Discussion:
Archive: Richard Manuel (member of The Band), March 4, 1986
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Chef Juke
2006-03-05 21:26:25 UTC
Permalink
Richard Manuel, 42, Dies
Was Pianist With The Band

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From the Washington Post, March 6, 1986.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Winter Park, Fla. -- Richard Manuel, 42, the pianist for the rock
group The Band, was found hanged in a bathroom at a motel here. Police
said that the death was an apparent suicide but that the motive was
unknown.

The body was found by Mr. Manuel's wife, Arlie.

The Band, which was best known for its work with Bob Dylan in the
1960s, played two sold-out performances Monday night at the Cheek to
Cheek Lounge at the Villa Nova Restaurant, next to the motel where Mr.
Manuel died. It performed last week in West Palm Beach, Miami and St.
Petersburg.

Mr. Manuel was a native of Stratford, Ontario. Other members of The
Band were fellow Canadians Jamie (Robbie) Robertson, Garth Hudson and
Rick Danko and Arkansas native Levon Helm. Before associating with
Dylan, who collaborated with them on the albums Music from Big Pink
and The Basement Tapes,.they toured as a backup group for Ronnie
Hawkins.

The group started in Toronto in the last 1950s and disbanded in 1978
with a record and film of their final concert, The Last Waltz. The
group reunited recently with guitarist Jimmy Wieder replacing
Robertson, who now works in film.

In addition to The Last Waltz, The Band's albums included Moondog
Matinee in 1973 and Northern Lights-Southern Cross in 1975. Notable
singles included "The Weight", "Up on Cripple Creek", "The Night They
Drove Old Dixie Down" and "Rag Mama Rag".

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



http://www.rockabilly.nl/references/messages/richard_manuel.htm

RICHARD MANUEL of The Band
Born April 3 1943 Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Died March 4 1986 Winter Park, Florida

In relating the story of Richard Manuel, I do of necessity need to
talk a goodly deal about The Band

In a group remembered for their vocal talent, the late Richard Manuel
was often seen as the lead singer. His is the first voice you hear on
The Band's legendary debut album, Music From Big Pink, a rich baritone
so soulful and charged with pathos it's hard to believe it could come
from the frail Canadian. His is also the last voice heard on that
album, a lonesome, quavering falsetto on Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be
Released" that raises the hair on the back of the listener's neck.
Sadly, Manuel hanged himself aged 42 in a motel room in Florida on
March 4, 1986, so in a sense, he has his release
From 1968 through 1975, the Band was one of the most popular and influential rock groups in the world, their music embraced by critics (and to a somewhat lesser degree, the public) as seriously as the music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Their albums were analysed and reviewed as intensely as any records by their one-time employer and sometime mentor Bob Dylan. Billboard has them forming as The Band in Woodstock, NY in 1967
Throughout the legendary career of the Band, Manuel was troubled by
drug and alcohol problems

Four of The Band were Canadian, while drummer/vocalist Levon Helm
originated from Arkansas. Danko, Manuel and Hudson all hailed
respectively from small Ontario towns, while Robertson was raised in
Toronto

All had grown up fascinated with the music and consequently the people
and traditions of the American South. Nashville's high-powered WLAC
(with 50,000 watts WLAC could be heard clearly 1,000 miles north every
evening) and Cleveland's WJW were the conduits. Late at night all of
them independently grooved on the sounds and magic of the likes of
Bobby "Blue" Bland and Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, spun by
DJs incl. Alan Freed Manuel, the son of a mechanic, developed his
vocal ability as a youth in the Baptist church choir. He grew up
listening to country music, eventually discovering R&B, which would
become a huge influence. (His voice would garner frequent comparisons
to Ray Charles)

SAO favourite Ronnie Hawkins led a band called The Hawks. For four
years, from 1959 through 1963, Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks were one of
the hottest rock & roll bands working, which was very special in a
time when rock & roll had supposedly died. Hawkins himself was
practically Toronto's answer to Elvis Presley and he remained true to
the music even as Presley himself softened and broadened his sound.
The mix of personalities within the group meshed well, better than
they did with Hawkins who, unbeknownst to him, was soon the odd man
out in his own group. As new members Danko, Manuel, and Hudson came
aboard, Canadians replacing Hawkins' fellow southerners, Ronnie lost
control of the group to some extent, as they began working together
more closely

