Peter Brian Gabriel is an English singer and record producer who rose to fame as the original lead singer and flautist of the progressive rock band Genesis. After leaving Genesis in 1975, Gabriel launched a successful solo career with "Solsbury Hill" as his first single, his 1986 album, So, is his best-selling release and is certified triple platinum in the UK and five times platinum in the U. S; the album's most successful single, "Sledgehammer", won a record nine MTV Awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards and, according to a report in 2011, it was MTV's most played music video of all time. Gabriel has been a champion of world music for much of his career, he co-founded the WOMAD festival in 1982. He has continued to focus on producing and promoting world music through his Real World Records label, he has pioneered digital distribution methods for music, co-founding OD2, one of the first online music download services. Gabriel has been involved in numerous humanitarian efforts. In 1980, he released the anti-apartheid single "Biko".
He has participated in several human rights benefit concerts, including Amnesty International's Human Rights Now! tour in 1988, co-founded the Witness human rights organisation in 1992. Gabriel developed The Elders with Richard Branson, launched by Nelson Mandela in 2007. Gabriel has won three Brit Awards—winning Best British Male in 1987, six Grammy Awards, thirteen MTV Video Music Awards, the first Pioneer Award at the BT Digital Music Awards, the Q magazine Lifetime Achievement, the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Polar Music Prize, he was made a BMI Icon at the 57th annual BMI London Awards for his "influence on generations of music makers". In recognition of his many years of human rights activism, he received the Man of Peace award from the Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. AllMusic has described Gabriel as "one of rock's most ambitious, innovative musicians, as well as one of its most political".
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010, followed by his induction as a solo artist in 2014. In March 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of South Australia in recognition of his achievements in music. Peter Brian Gabriel was born on 13 February 1950 in Surrey, his father, Ralph Parton Gabriel, was an electrical engineer, his mother, Edith Irene, from a musical family, taught him to play the piano at an early age. His great-great-great-uncle, Sir Thomas Gabriel, 1st Baronet, was Lord Mayor of London from 1866 to 1877. Gabriel attended a private primary school in Woking, he played drums in his first rock bands, Mike Rutherford commented in 1985 that "Pete was—and still is, I think—a frustrated drummer". Gabriel founded Genesis in 1967 with fellow Charterhouse pupils Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford, drummer Chris Stewart; the name of the band was suggested by fellow Charterhouse alumnus, the pop music impresario Jonathan King, who produced their first album, From Genesis to Revelation.
Gabriel has said to be influenced by many different sources in his way of singing, such as Family lead singer Roger Chapman and theatrical singer Arthur Brown. In 1970, he played the flute on Mona Bone Jakon. Genesis drew some attention in Britain and also in Italy, Belgium and other European countries due to Gabriel's flamboyant stage presence, which involved numerous bizarre costume changes and comical, dreamlike stories told as the introduction to each song; the concerts made extensive use of black light with the normal stage lighting off. A backdrop of fluorescent white sheets and a comparatively sparse stage made the band into a set of silhouettes, with Gabriel's fluorescent costume and make-up providing the only other sources of light. Early Genesis concerts were hampered by a bad PA system that made it difficult for audiences to understand what Gabriel was singing. According to Mike Rutherford, this drove Gabriel to find other ways to impress his personality on the audience, leading to his performing in various costumes.
