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Robbie Robertson On World Cafe

Robbie Robertson onstage at the Academy of Music in December 1971.MoreCloseclosemore
Robbie Robertson onstage at the Academy of Music in December 1971.

Robbie Robertson is a gifted storyteller who's best known as the guitarist and chief songwriter of The Band. His career started at age 16, when Arkansas R&B and rockabilly roadmaster Ronnie Hawkins drafted the Torontonian into his band, The Hawks.

Now, Robertson has gathered his stories together in the memoir Testimony, which starts with Hawkins and ends on the stage of the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, where The Band called it quits with The Last Waltz. Along the way, we meet the members of The Hawks, who would become The Band; get Robertson's take on backing up Bob Dylan when he went electric; and take a seat in the basement of Big Pink to witness The Band recording its first album.

In this session, you'll hear Robertson's stories wrapped around a few essential songs. Check out the Spotify playlist below for more.

Copyright NPR 2017.

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