Richard Manuel had entered the picture in the summer of 1961, after
graduating from the Rockin' Revols, a band of hardcore rockers from
Stratford who had toured the American South. Originally a vocalist,
Manuel played what he described as "rhythm piano", nothing too
complicated but good enough when combined with his unearthly, ethereal
voice to land him a job as a Hawk

Fast forward to the second to last 45 release from Ronnie and the boys
(Roulette 4483 1963), pairing Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" and "Bo
Diddley". It didn't chart (only Hawkins' first two singles "Forty
Days" and "Mary Lou" had that kind of success) but on both tracks one
hears four young bucks (everyone but Hudson), and Hawkin's screams
curdling the blood. "Who Do You Love" especially, crackles and sizzles
with a ferocity distinctly rare in the white rock 'n' roll of the
early 60s

The five members of what was to be the Band plus a sax player and
another singer collectively left Hawkins either the summer of 1963 or
early in 1964. The Hawks had already been dissatisfied with the money
Hawkins was paying them, especially considering that he often didn't
show up for the first three or four nights of the week. That, combined
with singer's at times overbearing personality and ego getting the
better of the relationship, then an altercation between RH and Danko,
was enough. The next night, according to Danko, "We collectively gave
him two weeks notice"

On their own, the boys started out as the Levon Helm Sextet, making
more money in the first two weeks than they made individually in two
months with Hawkins. Levon and the Hawks (the name change was quick in
coming - another moniker was The Canadian Squires) proceeded to
traipse their way through familiar stomping grounds for the next year
and a half, playing the Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas circuit
of fraternity houses, college gigs and blood-letting bars in the
spring and fall while working southern Ontario for the rest of the
year

In their five years backing Hawkins, the group had played R&B-based
rock & roll, heavily influenced by the sound of Chess Records in
Chicago and Sun Records in Memphis. Upon leaving Ronnie, the Hawks'
repertoire had progressively become more and more black-influenced.
Summer of 1965, a secretary from Toronto named Mary Martin, who was
working for Bob Dylan's manager Albert Grossman, suggested to Dylan
that the Hawks might be the appropriate ensemble to accompany him on
his first electric tour

The Hawks were then engaged in a four-month stand in Somers Point, New
Jersey, setting a thousand or more patrons on fire nightly with their
heady brew of blues and R&B. With Robertson and Helm paving the way,
from September 1965, Dylan and the whole of The Band took to the road

All five moved to New York, where every week they would fly out on
Dylan's private Lodestar airplane, play two or three night before an
audience of "folkie purists" who were engrossed in a ritual booing,
viewing an electric Dylan as a sell-out to the values of folk music
rather than listening to music that was years ahead of its time

Danko, Manuel and Hudson shortly moved into the Big Pink House, while
Robertson ensconced himself nearby. Everyone remembers the period very
fondly. It was the first time since they were kids that they hadn't
been on the road. It was the first occasion that they had space, room
to breathe, time to think about what they were doing

Danko said "It was sure nice to have that time where we weren't under
the pressures of the public, to be able to afford the time and place
to do our homework, to reflect and push forward. It was a great time
in life. It was just us getting together every day and playing
homemade music"

Playing with Dylan for nearly four years could not help but influence
the members of the Band, especially with regard to songwriting.
Robertson (probably summing up for all the group) did however add
"But, from my background, I came in on a rock 'n' roll train, blues
and country music mixed together where the music played a part of it.
There was a sound, there was an effect to this whole thing and it all
added up. That's what made rock 'n' roll to me. You mix this and you
mix that and a little bit of this and a little bit of that and you get
something and God knows what it is. It's just magical when you put it
all together. I wasn't getting that out of [Dylan's] music"

Additionally, they'd learned to play tightly and precisely and were
accustomed to performing in front of audiences that were interested
primarily in having a good time and dancing. Dylan had them playing
electric adaptations of folk music, with lots of strumming and lacking
the kind of edge they were accustomed to putting on their work. His
sound was traceable to the music of Big Bill Broonzy and Josh White,
while they'd spent years playing the music of Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck
Berry, and Bo Diddley. As it happens, all of those influences are
related, but not directly, and not in ways that were obvious to the
players in 1964