In an episode of the 2007 British documentary series Seven Ages of Rock, Steve Hackett recalled the first appearance of Gabriel "in costume". It was the fox-headed entity immortalised on the cover of Foxtrot. Hackett and the rest of the band had no inkling that Gabriel was going to do this, at the time Hackett worried that it would ruin the performance, it was a success. Among Gabriel's many famous costumes, which he developed to visualise the musical ideas of the band as well as to gain press coverage, were "Batwings" for the band's usual opening number, "Watcher of the Skies". Other costumes included "The Flower" and "Magog", which were both alternately worn for "Supper's Ready" from the album Foxtrot. "Britannia" was worn for "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", "The Reverend" for "The Battle of Epping Forest". "The Old Man" was worn for "The Musical Box" from Nursery Cryme. "The Slipperman" and "Rael" were worn during "The Colony of Slippermen", in which "Rael" was the protagonist of the album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
Gabriel's departure from Genesis on 15 August 1975, which stunned fans of the group and left many commentators wondering if the band could survive, was the result of several factors. His statu
Michael Kenneth Been was an American rock musician who achieved critical attention and rotation play on MTV in the 1980s with his band The Call. He released an album of his solo work and toured with his son's band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, his song "Let the Day Begin" was the official campaign song of Al Gore's 2000 U. S. presidential campaign. His song "Oklahoma" was one of the top ten choices for Oklahoma's official state rock song and a line from the song provided the name for Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock & Roll Exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center. Born in Oklahoma City, Been lived in Park Forest, south of Chicago, where he attended high school and formed his first band, The Chessman. After graduation, he moved to Chicago, where he was a member of the band Aorta at the time of their second album Aorta 2, in 1970, he joined Lovecraft, the successor band to the psychedelic rock group H. P. Lovecraft, he played with former Moby Grape members Jerry Miller and Bob Mosley in the band Fine Wine, with Miller in the Original Haze.
Been played bass on the first two albums by 2nd Chapter of Acts, their 1974 album With Footnotes and their 1975 album In the Volume of the Book, as well as Barry McGuire's 1974 release, Lighten Up. Been formed his band, The Call in the 1970s in Northern California with Tom Ferrier on guitar, bassist Greg Freeman and drummer Scott Musick. Known as Motion Pictures at the time, they were first discovered by Tulsa's Phil Seymour. By the dawning of the 1980s, the band had become The Call, they released a self-titled album in 1982 with Mercury Records; the band's 1983 album Modern Romans led to a world tour opening for Peter Gabriel and featured the song "The Walls Came Down" which achieved heavy rotation on MTV. Been participated in composing and performing the music to Paul Schrader's 1992 film Light Sleeper; the film features two of his songs, To Feel This Way and World On Fire. In 1994, he recorded a solo album, On the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough. Been appeared as a sideman in bands fronted by actor Harry Dean Stanton.
He played the apostle John in Martin Scorsese's 1988 feature film The Last Temptation of Christ and had some film credits. Been recorded an album of solo material in the 1990s. Been's son, Robert Levon Been, is the frontman for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Michael Been was involved in BRMC as their sound engineer and toured with them. Been died at the age of 60 on August 19, 2010, in Hasselt, Belgium, of a heart attack while at the Pukkelpop 2010 music festival where he was on-tour as a sound man for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Light Sleeper On the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough Michael Been on IMDb Michael Been memorial page via The Call official site
Simple Minds are a Scottish rock band formed in Glasgow in 1977. The most commercially successful Scottish band of the 1980s, they achieved five UK Albums chart number one albums and have sold an estimated 70 million albums. Despite various personnel changes, they continue to tour; the band scored a string of hit singles, becoming best known internationally for their 1985 hit "Don't You", from the soundtrack of the film The Breakfast Club. Their other more prominent hits include "Alive and Kicking" and "Belfast Child". In 2016, they received the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection from the British Academy of Songwriters and Authors; the core of the band is Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill. The other current band members are Ged Grimes, Sarah Brown, Gordy Goudie, Cherisse Osei and Catherine AD. Former members include bass guitarist Derek Forbes, keyboardists Mick MacNeil and Andy Gillespie, drummers Brian McGee and Mel Gaynor; the roots of Simple Minds are in the short-lived punk band Johnny & The Self-Abusers, founded on the South Side of Glasgow in early 1977.
