Wednesday, July 1, 2009

41 Years Ago Today: The Band releases "Music From Big Pink"...

'Music from Big Pink' is the 1968 debut album by rock band The Band. It features one of their best-known songs, "The Weight."


With a rough sound, seemingly chaotic arrangements, and a distinctive blend of country, rock, folk, classical, R&B, and soul, Music From Big Pink is generally considered one of the best albums by the Band, along with their 1969 second album The Band. The album follows the band's backing of Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour (as The Hawks) and time spent at a shared house in upstate New York recording what would become The Basement Tapes, also with Dylan.

The initial critical reception of the album was generally positive, though sales were slim; Al Kooper's rave review of the LP in Rolling Stone helped draw public attention to it. The fact that Bob Dylan had composed three of the songs also helped to increase sales.

At the time, "The Weight" peaked at #63 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart. The album peaked at #30 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart in 1968, and then recharted as a #8 hit on the Top Internet Albums chart in 2000. The song "The Weight" has gained widespread popularity, in spite of its dismal chart ranking, due partially to its inclusion in the cult favorite film 'Easy Rider', though it was left off of the soundtrack due to a licensing issue (a cover version by the band Smith was included on the soundtrack album instead).

In 2003, the album was ranked number 34 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Story behind the title:

"Big Pink" is a pink house in West Saugerties, New York located at 56 Parnassus Lane (formerly 2188 Stoll Road). In 1967, the house was purchased by Rick Danko of The Band. Danko, along with bandmates, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson, moved into the house and dubbed it "Big Pink". The house became the site of the rehearsing of the album. The actual recording of the album took place in New York and Los Angeles. The house was also the headquarters of Parnassus Records a label specializing in classical music. According to the official Big Pink website, it is currently a private residence.

Suggested listening:

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