Over time, the music made by the Band became very different. They no
longer sounded even remotely as they had behind Hawkins and Dylan, or
on their own as Levon and the Hawks

On the debut album Music From Big Pink [68], the group played and sang
like five distinct individuals working toward the same goal, not
mixing together smoothly. They didn't want their voices to blend
because that is what everyone else was doing: a lot of their harmony
singing was deliberately ragged: together but not together. They
wanted their piano to sound like a funky old upright, not like a
spanking new Yamaha grand. There was a collective sound to "the band,"
but it made up five distinct individual voices and instruments mixing
folk, blues, gospel, R&B, classical, and rock & roll

The opening track 'Tears of Rage' (written by Manuel with Dylan) has
an absolutely emotion-filled vocal by Richard Manuel that describes a
parent's heartbreak in a most deeply anguished way. Robertson said:
"It's one of his finest moments - it's the most heartbreaking
performance he ever sung in his life". The album opened with a ballad
and there is not a guitar solo on it at a time when Hendrix and
Clapton ruled the world

A second album, simply titled 'The Band' [69] was every bit as good as
the first. Following the release of the second album, things changed
somewhat within the group. Partly owing to the pressures of touring
and the public's expectations of "genius," and also to the growing
press fixation on Robbie Robertson at the expense of the rest of the
group. The other group members did however remain familiar enough that
their names and personalities were well-known to the public

The press was now treating them as gods. Rolling Stone has probably
never before or since lavished such contiguous unqualified praise.
Greil Marcus was to devote a large portion of his Mystery Train book
to the group. His essay to some degree, has legendary status all its
own. What did the Band think of it? Robertson again, "No idea. I think
that it's very cleverly written but I have no idea what he is talking
about. It's kind of beautiful but he's telling me what I mean - that's
dangerous work"

The group found that people started treating them differently ..
placing them on a pedestal. All of this took its toll on the group's
five members. One of the unfortunate results was that Richard Manuel
virtually ceased writing. The reason remains a mystery

The Band was still a great working ensemble, as represented on their
brilliant third album, 'Stage Fright' [70] but gradually exhaustion
and personal pressures took their toll. Additionally, the huge amounts
of money that the members started collecting, against hundreds of
thousands and ultimately millions of record sales, led to instances of
irresponsible behaviour by individual members and their spouses and
raised the pressure on the group to perform. The members had always
engaged in a certain amount of casual drug use, mostly involving
marijuana but now they had access to more serious and expensive
chemical diversions. Some private resentments also began manifesting
themselves about Robertson's dominance of the songwriting (some
reality of which was questioned openly in Levon Helm's autobiography
years later). The writing abilities of Manuel and Danko weren't being
given enough chance to shine through
From this album "The Shape I'm In" and "Stage Fright" were to remain staples of the Band's repertoire right up until their last gig in 1976. The two songs combined say plenty about the state of the Band at this point. The former is a stomp, sung by Manuel who as a general point, played drums when required - which basically was when Helm went out front
From 1971 time, with the fourth album, 'Cahoots', some of the glow of experimentation and easygoing camaraderie was gone. There were further albums and other projects and although they were making a pile of money, the group marked the end of their days as an active unit with the release of the film (and accompanying soundtrack LP set) The Last Waltz, directed by Martin Scorsese. This was their farewell concert from Thanksgiving Day 1976 at the Winterland in San Francisco
An all-star performing affair pulling together the talents of Ronnie
Hawkins, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Van Morrison and a
dozen other luminaries drawn from the ranks of old friends, admirers,
and idols of theirs

In 1983, four members of the Band regrouped (Robertson was replaced by
Earl Cate of the Cate Brothers on guitar) and reunited for a tour that
yielded a full-length concert video and a healthy audience response
although they seemed to embark on seemingly endless tours of much
smaller clubs than the group was accustomed to

The post break-up story of Richard Manuel is the most tragic. After
touring with others in the reunited group for three years, Manuel was
found dead in a Florida motel room on March 4, 1986. Reportedly
suffering from depression, Manuel hanged himself following a gig. His
fellow musicians reported that he had shown no signs that evening of
anything bothering him.

The death of Manuel cast a dark pall on any future reunions, of which
there were several

Whilst Robertson was the group's major songwriter and principal
guitarist and thereby their most famous member, he almost never sang
significant vocal parts on their recordings (indeed, it is said that
one reason their set from Woodstock was never issued was because his
mic. was live and his voice too prominent) and the rest of the group
had made significant contributions to virtually every song they ever
did
From the 1977 album 'Islands' Manuel performs an aching and impassioned cover of Hoagland Carmichael's "Georgia On My Mind". No other singer in the group was as admired. Even musical giants such as Eric Clapton (who has made no secret of his fascination with Manuel) were in awe of his vocal ability. Clapton would go on to record a tribute to Manuel, "Holy Mother," on his 1986 album August. Ex-bandmate Robbie Robertson would also eulogise Manuel on his 1987 solo debut with "Fallen Angel." Richard Manuel's grave is at the Avondale cemetery in Stratford, Ontario.
Websites http://theband.hiof.no/history/index.html
http://theband.hiof.no/band_pictures/manuelrichard_grave.html

Highly Recommended DVD Collector's Edition of The Last Waltz incl. 2
Audio Commentaries With The Director & Musicians, Remastered Stereo
Surround, Behind-The-Scenes Featurette, Collectible 8-Page Booklet
Written By Robbie Robertson, Rare Unseen Footage. Incls. a corking
'Mystery Train' with Paul Butterfield, 'Who Do You Love' with The
Hawk, a super 'Such A Night' with Dr. John and 'Mannish Boy' with The
Mudster

Man those 'Band' cats could play - maybe a better act to see than to
just listen to??