The band was conceived by would-be Glasgow scene-maker Alan Cairnduff, although he left the job of organising the band to his friend John Milarky. At Cairnduff’s suggestion, Milarky teamed up with two musicians he had never worked with before – budding singer and lyricist Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill. Kerr and Burchill had known each other since the age of eight. After joining Johnny & The Self-Abusers, they brought in two of their school friends, Brian McGee on drums and Tony Donald on bass. With Milarky established as singer and saxophonist, the line-up was completed by his friend Allan McNeill as third guitarist. Kerr and Burchill doubled on keyboards and violin respectively. In common with the early punk bands, various members took on stage names—Milarky became "Johnnie Plague", Kerr became "Pripton Weird", MacNeil chose "Sid Syphilis" and Burchill chose "Charlie Argue". Johnny & The Self-Abusers played their first gig on Easter Monday, 11 April 1977, at the Doune Castle pub in Glasgow.
The band played. The band went on to play a summer of concerts in Glasgow; the band soon split into two factions, with Milarky and McNeil on one side and Kerr, Burchill and McGee on the other: at the same time, Milarky's compositions were being edged out in favour of those of Kerr and Burchill. In November 1977, Johnny & The Self-Abusers released its only single, "Saints and Sinners", on Chiswick Records; the band split on the same day that the single was released, with Milarky and McNeil going on to form The Cuban Heels. Ditching the stage names and the overt punkiness, the remaining members continued together as Simple Minds. In January 1978, Simple Minds recruited Duncan Barnwell as a second guitarist. Meanwhile, Kerr had abandoned keyboards to concentrate on vocals. In March 1978, Burchill, Barnwell and McGee were joined by the Barra-born keyboard player Mick MacNeil; the band established a reputation as an exciting live act and gained a management deal with Bruce Findlay, owner of the Bruce's Records chain of record shops.
Findlay owned Zoom Records, used his position to get Simple Minds signed to Arista. By early 1980, Findlay would have become the band's full-time manager via his Schoolhouse Management company; the band's line-up did not settle until the end of 1978. Tony Donald quit in April 1978, he was replaced by Duncan Barnwell's friend Derek Forbes. In November 1978, Barnwell was asked to leave; the remaining quintet of Kerr, MacNeil, Forbes and McGee—generally considered as the first serious line-up of Simple Minds—began rehearsing the set of Kerr/Burchill-written songs which appear on their début album. The first Simple Minds album, Life in a Day, was produced by John Leckie and released by Arista in April 1979; the album's title track "Life in a Day" was released as Simple Minds' first single and reached No. 62 in the UK Gallup charts, with the album reaching No. 30 in the LP charts. The next single failed to chart. While preparing ideas for the next record, they played a support slot for Magazine, following which they went back to the studio with Leckie to work on new material.
Simple Minds' second release, Real to Real Cacophony was a significant departure from the pop tunes of Life in a Day. The album had a darker and far more experimental atmosphere, announcing some of the new wave experimentation that became the band’s trademark sound over the next two albums. Much of the album was written in the studio, although Simple Minds had been playing early versions of several tracks during the recent tour dates. Innovations which the band displayed on Real to Real Cacophony included minimalist structures based around the rhythm section of Forbes and McGee, plus the occasional use of unconventional time signatures; the band experimented with elements of dub, included the wordless and atmospheric "Veldt" in which they attempted to create an impression of
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew on the genres of blues and blues, from country music. Rock music drew on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, incorporated influences from jazz and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar as part of a rock group with electric bass and one or more singers. Rock is song-based music with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become diverse. Like pop music, lyrics stress romantic love but address a wide variety of other themes that are social or political. By the late 1960s "classic rock" period, a number of distinct rock music subgenres had emerged, including hybrids like blues rock, folk rock, country rock, southern rock, raga rock, jazz-rock, many of which contributed to the development of psychedelic rock, influenced by the countercultural psychedelic and hippie scene.
New genres that emerged included progressive rock. In the second half of the 1970s, punk rock reacted by producing stripped-down, energetic social and political critiques. Punk was an influence in the 1980s on new wave, post-punk and alternative rock. From the 1990s alternative rock began to dominate rock music and break into the mainstream in the form of grunge and indie rock. Further fusion subgenres have since emerged, including pop punk, electronic rock, rap rock, rap metal, as well as conscious attempts to revisit rock's history, including the garage rock/post-punk and techno-pop revivals at the beginning of the 2000s. Rock music has embodied and served as the vehicle for cultural and social movements, leading to major subcultures including mods and rockers in the UK and the hippie counterculture that spread out from San Francisco in the US in the 1960s. 1970s punk culture spawned the goth and emo subcultures. Inheriting the folk tradition of the protest song, rock music has been associated with political activism as well as changes in social attitudes to race and drug use, is seen as an expression of youth revolt against adult consumerism and conformity.
