘The Weight’, ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ ‘Up on Cripple Creek’ and ‘It Makes No Difference’ until their farewell show in 1976.
Robertson would go on to work with his former Band members in other side projects while also releasing solo material throughout the rest of his career. He released his self-titled debut in 1986 and his sophomore record, ‘Storyville’, in 1991, and contributed to records by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Ringo Starr, Neil Diamond and others. Robertson released his final solo album, ‘Sinematic’, in 2019.
Since The Last Waltz, Robertson had maintained a creative relationship with Martin Scorsese, who also produced 2019’s Once Were Brothers documentary based on Robertson’s recollections.
Robertson went on to score several of Scorsese’s films, including Raging Bull, Casino, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Irishmen. His last collaboration with Scorsese will come in the form of score for Killers of the Flower Moon score, which is set for release later this year.
Following the news of his death, tributes have begun pouring in for the late musician.
Scorsese said of Robertson via a statement to Pitchfork: “Robbie Robertson was one of my closest friends, a constant in my life and my work. I could always go to him as a confidante. A collaborator. An advisor. I tried to be the same for him.”
“Long before we ever met, his music played a central role in my life—me and millions and millions of other people all over this world. The Band’s music, and Robbie’s own later solo music, seemed to come from the deepest place at the heart of this continent, its traditions and tragedies and joys. It goes without saying that he was a giant, that his effect on the art form was profound and lasting. There’s never enough time with anyone you love. And I loved Robbie,” Scorsese continued.
Neil Diamond wrote on Twitter: “The music world lost a great one with the passing of Robbie Robertson. Keep making that Beautiful Noise in the sky, Robbie. I’ll miss you.”
The music world lost a great one with the passing of Robbie Robertson. Keep making that Beautiful Noise in the sky, Robbie. I’ll miss you.
— Neil Diamond (@NeilDiamond) August 9, 2023
Joni Mitchell’s team wrote: “Rest in peace Robbie Robertson, legendary lead guitarist of The Band, fellow Canadian, and cherished collaborator of Joni’s. May his legacy and musical harmony resonate for generations to come.”
Rest in peace Robbie Robertson, legendary lead guitarist of The Band, fellow Canadian, and cherished collaborator of Joni's. May his legacy and musical harmony resonate for generations to come.
Photo from the Michael Ochs Archives pic.twitter.com/1rdu7tihjS
— Joni Mitchell (@jonimitchell) August 9, 2023
See more tributes below.
God bless Robbie Robertson, peace and love to all his family peace and love. Ringo 😎✌️🌟❤️🌻🌈🎶☮️
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) August 10, 2023
Guitarist. Songwriter. Storyteller. Robbie Robertson was a big part of Canada’s outsized contributions to the arts. I’m thinking of his family, friends, and fans who are mourning his loss. Thank you for the music and the memories, Robbie. pic.twitter.com/36UuOq8vhJ
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) August 10, 2023
Fly on sweet angel.
RIP. Robbie Robertson
July 5, 1943 – August 9, 2023
Thank you for all the music. pic.twitter.com/0hOIeUorvm
— Jimi Hendrix (@JimiHendrix) August 9, 2023
The loss of Robbie Robertson is heartbreaking. Canada has lost an icon, and music has lost a poet and a scholar.
— Kiefer Sutherland (@RealKiefer) August 9, 2023
Robbie Robertson was a brilliant songwriter, guitarist, and composer whose gifts changed music forever. I’m grateful for all the good memories he gave me—going back to his time in the Hawks when I was a teenager—and for his kindness through the years. I’ll miss him.
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) August 9, 2023