This week in music, we mark the four-year anniversary of Levon Helm’s passing. He died April 19, 2012 at the age of 71, following a cancer relapse.
Perhaps most widely-cited as an instrumentalist and vocalist in The Band (think back to “The Weight”; you’ve definitely heard it), Helm also served several decades as one of rock’s Kevin Bacon-type figures. Countless musicians have referenced Helm as an influence, worked with him, or expressed a desire back in the day to work with him. Even more notable is the massive genre range for musicians who credit Helm as an influence, idol, or friend. He made an impact on everyone, from Johnny Cash to Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr to Mavis Staples, Elton John and even Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard.
Originally sidetracked by throat cancer in the late-90s, Helm faced an initial prognosis that he would never sing again. Yet he fought back with full force, and continued to release music until near the end of his life.
Helm and The Band with the Staples Singers: