Band - The Weight

About "The Weight"

"The Weight" is a song by the Canadian-American group the Band that was released as a single in 1968 and on the group's debut album Music from Big Pink. It was their first release under this name, after their previous releases as Canadian Squires and Levon and the Hawks. Written by Band member Robbie Robertson, the song is about a visitor's experiences in a town mentioned in the lyric's first line as Nazareth. "The Weight" has significantly influenced American popular music, having been listed as No. 41 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time published in 2004. Pitchfork Media named it the 13th best song of the 1960s, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named it one of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. PBS, which broadcast performances of the song on Ramble at the Ryman (2011), Austin City Limits (2012), and Quick Hits (2012), describes it as "a masterpiece of Biblical allusions, enigmatic lines and iconic characters" and notes its enduring popularity as "an essential part of the American songbook.""The Weight" is one of the Band's best known songs, gaining considerable album-oriented rock airplay even though it was not a significant hit single for the group in the US, peaking at only No. 63. After it was released, the record debuted just six days later on KHJ's "'Boss 30' records" and peaked at No. 3 there three weeks later. The Band's recording also fared well in Canada and the UK, peaking at No. 35 in Canada and No. 21 in the UK in 1968. Cash Box called it a "powerhouse performance." American Songwriter and Stereogum both ranked the song number three on their lists of the Band's greatest songs. In 1968 and 1969, three cover versions were released; their arrangements appealed to a wide diversity of music audiences.

The 1969 movie Easy Rider used the song as recorded by The Band, but it was not licensed for the soundtrack album. To deal with this, ABC-Dunhill commissioned Smith, who recorded for the label at the time, to record a cover version of the song for the soundtrack album.

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