Rick Danko, Bass Player For The Band
Rick Danko learned music as a young child, became an apprentice butcher at age 14, was a member of an American/Canadian Honky-Tonk Rock’n’Roll band at 17, an international Rock’n’Roll star with “The Band” by age 23, and died at age 56 of a heart attack.
Rick Danko was a kind, fun-loving, goofy man who used a distinctive and flowing style when playing bass (aided in part by his use of a fret-less bass beginning in the mid-70’s) and sang with a pitchy, falsetto voice on many of his lead-vocal tracks with the Band.
Rick Danko died in 1999 while I was in my senior year of college. I was just starting to understand the music of the Band at that point. The more I listen to the Band (and that activity occupies a significant portion of my daily routine) the more I realize how much Danko contributed to the sound of what I consider the greatest rock and roll ensemble of all time.
Lots of personal information about Danko (personal life, time with the Band, and solo work) can be found on this wonderful resource: http://theband.hiof.no/
There is also a Wikipedia article dedicated to Danko.
Two notable songs by the Band that Danko sang lead for included “Stage Fright” and “The Unfaithful Servant.” Both became staples for the group’s live performances, and both are among the best of the music the group recorded. Streaming examples can be found in the widget on the sidebar.
Rick was a wonderful musician, and by all reports a wonderful and generous man. The post is small tribute, but I want to honor this man who has had a very great impact on my life. Rick gets a 10, and he’s worth every point.