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"The Weight"
TS - The Weight.png
Single by Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations
from the album Together
B-side"For Better or Worse"
ReleasedAugust 21, 1969 (1969-08-21)
Format45 rpm record
Recorded1969
StudioHitsville U.S.A. (Studios A & B)
Genre
Length3:00
LabelMotown
Songwriter(s)Robbie Robertson
Producer(s)Frank Wilson
Diana Ross & the Supremes singles chronology
"No Matter What Sign You Are"
(1969)
"The Weight"
(1969)
"I Second That Emotion"
(1969)
The Temptations singles chronology
"I Can't Get Next to You"
(1969)
"The Weight"
(1969)
"Psychedelic Shack"
(1969)
Together track listing

"The Weight" has become a modern standard, and hence has been performed by many artists, including Little Feat, the Chambers Brothers, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, Stoney LaRue, The Staple Singers, Waylon Jennings, Joe Cocker, Travis, Grateful Dead, Blues Traveler, New Riders of the Purple Sage, O.A.R., Edwin McCain, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Black Crowes, Spooky Tooth, Hanson, Old Crow Medicine Show, Panic! at the Disco, Shannon Curfman, Aretha Franklin, Joan Osborne, John Denver, Trampled by Turtles, Cassandra Wilson, Miranda Lambert, Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield, Deana Carter, New Madrid, Dionne Warwick and Gillian Welch. Mumford & Sons, RatDog and Bob Weir are also known to cover this song from time to time. Additional notable versions are by Zac Brown Band, Hoyt Axton, Lee Ann Womack, the band Smith, Weezer, the Allman Brothers Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, Jimmy Barnes with the Badloves, Free Wild, and Aaron Pritchett.[16]

As a recording session guitarist, Duane Allman played lead slide guitar on Aretha Franklin's and King Curtis's versions of the song. These are included on Allman's An Anthology (1972) and An Anthology Volume II (1974) respectively.

Jackie DeShannon's cover of the song for Imperial Records in 1968 reached #55 on the U.S. Pop chart, and #35 in Canada. The song was recorded by Diana Ross and The Supremes with The Temptations in 1969 for their album Together on Motown Records. Country artist Sammi Smith included a cover of the song on her 1971 album Lonesome.

Folk singer Michelle Shocked covers the song as part of her 2007 gospel album ToHeavenURide. Charly García covered the song in Spanish under the title "El Peso," and Czech singer Marie Rottrová covered the song with the band Flamingo in 1970. Jeff Healey covered it on his album Mess of Blues in 2008. Jensen Ackles also covered a portion of the song along with Jason Manns in 2010.[17]

Conan O'Brien performed the song as an encore during his The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour.

Aaron Weiss is known to perform the song during acoustic sets following performances of his band mewithoutYou.[18]

The Black Keys performed the song at Coachella 2012, with John Fogerty as a special guest, in honor of Levon Helm, who had died the day before.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, who were honoring a fan's sign request, performed "The Weight" at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on May 2, 2012, as a tribute to Levon Helm, who had died two weeks before. It was the first time the band had ever performed the song. Springsteen called Helm "one of the greatest, greatest voices in country, rockabilly and rock 'n' roll ... staggering ... while playing the drums. Both his voice and his drumming were so incredibly versatile. He had a feel on the drums that comes out of certain place in the past and you can't replicate it." Springsteen also joked that when he was auditioning drummer Max Weinberg he made him sing.[19]

Panic! at The Disco performed "The Weight" for a television special on April 17, 2008.[20]

A rendition of "The Weight" was performed at the 55th Grammy Awards by various artists including Elton John, Zac Brown, Mumford and Sons, Mavis Staples, and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes as a tribute to Levon Helm and other deceased artists.

"The Weight" was traditionally the last song played during the Midnight Rambles in Levon Helm's barn in Woodstock, New York, often including the guest musicians for the evening's festivities. Some of the musicians who played with Levon Helm in the re-formed Band or the Levon Helm Band, including guitarist Jim Weider, bassist Byron Isaacs and drummer Randy Ciarlante, have formed a group called "The Weight" which performs a complete set of Band material.

Garth Brooks covered "The Weight" on his 2013 compilation boxed set Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences.

"The Weight" is a frequent cover, and inspiration for, The Weight Band, featuring former Band member Jim Weider, and past members of the Levon Helm Band and Rick Danko Group. Recently, The Weight Band performed "The Weight" on a nationally broadcast PBS special, Infinity Hall Live.[21]

"The Weight" was performed by Jimmy Fallon and The Muppets in the closing moments of the final episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on February 7, 2014.[22] The performance (which mirrored the arrangement and staging of the Band's performance of the song with the Staple Singers in The Last Waltz) featured several notable Muppet characters including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, and ended with Fallon walking out of the Late Night studio, down the hall, and into the new studio of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

After Levon Helm's death, Graham Nash and Shane Fontayne wrote a song in tribute to him, entitled "Back Home." The refrain from "The Weight" ("take a load off Fannie, ...") is included as a coda. The song has since become a staple of Nash's public performances, including those of Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

Rickie Lee Jones recorded "The Weight" for her 2012 album The Devil You Know.

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