When Bob Dylan described the Band's "wild mercury sound," he was really talking about Robbie Robertson's guitar, as exemplified by his torrid, squawking solo on "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" from their 1966 tour. But by the time the Band were making their own LPs, Robertson had pared down his approach, evolving into a consummate ensemble player. "I wanted to go in the opposite direction," said Robertson, "to do things that were so tasteful and discreet and subtle, like Curtis Mayfield and Steve Cropper... where it was all about the song."
Key Tracks: "The Shape I'm In," "Like a Rolling Stone (Live 1966)"
• Video: Robbie Robertson Talks About the Evolution of his Guitar Style
• The Beginnings of the Band: Rolling Stone's 1968 Cover Story
• A Portrait of the Band as Young Hawks: Rolling Stone's 1978 Feature on 'The Last Waltz'