Robbie Robertson

Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson NY.jpg
Background information
Born (1943-07-05) July 5, 1943 (age 75)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Musician
  • Songwriter
  • Singer
  • Guitar
  • Vocals
Years active1957–present
Associated acts

Jaime Royal "Robbie" Robertson,[1] OC (born July 5, 1943), is a Canadian musician,[2] songwriter, film composer, producer, actor, and author. Robertson is best known for his work as lead guitarist and primary songwriter for The Band, and for his career as a solo recording artist.

Robertson's work with the Band was instrumental in creating the Americana music genre. Robertson has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame as a member of the Band, and has been inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame, both with the Band and on his own. He is ranked 59th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists.[3] As a songwriter, Robertson is credited for writing "The Weight", "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", "Up on Cripple Creek", "Broken Arrow", "Somewhere Down the Crazy River", and many others. He has been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Songwriters.[4]

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.

Early life

Robertson was born Jaime Royal Klegerman on July 5, 1943. He was an only child. His mother was Rose Marie Chrysler, a Cayuga and Mohawk[5] woman who was raised on the Six Nations Reserve southwest of Toronto, Ontario. Chrysler lived with an aunt in the Cabbagetown neighborhood, and worked at a jewelry plating factory. Robertson's biological father was a Jewish professional gambler named Alexander David Klegerman.[citation needed]

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.[6]:55[7]: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.[8]:56[9]:65–66

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