The sound of rock is traditionally centered on the amplified electric guitar, which emerged in its modern form in the 1950s with the popularity of rock and roll. It was influenced by the sounds of electric blues guitarists; the sound of an electric guitar in rock music is supported by an electric bass guitar, which pioneered in jazz music in the same era, percussion produced from a drum kit that combines drums and cymbals. This trio of instruments has been complemented by the inclusion of other instruments keyboards such as the piano, the Hammond organ, the synthesizer; the basic rock instrumentation was derived from the basic blues band instrumentation. A group of musicians performing rock music is termed as a rock group. Furthermore, it consists of between three and five members. Classically, a rock band takes the form of a quartet whose members cover one or more roles, including vocalist, lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist, bass guitarist and keyboard player or other instrumentalist. Rock music is traditionally built on a foundation of simple unsyncopated rhythms in a 4/4 meter, with a repetitive snare drum back beat on beats two and four.
Melodies originate from older musical modes such as the Dorian and Mixolydian, as well as major and minor modes. Harmonies range from the common triad to parallel perfect fourths and fifths and dissonant harmonic progressions. Since the late 1950s and from the mid 1960s onwards, rock music used the verse-chorus structure derived from blues and folk music, but there has been considerable variation from this model. Critics have stressed the eclecticism and stylistic diversity of rock; because of its complex history and its tendency to borrow from other musical and cultural forms, it has been argued that "it is impossible to bind rock music to a rigidly delineated musical definition." Unlike many earlier styles of popular music, rock lyrics have dealt with a wide range of themes, including romantic love, rebellion against "The Establishment", social concerns, life styles. These themes were inherited from a variety of sources such as the Tin Pan Alley pop tradition, folk music, rhythm and blues.
Music journalist Robert Christgau characterizes rock lyrics as a "cool medium" with simple diction and repeated refrains, asserts that rock's primary "function" "pertains to music, or, more noise." The predominance of white and middle class musicians in rock music has been noted, rock has been seen as an appropriation of black musical forms for a young and male audience. As a result, it has been seen to articulate the concerns of this group in both style and lyrics. Christgau, writing in 1972, said in spite of some exceptions, "rock and roll implies an identification of male sexuality and aggression". Since the term "rock" started being used in preference to "rock and roll" from the late-1960s, it has been contrasted with pop music, with which it has shared many characteristics, but from wh
Warner Bros. Records
Warner Bros. Records Inc. is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group and headquartered in Burbank, California. It was founded in 1958 as the recorded music division of the American film studio Warner Bros. and was one of a group of labels owned and operated by larger parent corporations for much of its existence. The sequence of companies that controlled Warner Bros. and its allied labels evolved through a convoluted series of corporate mergers and acquisitions from the early 1960s to the early 2000s. Over this period, Warner Bros. Records grew from a struggling minor player in the music industry to one of the top record labels in the world. In 2004, these music assets were divested by their owner Time Warner and purchased by a private equity group; this independent company traded as the Warner Music Group and was the world's last publicly traded major music company before being bought and privatized by Access Industries in 2011. Warner Music Group is the smallest of the three major international music conglomerates that include Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.
Max Lousada oversees recorded music operations of the company. Notable artists signed to Warner Bros. Records have included Prince, Kylie Minogue, Goo Goo Dolls, Sheryl Crow, Lil Pump, Green Day, Adam Lambert, Bette Midler, Duran Duran, Fleetwood Mac, Liam Gallagher, Fleet Foxes, Jason Derulo, Lily Allen and Sara, Dua Lipa, Linkin Park, Nile Rodgers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Black Keys, My Chemical Romance, Mr. Bungle, Regina Spektor, Van Halen. At the end of the silent movie period, Warner Bros. Pictures decided to expand into publishing and recording so that it could access low-cost music content for its films. In 1928, the studio acquired several smaller music publishing firms which included M. Witmark & Sons, Harms Inc. and a partial interest in New World Music Corp. and merged them to form the Music Publishers Holding Company. This new group controlled valuable copyrights on standards by George and Ira Gershwin and Jerome Kern and the new division was soon earning solid profits of up to US$2 million every year.
