The 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time

9

'Music From Big Pink'

the band
Courtesy Capitol Records

The Band
Capitol, 1968

Every rootsy rock guy ever owes something to this record, a bold embrace of American tradition and down-to-earth simplicity released into an era of protest and psychedelia. "Big Pink" was a pink house in Woodstock, New York, where the Band – Dylan's '65-66 backup band on tour – moved to be near Dylan after his motorcycle accident. While he recuperated, the Band backed him on the demos later known as The Basement Tapes and made its own debut. Dylan offered to play on the album; the Band said no thanks. "We didn't want to just ride his shirttail," drummer Levon Helm said. Dylan contributed "I Shall Be Released" and co-wrote two other tunes. But it was the rustic beauty of the Band's music and the incisive drama of its own reflections on family and obligations, such as "The Weight," that made Big Pink an instant homespun classic.

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