Song:Stuff You Gotta Watch
Levon Helm was best known as the drummer for The Band. But he had a long solo career and was an actor too. He won a Grammy for the 2009 CD Electric Dirt. He was born Mark Lavon Helm May 26, 1940 in Elaine, AR. As a child, he was a fan of bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe and blues artist Sonny Boy Williamson II. He learned to play the drums and played in Ronnie Hawkins' band. When Hawkins moved to Toronto in 1959, Helm came with him. And this is where he met the rest of the guys who would become The Band. He was renamed Levon because it was easier to pronounce. Of course Helm became famous with The Band. When they split up in 1975, he recorded three solo albums that were highly acclaimed but didn't sell. So when The Band reformed in the 80s, Helm was there. He also toured with Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band in 1989 and usually sang The Weight, Helm's best known vocal with The Band. Helm first recorded the Muddy Waters song Stuff You Gotta Watch on the 1993 CD Jericho by The Band. So that was one of the songs he sang when they toured. In 1998, Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer and lost his voice. He continued to play drums but he got his voice back in 2004. In 2007, he recorded the CD Dirt Farmer, his first solo recording since 1982. Stuff You Gotta Watch is from the 2009 CD Electric Dirt. He won a Grammy for Best Americana Album. Helm also acted in several films. His best known role was as Loretta Lynn's father in the 1980 film Coal Miner's Daughter. Helm continued to tour and released a live CD in 2011. But his cancer returned and he died on Apr. 19, 2012 at age 71. Here's Levon Helm with The Band performing Stuff You Gotta Watch in Helsinki, Finland 1996.