Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award
Long before “getting back to the roots” became part of the rock lexicon, this remarkably trend-resistant combo dug deep into the musical loam to create a unique hybrid of rustic sounds that might’ve resonated as well in the 1870s as when they were created a century later. Having cut their collective teeth backing Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan — polar opposites, to say the least — members Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko holed up in upstate New York to record “Music From Big Pink,” an album that flew the banner of tradition as boldly as their hippie contemporaries waved their freak flags. The unflaggingly unpretentious crew — the name alone would attest to that — drew acolytes from every corner. Eric Clapton once said that he aspired to be a member, and Dylan would woo them back into his corner for a legendary 1974 tour. Soon thereafter, The Band would opt to go out with a bang and not a whimper — a bang that was captured in “The Last Waltz,” still arguably the greatest concert film of all time.