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Music from Big Pink
Studio album by The Band
Released July 1, 1968
Recorded Early 1968
Genre Rock
Length 42:22
Label Capitol
Producer John Simon
Professional reviews
The Band chronology
Music from Big Pink
The Band

Music from Big Pink is the 1968 debut album by rock band The Band. It features their best-known song, "The Weight."



With a distinctive blend of country, rock, folk, classical, R&B, and soul, Music From Big Pink is generally considered one of the best albums by the Band, along with their 1969 second album The Band. The album follows the band's backing of Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour (as The Hawks) and time spent at a shared house in upstate New York recording what would become The Basement Tapes, also with Dylan.

The initial critical reception of the album was generally positive, though sales were slim; Al Kooper's rave review of the LP in Rolling Stone helped draw public attention to it. The fact that Bob Dylan had composed three of the songs also helped to increase sales.

At the time, "The Weight" peaked at #63 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart (North America). The album peaked at #30 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart in 1968, and then recharted as a #8 hit on the Top Internet Albums chart in 2000 (see 2000 in music). The song "The Weight" has gained widespread popularity, in spite of its dismal chart ranking, due partially to its inclusion in the cult favorite film Easy Rider, though it was omitted from the soundtrack due to a licensing issue (a cover version by the band Smith was included on the soundtrack album instead).

In 2003, the album was ranked number 34 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The laid-back feel of the album drew the attention of many other artists. For example, Eric Clapton cites the album's roots rock style as what convinced him to quit Cream, and pursue the styles of Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie and his debut album. George Harrison also took note of this style as well as the down-home camaraderie as he was becoming more disgruntled with the constant rifts between The Beatles at the time.

Inspiration for the title

"Big Pink" is a pink house in West Saugerties, New York located at 56 Parnassus Lane (formerly 2188 Stoll Road). The house was built by Ottmar Gramms, who bought the land in 1952. The house was newly built when Rick Danko, who was collaborating with Bob Dylan at the time, found it as a rental. It was to this house that Dylan would eventually retreat to write songs and play them and try others, in its large basement. The 2 track recordings made by them, as sort of audio sketch book, in the basement itself, came known as the Basement Tapes. These tapes were circulated among other musicians at the time, and hits were made of "Too Much of Nothing" and "The Mighty Quinn" as recordings by other artists, 'Peter, Paul and Mary' and 'Manfred Mann' respectively. The house became known locally as 'Big Pink' for its pink siding. Members of Mr. Dylan's band (with Mr. Dylan himself writing one and co-writing two ) wrote most of the songs on Music From Big Pink at or around the house, and the band then adopted the moniker, The Band. Two of the songs written were on the Basement Tapes. Naturally enough, the house became the site of the rehearsing of the album, the actual recording of which took place in New York and Los Angeles.[1] The house was sold by Mr. Gramms in 1977 to M. Amitin, who rented the house to Parnassus Records a label specializing in classical music which used the basement as its headquarters. In 1998, Mr. Amitin sold the house to Don & Sue LaSala, who maintain the house as a private residence and keep the creative tradition alive by creating music in the Basement with friends from the Woodstock area and beyond.

Cover Art

Bob Dylan was responsible for the cover art of Music from Big Pink.[2]

Track listing


Side one

  1. "Tears of Rage" (Bob Dylan, Richard Manuel) – 5:23
  2. "To Kingdom Come" (Robbie Robertson) – 3:22
  3. "In a Station" (Manuel) – 3:34
  4. "Caledonia Mission" (Robertson) – 2:59
  5. "The Weight" (Robertson) – 4:38

Side two

  1. "We Can Talk" (Manuel) – 3:06
  2. "Long Black Veil" (Marijohn Wilkin, Danny Dill) – 3:06
  3. "Chest Fever" (Robertson) – 5:18
  4. "Lonesome Suzie" (Manuel) – 4:04
  5. "This Wheel's on Fire" (Dylan, Rick Danko) – 3:14
  6. "I Shall Be Released" (Dylan) – 3:19

A remastered version of this album was released in 2000 and in addition to the above, the following alternative and outtakes appeared:

  1. "Yazoo Street Scandal" (Robertson) – 4:01
  2. "Tears of Rage" (Dylan, Manuel) – 5:32
  3. "Katie's Been Gone" (Manuel, Robertson) – 2:46
  4. "If I Lose" (Charlie Poole) – 2:29
  5. "Long Distance Operator" (Dylan) – 3:58
  6. "Lonesome Suzie" (Manuel) – 3:00
  7. "Orange Juice Blues (Blues for Breakfast)" (Manuel) – 3:40
  8. "Key to the Highway" (Big Bill Broonzy) – 2:28
  9. "Ferdinand the Imposter" (Robertson) – 3:59



Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1968 Pop Albums 30
2000 Top Internet Albums 8

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1968 "The Weight" Pop Singles 63


External links


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