As a film soundtrack producer and composer, Robertson is known for his collaborations with director Martin Scorsese, which began with the rockumentary film The Last Waltz (1978), and continued through a number of dramatic films, including Raging Bull (1980) and Casino (1995). He has worked on many other soundtracks for film and television.
Klegerman was killed in a hit and run accident while changing a tire on the Queen Elizabeth Way; this incident occurred while Robertson was still an infant. Robertson's mother married co-worker James Patrick Robertson, who adopted Robertson. Robertson's parents continued to work at the jewelry plating factory where they met, and lived in several homes in different Toronto neighborhoods while Robertson was a child.:55:65
His mother often traveled with him to the Six Nations Reserve to visit their family. It was here that Robertson was mentored in playing guitar by family members, in particular his older cousin Herb Myke. He became a fan of rock 'n' roll and R&B through the radio, listening to disc jockey George "Hound Dog" Lorenz play rock 'n' roll on WKBW in Buffalo, New York, and staying up at night to listen to disc jockey John R.'s all-night blues show on WLAC, a clear-channel station in Nashville, Tennessee.:56:65–66