Colin Kilgour: Compiled from various sources/websites incl. All Music
Guide



-Chef Juke
"EVERYbody Eats When They Come To MY House!"
www.chefjuke.com
Matthew Kruk
2006-03-05 21:32:38 UTC
Permalink
... Ex-bandmate Robbie Robertson would also eulogise Manuel on his 1987 solo debut with "Fallen Angel." ...
Beautiful song, one of Robertson's most emotive. Used in "Pow Wow Highway" -
great little film.
Topic Cop
2019-11-04 22:04:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chef Juke
Richard Manuel, 42, Dies
Was Pianist With The Band
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From the Washington Post, March 6, 1986.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Winter Park, Fla. -- Richard Manuel, 42, the pianist for the rock
group The Band, was found hanged in a bathroom at a motel here. Police
said that the death was an apparent suicide but that the motive was
unknown.
The body was found by Mr. Manuel's wife, Arlie.
The Band, which was best known for its work with Bob Dylan in the
1960s, played two sold-out performances Monday night at the Cheek to
Cheek Lounge at the Villa Nova Restaurant, next to the motel where Mr.
Manuel died. It performed last week in West Palm Beach, Miami and St.
Petersburg.
Mr. Manuel was a native of Stratford, Ontario. Other members of The
Band were fellow Canadians Jamie (Robbie) Robertson, Garth Hudson and
Rick Danko and Arkansas native Levon Helm. Before associating with
Dylan, who collaborated with them on the albums Music from Big Pink
and The Basement Tapes,.they toured as a backup group for Ronnie
Hawkins.
The group started in Toronto in the last 1950s and disbanded in 1978
with a record and film of their final concert, The Last Waltz. The
group reunited recently with guitarist Jimmy Wieder replacing
Robertson, who now works in film.
In addition to The Last Waltz, The Band's albums included Moondog
Matinee in 1973 and Northern Lights-Southern Cross in 1975. Notable
singles included "The Weight", "Up on Cripple Creek", "The Night They
Drove Old Dixie Down" and "Rag Mama Rag".
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.rockabilly.nl/references/messages/richard_manuel.htm
RICHARD MANUEL of The Band
Born April 3 1943 Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Died March 4 1986 Winter Park, Florida
In relating the story of Richard Manuel, I do of necessity need to
talk a goodly deal about The Band
In a group remembered for their vocal talent, the late Richard Manuel
was often seen as the lead singer. His is the first voice you hear on
The Band's legendary debut album, Music From Big Pink, a rich baritone
so soulful and charged with pathos it's hard to believe it could come
from the frail Canadian. His is also the last voice heard on that
album, a lonesome, quavering falsetto on Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be
Released" that raises the hair on the back of the listener's neck.
Sadly, Manuel hanged himself aged 42 in a motel room in Florida on
March 4, 1986, so in a sense, he has his release
From 1968 through 1975, the Band was one of the most popular and influential rock groups in the world, their music embraced by critics (and to a somewhat lesser degree, the public) as seriously as the music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Their albums were analysed and reviewed as intensely as any records by their one-time employer and sometime mentor Bob Dylan. Billboard has them forming as The Band in Woodstock, NY in 1967
Throughout the legendary career of the Band, Manuel was troubled by
drug and alcohol problems
Four of The Band were Canadian, while drummer/vocalist Levon Helm
originated from Arkansas. Danko, Manuel and Hudson all hailed
respectively from small Ontario towns, while Robertson was raised in
Toronto
All had grown up fascinated with the music and consequently the people
and traditions of the American South. Nashville's high-powered WLAC
(with 50,000 watts WLAC could be heard clearly 1,000 miles north every
evening) and Cleveland's WJW were the conduits. Late at night all of
them independently grooved on the sounds and magic of the likes of
Bobby "Blue" Bland and Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, spun by
DJs incl. Alan Freed Manuel, the son of a mechanic, developed his
vocal ability as a youth in the Baptist church choir. He grew up
listening to country music, eventually discovering R&B, which would
become a huge influence. (His voice would garner frequent comparisons
to Ray Charles)
SAO favourite Ronnie Hawkins led a band called The Hawks. For four
years, from 1959 through 1963, Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks were one of
the hottest rock & roll bands working, which was very special in a
time when rock & roll had supposedly died. Hawkins himself was
practically Toronto's answer to Elvis Presley and he remained true to
the music even as Presley himself softened and broadened his sound.
The mix of personalities within the group meshed well, better than
they did with Hawkins who, unbeknownst to him, was soon the odd man
out in his own group. As new members Danko, Manuel, and Hudson came
aboard, Canadians replacing Hawkins' fellow southerners, Ronnie lost
control of the group to some extent, as they began working together
more closely
Richard Manuel had entered the picture in the summer of 1961, after
graduating from the Rockin' Revols, a band of hardcore rockers from
Stratford who had toured the American South. Originally a vocalist,
Manuel played what he described as "rhythm piano", nothing too
complicated but good enough when combined with his unearthly, ethereal
voice to land him a job as a Hawk
Fast forward to the second to last 45 release from Ronnie and the boys
(Roulette 4483 1963), pairing Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" and "Bo
