The GRAMMYs paid tribute to the late Band drummer/singer Levon Helm with a moving all-star tribute. A supergroup, featuring musical director/guitarist and 12-time GRAMMY winner T-Bone Burnett, took to the stage to the instantly recognizable chords of The Band’s classic “The Weight.”
Elton John, from behind the piano, said “We also remember the teachers and students of sandy hook elementary school, whose song ended way too soon.” Zac Brown, who has certainly been influenced by the cross-pollination of country, folk and rock and roll that The Band spearheaded in the late ’60s, sang the first verse.
(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Mavis Staples, who as a member of The Staple Singers, performed “The Weight” with The Band in their iconic film The Last Waltz, took the next verse. Staples recently was part of another all-star tribute to Helm that took place at New Jersey’s Izod Center in October.
Two artists who have worn their Band influence on their collective sleeves, Mumford & Sons and Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard took the next two verses. Finally, Elton John – who named one of his classic singles (“Levon”) and his son (Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John) – after Levon Helm finished the song.
Where many all-star tributes at the GRAMMYS tend to take medley form, the collective stuck with Helm’s most iconic song and most likely earned him the late legend a few new fans in the process.
– Brian Ives, Radio.com