Robbie Robertson, lead guitarist and songwriter of The Band, dies at 80

By Hillel Italie THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Robbie Robertson, The Band’s lead guitarist and songwriter who in such classics as “The Weight,” “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” mined and helped reshape American music, has died at 80. Robertson died surrounded by family, a statement from his manager said. From their years as Bob Dylan’s masterful backing group to their own stardom as embodiments of old-fashioned community and virtuosity, The Band profoundly influenced popular music in the 1960s and ’70s, first by literally amplifying Dylan’s polarizing transition from folk artist to rock star and then by absorbing the works of Dylan and Dylan’s influences as they fashioned a new sound immersed in the American past. The Canadian-born Robertson was a high school dropout and one-man…

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