Diddley". It didn't chart (only Hawkins' first two singles "Forty
Days" and "Mary Lou" had that kind of success) but on both tracks one
hears four young bucks (everyone but Hudson), and Hawkin's screams
curdling the blood. "Who Do You Love" especially, crackles and sizzles
with a ferocity distinctly rare in the white rock 'n' roll of the
early 60s
The five members of what was to be the Band plus a sax player and
another singer collectively left Hawkins either the summer of 1963 or
early in 1964. The Hawks had already been dissatisfied with the money
Hawkins was paying them, especially considering that he often didn't
show up for the first three or four nights of the week. That, combined
with singer's at times overbearing personality and ego getting the
better of the relationship, then an altercation between RH and Danko,
was enough. The next night, according to Danko, "We collectively gave
him two weeks notice"
On their own, the boys started out as the Levon Helm Sextet, making
more money in the first two weeks than they made individually in two
months with Hawkins. Levon and the Hawks (the name change was quick in
coming - another moniker was The Canadian Squires) proceeded to
traipse their way through familiar stomping grounds for the next year
and a half, playing the Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas circuit
of fraternity houses, college gigs and blood-letting bars in the
spring and fall while working southern Ontario for the rest of the
year
In their five years backing Hawkins, the group had played R&B-based
rock & roll, heavily influenced by the sound of Chess Records in
Chicago and Sun Records in Memphis. Upon leaving Ronnie, the Hawks'
repertoire had progressively become more and more black-influenced.
Summer of 1965, a secretary from Toronto named Mary Martin, who was
working for Bob Dylan's manager Albert Grossman, suggested to Dylan
that the Hawks might be the appropriate ensemble to accompany him on
his first electric tour
The Hawks were then engaged in a four-month stand in Somers Point, New
Jersey, setting a thousand or more patrons on fire nightly with their
heady brew of blues and R&B. With Robertson and Helm paving the way,
from September 1965, Dylan and the whole of The Band took to the road
All five moved to New York, where every week they would fly out on
Dylan's private Lodestar airplane, play two or three night before an
audience of "folkie purists" who were engrossed in a ritual booing,
viewing an electric Dylan as a sell-out to the values of folk music
rather than listening to music that was years ahead of its time
Danko, Manuel and Hudson shortly moved into the Big Pink House, while
Robertson ensconced himself nearby. Everyone remembers the period very
fondly. It was the first time since they were kids that they hadn't
been on the road. It was the first occasion that they had space, room
to breathe, time to think about what they were doing
Danko said "It was sure nice to have that time where we weren't under
the pressures of the public, to be able to afford the time and place
to do our homework, to reflect and push forward. It was a great time
in life. It was just us getting together every day and playing
homemade music"
Playing with Dylan for nearly four years could not help but influence
the members of the Band, especially with regard to songwriting.
Robertson (probably summing up for all the group) did however add
"But, from my background, I came in on a rock 'n' roll train, blues
and country music mixed together where the music played a part of it.
There was a sound, there was an effect to this whole thing and it all
added up. That's what made rock 'n' roll to me. You mix this and you
mix that and a little bit of this and a little bit of that and you get
something and God knows what it is. It's just magical when you put it
all together. I wasn't getting that out of [Dylan's] music"
Additionally, they'd learned to play tightly and precisely and were
accustomed to performing in front of audiences that were interested
primarily in having a good time and dancing. Dylan had them playing
electric adaptations of folk music, with lots of strumming and lacking
the kind of edge they were accustomed to putting on their work. His
sound was traceable to the music of Big Bill Broonzy and Josh White,
while they'd spent years playing the music of Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck
Berry, and Bo Diddley. As it happens, all of those influences are
related, but not directly, and not in ways that were obvious to the
players in 1964
Over time, the music made by the Band became very different. They no
longer sounded even remotely as they had behind Hawkins and Dylan, or
on their own as Levon and the Hawks
On the debut album Music From Big Pink [68], the group played and sang
like five distinct individuals working toward the same goal, not
mixing together smoothly. They didn't want their voices to blend
because that is what everyone else was doing: a lot of their harmony
singing was deliberately ragged: together but not together. They
wanted their piano to sound like a funky old upright, not like a
spanking new Yamaha grand. There was a collective sound to "the band,"
but it made up five distinct individual voices and instruments mixing
folk, blues, gospel, R&B, classical, and rock & roll
The opening track 'Tears of Rage' (written by Manuel with Dylan) has
an absolutely emotion-filled vocal by Richard Manuel that describes a
"It's one of his finest moments - it's the most heartbreaking
performance he ever sung in his life". The album opened with a ballad
and there is not a guitar solo on it at a time when Hendrix and
Clapton ruled the world
A second album, simply titled 'The Band' [69] was every bit as good as