In 1930, MPHC paid US$28 million to acquire Brunswick Records, whose roster included Duke Ellington, Red Nichols, Nick Lucas, Al Jolson, Earl Burtnett, Ethel Waters, Abe Lyman, Leroy Carr, Tampa Red and Memphis Minnie, soon after the sale to Warner Bros. the label signed rising radio and recording stars Bing Crosby, Mills Brothers, Boswell Sisters. For Warner Bros. the dual impact of the Great Depression and the introduction of broadcast radio harmed the recording industry—sales crashed, dropping by around 90% from more than 100 million records in 1927 to fewer than 10 million by 1932 and major companies were forced to halve the price of records from 75c to 35c. In December 1931, Warner Bros. offloaded Brunswick to the American Record Corporation for a fraction of its former value, in a lease arrangement which did not include Brunswick's pressing plants. Technically, Warner maintained actual ownership of Brunswick, which with the sale of ARC to CBS in 1939 and their decision to discontinue Brunswick in favor of reviving the Columbia label, reverted to Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. sold Brunswick a second time, this time along with the old Brunswick pressing plants Warner owned, to Decca Records in exchange for a financial interest in Decca. The studio stayed out of the record business for more than 25 years, during this period it licensed its film music to other companies for release as soundtrack albums. Warner Bros. returned to the record business in 1958 with the establishment of its own recording division, Warner Bros. Records. By this time, the established Hollywood studios were reeling from multiple challenges to their former dominance—the most notable being the introduction of television in the late 1940s. Legal changes had a major impact on their business—lawsuits brought by major stars had overthrown the old studio contract system by the late 1940s. Pictures sold off much of its film library in 1948 and, beginning in 1949, anti-trust suits brought by the US government forced the five major studios to divest their cinema chains. In 1956, Harry Warner and Albert Warner sold their interest in the studio and the board was joined by new members who favoured a renewed expansion into the music business—Charles Allen of the investment bank Charles Allen & Company, Serge Semenenko of the First National Bank of Boston and investor David Baird.
Semenenko in particular had a strong professional interest in the entertainment business and he began to push Jack Warner on the issue of setting up an'in-house' record label. With the record business booming - sales had topped US$500 million by 1958 - Semnenko argued that it was foolish for Warner Bros. to make deals with other companies to release its soundtracks when, for less than the cost of one motion picture, they could establish their own label, creating a new income stream that could continue indefinitely and provide an additional means of exploiting and promoting its contract actors. Another impetus for the label's creation was the brief music career of Warner Bros. actor Tab Hunter. Although Hunter was signed to an exclusive acting contract with the studio, it did not prevent him from signing a recording contract, which he did with Dot Records, owned at the time by Paramount Pictures. Hunter scored several hits for Dot, including the US #1 single, "Young Love", to Warner Bros.' chagrin, reporters were asking about the hit record, rather than
James Kerr is a Scottish singer-songwriter and the lead singer of the rock band Simple Minds. He achieved five UK No. 1 albums with the band, including a No. 1 single in 1989 with "Belfast Child". He released his first solo album, Lostboy! AKA Jim Kerr, on 27 May 2010. Kerr's voice has been described as "David Bowie's rich baritone melded with Bryan Ferry's velvety croon". Born in Toryglen, Glasgow with Irish ancestry, Kerr attended Holyrood R. C. Secondary School there, he had a stammer in his early teens. In 1977, he was one of the founding members of the 6-piece punk rock band Johnny and the Self Abusers. Calling himself Pripton Weird, he played shared vocals with John Milarky. Allan McNeill was involved with the band, went on to be the manager of the pop band Hue and Cry; the band lasted 8 months. In November 1977, they changed their name to Simple Minds reduced to 4 members increased to 5 6 back to 5 before a period of stability ensued, he continues to record and tour with Simple Minds, who released their latest album Walk Between Worlds in spring 2018.
