Robbie Robertson Recalls Bob Dylan’s Boo-Filled World Tour That Sparked a Revolution

The Band co-founder passed away at 80.

Matt Simeone
August 9, 2023

Bob Dylan and Robbie Robertson playing guitars at the Academy of Music on February 24, 1966. (Photo by Charlie Steiner – Highway 67/Getty Images)

During his later years, Robbie Robertson not only continued to release albums and make music for the movies, he also regaled his fans with timeless stories.

Watch: Robbie Robertson talks Dylan’s 1966 Tour and Martin Scorsese

Robertson, who sadly passed away today at 80, was famously the guitarist, at one point, for Bob Dylan and, of course, unforgettably The Band. Back in 2019, he sat down with SiriusXM host John Fugelsang to look back at his days working with Dylan, including during the iconic songwriter’s legendary 1966 world tour when he (at the time controversially) used an electric band.

“People [were] booing and throwing stuff at you every night,” Robertson said. “And we’re just going along.”

However, despite the harsh treatment from fans, Dylan and his band kept at it. Robertson added:

“Usually in a case like this, you would say, ‘You know what? The audience isn’t really gravitating toward this. Maybe we should change some things.’ No! It was called just play louder and faster and everything. And it was kind of like a rebellion.”

Robertson died Wednesday in Los Angeles after a long illness, according to an announcement from his management. In a statement, Robertson’s manager of 34 years, Jared Levine, said:

“Robbie was surrounded by his family at the time of his death, including his wife, Janet, his ex-wife, Dominique, her partner Nicholas, and his children Alexandra, Sebastian, Delphine, and Delphine’s partner Kenny. He is also survived by his grandchildren Angelica, Donovan, Dominic, Gabriel and Seraphina. Robertson recently completed his fourteenth film music project with frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon.’ In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Six Nations of the Grand River to support a new Woodland Cultural Center.”

Robertson is perhaps best remembered for the classics he wrote for The Band, including “The Weight,” “Up On Cripple Creek,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “The Shape I’m In” and “It Makes No Difference.”

In addition to his time with The Band, Robertson also famously collaborated with Bob Dylan on a number of projects. He also worked on music for the big screen, teaming up with Martin Scorsese – who directed The Band’s 1976 classic documentary, The Last Waltz – on era-spanning films such as Raging Bull (1980), Casino (1996), The Departed (2006), The Irishman (2019), and most recently The Killers of the Flower Moon (2023).