Levon Helm - Levon Helm Was 'The Greatest Drummer', Says Elton John
Levon Helm, the drummer and singer with The Band, has received fitting tributes from the music world since his tragic death earlier this week. Those remembering the late musician include Elton John, who spoke of Helm's influence on his own career.
The singer - who sang about Helm in his song 'Levon' - told Entertainment Weekly, "When I heard The Band's music from Big Pink, their music changed my life.And Levon was a big part of that band. Nigel Olson, my drummer, will tell you that every drummer that heard him was influenced by him. He was the greatest drummer and a wonderful singer and just a part of my life that was magical". Helm, 71, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998 and passed away peacefully surrounded by his family, friends and band-mates this week. Elton said he had "no idea" that the musician was sick, and added, ".I'm very dismayed and shocked that he died so quickly. But now my son [Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John] has his name".
Levon and The Band became one of the most influential groups of their generation, and influenced a whole host of contemporary artists. Their musicianship was often considered incomparable, with Robbie Robertson providing expert blues guitar, Rick Danko an ingenuous bassist and accomplished singer, and Garth Hudson a unique keyboardist.