Happy Birthday Richard Manuel: ‘Live At O’Tooles Tavern’ With Rick Danko

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Born on this day in 1943, today would have been The Band multi-instrumentalist Richard Manuel’s 73rd birthday. Tragically, Manuel took his own life in 1986 at the young age of 42 after battling addiction for several years. Though he’s been gone for 30 years, his signature falsetto helped define The Band’s sound and remains one of the most recognizable voices in rock history.

To honor Manuel, below is an officially issued recording of a performance held on December 13, 1985 – just months before he passed away – alongside his fellow The Band mate, the late bassist Rick Danko recorded at O’Tooles Tavern in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Selections from the late show performance were officially released featuring 10 songs played that night, including classic The Band compositions such as “The Unfaithful Servant,” “King Harvest (Has Surely Come),” “It Makes No Difference” and “Chest Fever.”

Displaying a voice lowered and grizzled with age, Manuel nonetheless delivers a commanding performance, harmonizing with his old mate throughout the set and shining on a version of “She Knows.” The set opens with the traditional “C.C. Rider” and features a haunting cover of Lionel Richie’s “My Love” as well as some fun banter between the longtime friends. Give a listen to the gone-but-not-forgotten pair of renowned musicians below: