500 Greatest Songs of All Time

41

The Band, 'The Weight'

Writer: Robbie Robertson
Producer: John Simon
Released: Aug. '68, Capitol
7 weeks; No. 63

The Band was chiefly known as Bob Dylan's touring group when it retreated to a pink house in Woodstock, New York, to record its debut, Music From Big Pink. The album was centered by "The Weight," an oddball fable of debt and burden driven by an indelible singalong chorus ("Take a load off, Fanny. . . ."). Robertson said he was inspired to write the song after watching director Luis Bunuel's films about "the impossibility of sainthood," but characters such as Crazy Chester (who tries to pawn his dog off on the narrator) could have walked straight out of an old folk song. As for the biblical-sounding line "pulled into Nazareth," it refers to Nazareth, Pennsylvania, home of the Martin Guitar factory.

Appears on: Music From Big Pink (Capitol)

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