Kerr lives in Taormina, where he runs a hotel, Villa Angela. Three UK club dates in the spring of 2010 featured both new material and Simple Minds' back catalogue and a full European tour followed. "Shadowland" was released as the first single from the album. The album version of the song was made available to listen as an audio stream on 13 March 2010. A new remix, more suitable for radio airplay, was done by Cenzo Townshend whom Jim Kerr chose because of Townshends's previous work with Simple Minds' latest album Graffiti Soul. A promotional single with the new radio mixes of the song was shipped to radio stations on 4 April 2010."Shadowland" was meant to be released as a commercial physical release, but it was only released as a download single on 9 May 2010. The three tracks on the download single were the same three tracks available on the "Shadowland" radio promo single; the album version of "Refugee" was premiered on Billy Sloan's show on 7 March 2010. A week the full album version of "Refugee" was made available as a download from the initial www.lostboyaka.com website.
On 13 April 2010 "Refugee" was released as the lead track of the Welcome Gift 1 free download twin pack, released as part of the main website launch of www.lostboyaka.com. In addition to the released album version of "Refugee", the free download twin pack included the track "What Goes On", exclusive to this release; the package included the artwork and a text file requesting that the tracks not be uploaded to any other site."She Fell in Love With Silence" was released as a single on 15 August 2010. The single was released in both physical formats. Jim Kerr released his first solo album Lostboy! AKA Jim Kerr on 17 May 2010 under the name "Lostboy! AKA". Explaining the project name and ethos, he commented "I didn’t want to start a new band. I like my band...and I didn’t want a point blank Jim Kerr solo album either."The first Lostboy! AKA 10-date tour occurred from 18 to 31 May 2010. In August 2010, Lostboy! AKA embarked on a 12-date "Electroset Radio" tour for various European/UK radio stations but the band played only 4 dates.
A third Lostboy AKA! tour, a new 25-date "Electroset" one was scheduled from 18 October to 3 December 2010 but the band played only 9 shows till the rest of the tour was cancelled after the performance on 13 November 2010 in Dublin, Ireland because of Jim's mother Irene who had become ill with a recurrence of cancer. The second Lostboy! album, The Return Of The Lostboy!, was first mentioned by Jim Kerr in February 2010 during the post-production work on the first album. Jim Kerr demoed or recorded up to 25 songs for the new album, its release was indefinitely postponed. Kerr helped organise a 90th birthday party for Nelson Mandela at Hyde Park, London on 27 June 2008; the event came 20 years after Kerr and Simple Minds played a role in the 70th birthday concert at Wembley Stadium, held to demand Mandela's release. Mandela attended the 2008 event in person. Kerr was married to Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of The Pretenders, in 1984, they had one daughter named Yasmin. He was subsequently married to actress Patsy Kensit in 1992 with.
Jim Kerr is an active supporter of the club. Mark Kerr, the vocalist's brother, is a musician, playing in groups such as the hard rock band Gun. Lostboy! AKA Jim Kerr "Shadowland" "Refugee" "She Fell In Love With Silence" Penny Black Music Interview with Jim Kerr, May 2010
Jaime Royal "Robbie" Robertson, OC, is a Canadian musician, film composer, producer and author. Robertson is best known for his work as lead guitarist and primary songwriter for The Band, for his career as a solo recording artist. Robertson's work with the Band was instrumental in creating the Americana music genre. Robertson has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame as a member of the Band, has been inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame, both with the Band and on his own, he is ranked 59th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists. As a songwriter, Robertson is credited for writing "The Weight", "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", "Up on Cripple Creek", "Broken Arrow", "Somewhere Down the Crazy River", many others, he has been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Songwriters. As a film soundtrack producer and composer, Robertson is known for his collaborations with director Martin Scorsese, which began with the rockumentary film The Last Waltz, continued through a number of dramatic films, including Raging Bull and Casino.
He has worked on many other soundtracks for television. Robertson was born Jaime Royal Klegerman on July 5, 1943, he was an only child. His mother was Rose Marie Chrysler, a Cayuga and Mohawk woman, raised on the Six Nations Reserve southwest of Toronto, Ontario. Chrysler lived with an aunt in the Cabbagetown neighborhood, worked at a jewelry plating factory. Robertson's biological father was a Jewish professional gambler named Alexander David Klegerman. Klegerman was killed in a run accident while changing a tire on the Queen Elizabeth Way. Robertson's mother married co-worker James Patrick Robertson. Robertson's parents continued to work at the jewelry plating factory where they met, lived in several homes in different Toronto neighborhoods while Robertson was a child, his mother traveled with him to the Six Nations Reserve to visit their family. It was here that Robertson was mentored in playing guitar by family members, in particular his older cousin Herb Myke, he became a fan of rock'n' roll and R&B through the radio, listening to disc jockey George "Hound Dog" Lorenz play rock'n' roll on WKBW in Buffalo, New York, staying up at night to listen to disc jockey John R.'s all-night blues show on WLAC, a clear-channel station in Nashville, Tennessee.
When Robertson was 14, he worked two brief summer jobs in the traveling carnival circuit, first for a few days in a suburb of Toronto, as an assistant at a freak show for three weeks during the Canadian National Exhibition. These experiences led to the Band song "Life is a Carnival" and to the 1980 movie Carny, which he would produce and in which he was a lead actor, he began playing in bands in 1957 with his friend Pete "Thumper" Traynor, who would found Traynor Amplifiers. His first band with Traynor was called Robbie and the Rhythm Chords, who became Robbie and the Robots after they saw the film Forbidden Planet and took a liking to the film's character Robby the Robot. Traynor customized Robertson's guitar for the Robots, fitting it with antennae and wires to give it a space age look. After Robbie and the Robots, he played with Little Caesar and the Consuls, with the Traynor-led combo the Suedes, which featured Scott Cushnie on piano. After the Suedes opened for the Arkansas-based rockabilly group Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks at Dixie Arena, Hawkins hired Robertson for the Hawks' road crew.
Hawkins recorded two songs co-credited to Robertson, "Hey Baba Lou" and "Someone Like You", for his album Mr. Dynamo, brought Robertson to the Brill Building in New York City to help him choose songs for the rest of the album. Hawkins hired pianist Scott Cushnie away from the Suedes, took him on tour with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks in Arkansas; when the Hawks' bass player left the group, Cushnie recommended that Hawkins hire Robertson to replace him on bass. Hawkins invited him to come to Arkansas, flew to the UK to perform on television there, leaving Robertson in Arkansas with the Hawks. Meanwhile, Robertson practiced intensively each day. Upon returning, Hawkins hired him to play bass. Cushnie left the band a few months after joining them, and Robertson soon switched over from bass to playing lead guitar for the Hawks. Robertson soon developed into a guitar virtuoso. Roy Buchanan, a few years older than Robertson, was a member of the Hawks and became an important influence on Robertson's guitar style: "Standing next to Buchanan on stage for several months, Robertson was able to absorb Buchanan’s deft manipulations with his volume speed dial, his tendency to bend multiple strings for steel guitar-like effect, his rapid sweep picking and his passion for bending past the root and fifth notes during solo flights."Drummer/singer Levon Helm was a member of the Hawks and soon became close friends with Robertson.
The Hawks continued to tour the United States and Canada, adding Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson to the Hawks lineup in 1961. This lineup, which became the Band, toured with Hawkins throughout 1962 and into 1963, they hired the saxophone player Jerry Penfound and Bruce Bruno, who were both with the group in their intermediary period as Levon and the Hawks. Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks cut sessions for Roulette Records throughout 1961–1963, all of which Robertson appeared on; the sessions included three singles: "Come Love" b/w "I Feel Good".