This Wheel's On Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band Summary & Study Guide

Levon Helm
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This Wheel's On Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band Summary & Study Guide Description

This Wheel's On Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on This Wheel's On Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band by Levon Helm.

This Wheel's On Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band takes you through the journey of Levon Helm, the Band's drummer / singer / guitar player, from his early days of growing up on his family's cotton fields of his family farm in Arkansas to the rock and roll life style of playing with such entertainers as Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, Conway Twitty, Sonny Boy Williamson, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and many more.

The young men that come to be known simply as The Band meet in the late 1950's and early 1960's while playing with Ronnie Hawkins and his band the Hawks. The boys Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Levon Helm leave Ronnie to start a band all their own with the vow that they will indeed be a band—no lead singer, no front man, but a group in its truest sense, with every one contributing their own unique talents. However, just like so many great groups before and since, the price of fame is too great and ultimately Robbie Robertson lets too much of the Band's success fall to him, and the foundation the group was built on begins to crumble. As Robertson tries to step forward and take credit for the majority of the writing of the songs, the other members of the band begin to resent him. When Robbie basically forces the others to stop touring, the band splits apart. The Band does one final live concert that is to be filmed, the Last Waltz. They invite all the musicians who helped their careers along the way to be part of this farewell concert. Levon is very unhappy about ending the Band, but there is nothing he can do about it so he lets Robbie and the managers handle it the way they want to and he just shows up as long as they let Muddy Waters be part of the concert. The Last Waltz concert takes place on Thanksgiving night in 1976.

Rick Danko starts a solo career and Levon focuses on producing. Levon and his friend Henry Glover even produce an album for one of his music idols, Muddy Waters, during this time. Robbie tries his hand at acting; Levon also catches the acting bug and is in such films as the Coal Miner's Daughter, and The Right Stuff.

In 1983, Rick, Richard, Garth and Levon make their first appearance in the States together since the Last Waltz. While doing a show in 1986 in Florida, Richard Manuel takes his own life in the hotel the Band is staying in. This is a devastating loss for the members of the Band.

The three remaining members of the Band minus Robbie continue to play together until the death of Rick Danko in his sleep in 1999. Levon and Garth now play at Woodstock with Levon's daughter Amy. Levon has never forgiven Robbie for what Levon feels is his betrayal of the The Band and they never reconcile.

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This section contains 499 words
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Buy the This Wheel's On Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band Study Guide
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