Levon Helm decided he would become a musician when he was six years old after catching a Bill Monroe bluegrass show. Today, he died a legend. Levon was known mostly as the drummer of The Band, a band that first gained major exposure by playing backup for Bob Dylan, then became a force in its own right with two seminal ’60s country-rock albums (Music from Big Pink and The Band). But Levan also used his twangy southern tenor to double at times as a lead singer, and periodically played mandolin, guitar and bass.
Levon had battled throat cancer since the late ’90s, but the seriousness of his current condition was only made public earlier this week when his daughter and wife posted a message to his website saying that he was in the “final stages of his battle with cancer” and to “please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey.”