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.”
Jonesing for music on your television set? You?ve come to the right place, rockers! Check out our shortlist below. For more extensive listings, read VH1?s Rock on TV schedule daily.
Rent, 7:20 a.m. (EST), SBLK: Not content to deal with the perils of New York City real estate alone, this Broadway-to-big screen adaptation manages to trivialize difficult issues like AIDS and relationships by setting them to music. Loosely based on La Boheme, and barely redeemed by the presence of a scantily clad Rosario Dawson.
The Last Waltz, 11:00 a.m. (EST), SHON: It’s Thanksgiving of 1976, and the Band is playing its final show. Director Martin Scorcese‘s there to document the show in its entirety, as well as film the fallout of the retirement. In a graceful full-circle gesture, the guys return to the stage where they played their innaugural show 16 years earlier at San Francisco’s Winterland Arena. During the course of the concert, former Band leaders join them on stage (Bob Dylan, Ronnie Hawkins), as well as a who’s who of classic rock titans — Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Keith Richards and Van Morrison. Regarded as one of the best rock n’ roll concert films.