Levon Helm Image Getty

After a long battle with throat cancer, legendary songwriter/singer/drummer Levon Helm of folk rock pioneers The Band has passed away at 71. Earlier this week, Helm's family posted the following note:

Dear Friends,
Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey.


Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration... he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage...


We appreciate all the love and support and concern.
From his daughter Amy, and wife Sandy


The Band is still highly considered as one of the greatest rock and roll groups of all time in the music world, and Levon's contribution to said world was unquestionable. As Helm played the drums and Band member Rick Danko rocked the bass, the folk troupe had one of the greatest rhythm sections of their day, throwing down an unmatchable beat that sets standards to this day for music of all kinds, specifically folk rock.

Helm contributed vocals to some of music's all-time most recognizable songs and lyrics including The Weight, Up On Cripple Creek, and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

If this is the first you've heard of Helm & The Band, we totally recommend you check out The Last Waltz concert/documentary (or "rockumentary") DVD, charting the success of the folk rockers and screening a full performance that is truly rock and roll entertainment at its finest.



Do you have a favorite Band song or Levon Helm memory you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments.