Watch Robbie Robertson Recall Writing 1 Of The Band’s Best Songs

Hear Robbie speak candidly about “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

By Nate Todd Aug 9, 2023 3:58 pm PDT

Robbie Robertson sadly died today, August 9, 2023. The guitarist and co-founder of legendary rock group The Band penned many of the highly influential outfit’s most beloved songs. Robbie wrote or co-wrote “The Weight,” “Chest Fever,” “Up on Cripple Creek,” “The Shape I’m In,” “Stage Fright” and “Life Is A Carnival” among others.

One of the qualities that made Robbie such a great songwriter was his cinematic storytelling ability (a trait that would serve him well in his film career). Perhaps nowhere in The Band’s catalog is that trait more on display than in the classic, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” appears on The Band’s landmark 1969 self-titled album. Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Levon Helm sings lead on the song. Later, Robertson said that he “was trying to write a song that Levon could sing better than anybody in the world” in a relatively recent interview with SiriusXM.

Watch a portion of that interview below along with another clip of Robbie talking about writing “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” along with a solo piano performance for Classic Albums:
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