Best Known For
Musician and singer Levon Helm was a member of the influential rock group, The Band, and a Grammy Award-winning solo artist.
Bob Dylan - Mini Biography (3:46)
Levon Helm of The Band on the Mississippi Delta and the music that came from that area.
In the 1990's, Neil Young joined the grunge band Pearl Jam. Young was also a prime mover in Farm Aid and participated in the 9-11 fundraiser in New York.
A short biography of Bob Dylan who transcended musical genres to become one of the greatest folk and rock singers of all time.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Born in Arkansas in 1940, Levon Helm grew up in Marvell, Arkansas. He started his musical career performing with his sister Linda. In 1957, Helm joined Ronnie Hawkins's band and through Hawkins met the future members of The Band. The Band formed in 1967 and became one of the most influential groups of the era. Later in his life, Helm worked on such solo projects as Dirt Farmer (2007). He died on April 19, 2012.
"If it doesn't come from your heart, music just doesn't work."
"I don't fool with a lot of things that I can't have fun with. There's not much reward in that."
"If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out."
The son of an Arkansas farmer, Levon Helm was born Mark Lavon Helm on May 26, 1940, in Elaine, Arkansas. Helm grew up listening to the varied musical styles of the Mississippi Delta region. These sounds, ranging from country to R&B to early rock and roll to the blues, greatly influenced his work in his legendary group The Band and as a solo artist.
Helm got his first guitar at the age of 9, just one of many instruments he would learn to play. Before long, he was performing with his sister Linda. Helm started up his first rock group, the Jungle Bush Beaters, while in high school. In 1957, he joined Ronnie Hawkins' band as his drummer. The group ended up in Canada where new musicians eventually signed on—Rick Danko on bass, Richard Manuel on piano, Garth Hudson on organ and Robbie Robertson on guitar. Helms and his fellow backing musicians later split off from Hawkins, becoming Levon & the Hawks and then the Hawks.
In 1964, Helm and his band mates met folk singer Bob Dylan. Dylan soon hired them to play as his band for his tour—his first with electrified instruments. Dylan's fans loathed these performances, objecting to the singer's abandoning of the acoustic sound of traditional folk. Frustrated by the jeering crowds, Helm returned home to Arkansas for a time.
In 1967, Helms rejoined his band mates in West Saugerties, New York. They were living in a big pink rented house together while Dylan recovered from a motorcycle accident in nearby Woodstock. The group, who soon started calling themselves The Band, began to create and record their own songs. These sessions produced their debut album, Music from Big Pink (1968), named after their place of residence. The recording featured a remarkable blend of styles—country, folk, rock and blues—and produced a sound that was both modern and traditional.
These five performers often shared or alternated on the group's vocals, and Helm lent his distinctive Southern twang to several notable songs. He, with Danko and Manuel, sang the ballad, "The Weight," on Music from Big Pink, which became one of their best known songs. For their 1969 self-titled follow-up album, Helms gave voice to the story of Confederate heartbreak in "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."
The Band continued to perform and record over the next few years, but tensions were growing within the group. Helm reportedly became frustrated with how the songs were credited, believing guitarist Robertson took sole ownership of works that were collaborative efforts. And Robertson tired of touring.
profile name: Levon Helm profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Woodstock, the legendary 1969 music festival, changed the history of rock and roll. For three days on a 600-acre dairy farm in the Castkills of New York, 32 performers put on one of the biggest rock shows of all time in front of 500,000 fans. Here are some of the famous musicians who were part of Woodstock history.
Woodstock Performers 23 people in this group
Famous Geminis 556 people in this group
They make music with instruments they were born with - their voices. Gifted vocalists have entertained audiences across musical genres from the tour de force arias of Luciano Pavarotti to the classic crooning of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to the soulful vocals of artists like Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. With their powerful lyricism, singers like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen became poet laureates of American music while artists including Joan Baez and Joe Strummer used their voices to prompt social change while they entertained. Rockers from Elvis Presley to The Beatles to Kurt Cobain helped define their generations through their songs while icons like Michael Jackson, Cher and Whitney Houston shaped pop culture with their larger-than-life voices and personas. See these and more famous singers who have struck a chord in musical history.
Famous Singers 782 people in this group