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Amid the country’s turmoil in 1968, five musicians later named simply The Band took refuge in a salmon-colored house in upstate New York to create Music by Big Pink, an album that brought the rural American folk sound to popular music and the classic album canon.
Before finding their place with this first album, Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel played as backing musicians for Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan. After the 1966 Dylan tour, the band moved into the Big Pink house in West Saugerties, NY
You probably know the rest of the story. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its release, Music by Big Pink offers a reissue worthy of one of the greatest albums ever recorded. On August 31, the disc will receive a new stereo mix on CD and digital, with five excerpts, alternate recordings and an unreleased a cappella version of “I Shall Be Released”. (The new stereo mix of the album’s historic single “The Weight” is available digitally beginning Friday with digital album pre-orders.)
The band will also release a double LP vinyl box set of the album, which includes the CD, digital access and a hi-res surround mix on Blu-Ray. It also includes a reproduction of “The Weight” 7″ b/w single “I Shall Be Released” and a hardcover book with an essay by music journalist David Fricke and photos by Elliott Landy.
And yes, there are limited edition versions with pink vinyl.
In his 1993 memoirs, titled This wheel is on fire, the dearly deceased Levon Helm wrote: “We wanted Music by Big Pink sound like nothing else does. It was our music, honed independently of radio and contemporary trends.”
Although the album was not immediately popular upon release, Music by Big Pink is now widely recognized as one of the most influential albums of all time. Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Roger Waters all credited the album with having a profound effect on their musical trajectory.
July 1 marks Music by Big Pink50th anniversary.