the first. Following the release of the second album, things changed
somewhat within the group. Partly owing to the pressures of touring
and the public's expectations of "genius," and also to the growing
press fixation on Robbie Robertson at the expense of the rest of the
group. The other group members did however remain familiar enough that
their names and personalities were well-known to the public
The press was now treating them as gods. Rolling Stone has probably
never before or since lavished such contiguous unqualified praise.
Greil Marcus was to devote a large portion of his Mystery Train book
to the group. His essay to some degree, has legendary status all its
own. What did the Band think of it? Robertson again, "No idea. I think
that it's very cleverly written but I have no idea what he is talking
about. It's kind of beautiful but he's telling me what I mean - that's
dangerous work"
The group found that people started treating them differently ..
placing them on a pedestal. All of this took its toll on the group's
five members. One of the unfortunate results was that Richard Manuel
virtually ceased writing. The reason remains a mystery
The Band was still a great working ensemble, as represented on their
brilliant third album, 'Stage Fright' [70] but gradually exhaustion
and personal pressures took their toll. Additionally, the huge amounts
of money that the members started collecting, against hundreds of
thousands and ultimately millions of record sales, led to instances of
irresponsible behaviour by individual members and their spouses and
raised the pressure on the group to perform. The members had always
engaged in a certain amount of casual drug use, mostly involving
marijuana but now they had access to more serious and expensive
chemical diversions. Some private resentments also began manifesting
themselves about Robertson's dominance of the songwriting (some
reality of which was questioned openly in Levon Helm's autobiography
years later). The writing abilities of Manuel and Danko weren't being
given enough chance to shine through
From this album "The Shape I'm In" and "Stage Fright" were to remain staples of the Band's repertoire right up until their last gig in 1976. The two songs combined say plenty about the state of the Band at this point. The former is a stomp, sung by Manuel who as a general point, played drums when required - which basically was when Helm went out front
From 1971 time, with the fourth album, 'Cahoots', some of the glow of experimentation and easygoing camaraderie was gone. There were further albums and other projects and although they were making a pile of money, the group marked the end of their days as an active unit with the release of the film (and accompanying soundtrack LP set) The Last Waltz, directed by Martin Scorsese. This was their farewell concert from Thanksgiving Day 1976 at the Winterland in San Francisco
An all-star performing affair pulling together the talents of Ronnie
Hawkins, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Van Morrison and a
dozen other luminaries drawn from the ranks of old friends, admirers,
and idols of theirs
In 1983, four members of the Band regrouped (Robertson was replaced by
Earl Cate of the Cate Brothers on guitar) and reunited for a tour that
yielded a full-length concert video and a healthy audience response
although they seemed to embark on seemingly endless tours of much
smaller clubs than the group was accustomed to
The post break-up story of Richard Manuel is the most tragic. After
touring with others in the reunited group for three years, Manuel was
found dead in a Florida motel room on March 4, 1986. Reportedly
suffering from depression, Manuel hanged himself following a gig. His
fellow musicians reported that he had shown no signs that evening of
anything bothering him.
The death of Manuel cast a dark pall on any future reunions, of which
there were several
Whilst Robertson was the group's major songwriter and principal
guitarist and thereby their most famous member, he almost never sang
significant vocal parts on their recordings (indeed, it is said that
one reason their set from Woodstock was never issued was because his
mic. was live and his voice too prominent) and the rest of the group
had made significant contributions to virtually every song they ever
did
From the 1977 album 'Islands' Manuel performs an aching and impassioned cover of Hoagland Carmichael's "Georgia On My Mind". No other singer in the group was as admired. Even musical giants such as Eric Clapton (who has made no secret of his fascination with Manuel) were in awe of his vocal ability. Clapton would go on to record a tribute to Manuel, "Holy Mother," on his 1986 album August. Ex-bandmate Robbie Robertson would also eulogise Manuel on his 1987 solo debut with "Fallen Angel." Richard Manuel's grave is at the Avondale cemetery in Stratford, Ontario.
Websites http://theband.hiof.no/history/index.html
http://theband.hiof.no/band_pictures/manuelrichard_grave.html
Highly Recommended DVD Collector's Edition of The Last Waltz incl. 2
Audio Commentaries With The Director & Musicians, Remastered Stereo
Surround, Behind-The-Scenes Featurette, Collectible 8-Page Booklet
Written By Robbie Robertson, Rare Unseen Footage. Incls. a corking
'Mystery Train' with Paul Butterfield, 'Who Do You Love' with The
Hawk, a super 'Such A Night' with Dr. John and 'Mannish Boy' with The
Mudster
Man those 'Band' cats could play - maybe a better act to see than to
just listen to??
Colin Kilgour: Compiled from various sources/websites incl. All Music
Guide
-Chef Juke
"EVERYbody Eats When They Come To MY House!"
www.chefjuke.com
Was he scared? Did it hurt?

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