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The Weight - The Band

The Weight

The Best of the Band
classic rock folk rock rock 60s The Band


"The Weight" is a 1968 song by The Band. The song appears originally on The Band's first album, Music from Big Pink. "The Weight" is one of the group's best known songs and among the most popular songs of the late 1960s counterculture. However, the song was not a significant mainstream hit for The Band in the US, peaking at only #63. The Band's record fared much better in Canada and the UK – in those countries, the single was a top 40 hit, peaking at #35 in Canada and #21 in the UK in 1968. No fewer than three cover versions of "The Weight" actually charted higher on the US pop charts in 1968/69 than The Band's original recording: 1968: Jackie DeShannon took the song to #55 US, #35 Canada.1969: A joint effort by Diana Ross & The Supremes and The Temptations hit #46 US, #36 Canada.1969: Aretha Franklin's version was the highest charting recording of "The Weight" in both the US and Canada, peaking at #19 US, #12 Canada. None of these cover versions charted in the UK, where The Band's version of "The Weight" remains the only version to chart. The song is #41 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list, published in 2004.[1] On the original single issue, the artist credit simply lists the names of the five members of The Band; the group name "The Band" does not appear. Song theme "The Weight" takes the folk music motif of a traveler, who in the first line arrives in Nazareth in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Once there, he encounters various residents of the town, the song being a story of these encounters. Nazareth is the hometown of the guitar manufacturer C. F. Martin & Company. Years later, the band Nazareth took its name from this line. The Biblical Nazareth was the childhood home of Jesus. The residents include a man who cannot direct the traveler to a hotel, Carmen and the Devil walking side by side, "Crazy Chester," who offers a bed in exchange for the traveler taking his dog, and Luke who has gone out to wait for the apocalypse, leaving his young bride neglected. In Levon Helm's autobiography "This Wheel's on Fire," Helm explains that the people mentioned in the song were based on real people the Band knew. The "Miss Anna Lee" mentioned in the lyric is Helm's longtime friend Anna Lee Amsden. Robertson on "The Weight" According to songwriter Robertson, "The Weight" was inspired by the films of Luis Buñuel, about which Robertson once said: (Buñuel) did so many films on the impossibility of sainthood. People trying to be good in Viridiana and Nazarin, people trying to do their thing. In ‘The Weight’ it’s the same thing. People like Buñuel would make films that had these religious connotations to them but it wasn’t necessarily a religious meaning. In Buñuel there were these people trying to be good and it’s impossible to be good. In "The Weight" it was this very simple thing. Someone says, "Listen, would you do me this favour? When you get there will you say 'hello' to somebody or will you give somebody this or will you pick up one of these for me? Oh? You’re going to Nazareth, that’s where the Martin guitar factory is. Do me a favour when you’re there." This is what it’s all about. So the guy goes and one thing leads to another and it’s like "Holy Shit, what’s this turned into? I’ve only come here to say 'hello' for somebody and I’ve got myself in this incredible predicament." It was very Buñuelish to me at the time. Only in this case, the traveler encounters the favor-asking people in Nazareth itself.


The Band was an influential Canadian-American rock and roll group of the 1960s and '70s, formed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Band included Robbie Robertson (guitar, piano, drums, harmonica); Richard Manuel (1943-1986) (piano, harmonica, drums, saxophone, organ, slide guitar); Garth Hudson (organ, piano, clavinet, accordion, synthesizer, saxophone); Rick Danko (1943-1999) (bass guitar, violin, trombone, guitar), and Levon Helm (1940-2012) (drums, mandolin, guitar, bass guitar, harmonica). Show more ...

The Weight - The Band

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