Among the many farewells to Levon Helm from his musical peers, Bob Dylan’s may be the most poignant, calling the singer and drummer “One of the last great spirits of my or any other generation.”
Dylan and Helm appeared together in Martin Scorsese’s concert film “The Last Waltz,” which recorded The Band’s last concert before they broke up. The film has been called one of the greatest concert movies of all time. The Artisphere in Arlington, Va., plans to show the film Thursday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m.
Dylan wrote on his Web site:
He was my bosom buddy friend to the end, one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation. This is just so sad to talk about. I still can remember the first day I met him and the last day I saw him. We go back pretty far and had been through some trials together. I'm going to miss him, as I'm sure a whole lot of others will, too.
Dylan and Helm were friends and frequent collaborators. Helm died Thursday at age 71 of throat cancer.
Scorsese, too, paid tribute to Helm:
The late Jim Carroll once said that Levon Helm was the only drummer who could make you cry, and he was absolutely right. Levon's touch was so delicate, so deft, that he gave you more than just a beat — he gave the music a pulse. And his high, ringing voice was just as soulful. His bandmate Robbie Robertson wrote "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" for Levon to sing, and I'll never forget how moving it was to watch him sing it during their final performance at Winterland, which is one of the high points of the movie we made from that show, The Last Waltz. Levon was a gentleman, a consummate artist (and, I might add, a wonderful actor — his performance as Loretta Lynn's father in Coal Miner's Daughter is rich, understated and very moving), and he loved music as deeply and truly as anyone I've ever met. I consider myself fortunate to have worked with Levon, and I am one among many, many people who will miss him."