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Byron Shire
September 28, 2023

RIP Robbie and Rodriguez

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Rodriguez on stage at Bluesfest in 2013. Photo Eve Jeffery.

Two more musical giants have left us, with news yesterday of the deaths of Robbie Robertson, of The Band, and Sixto Rodriguez.

Robbie Robertson died at the age of 80 after a long illness. Rodriguez was 81. There is no public information about his cause of death, although it was known he had also suffered physically from a hard life working construction in Detroit, as shown in the film Searching for Sugar Man.

Since his early years playing with The Hawks, then Bob Dylan and in The Band, Canadian guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson carved out a long and successful solo career, including many soundtrack collaborations with Martin Scorsese, following The Last Waltz.

In recent years Robertson published a book and made a film about his time with The Band.

Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood said ‘he was a lovely man, a great friend and will be dearly missed.’

Rodriguez won the hearts of many, especially in Australia and South Africa, after his return from obscurity at the age of 70 (and rumours of his early demise, following his initial recordings).

His shows at Byron Bay Bluesfest in 2013 with members of Midnight Oil, Hunters & Collectors and Violent Femmes were a particular highlight, with the singer physically frail but still in fine voice.

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