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The death of Levon

April 22, 2012

Levon helm performing with The Band. Hamburg, ...

Levon helm performing with The Band. Hamburg, May 1971. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was surprised by my reaction when I heard Levon Helm died. The news that he was in his final hours broke a few days earlier, so to find myself crying caught me by surprise. I know he was one of the greats as a musician and a drummer but I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard fan. I think we forget over the years the music we listened to as teens and I could probably sing you a lot of songs from The Band, but couldn’t tell you back then who they were. They were on the radio, they were on my sisters turntables, and they were the songs the boys liked. My respect for his work and for The Band grew with my passion for music, but I wasn’t a hardcore fan.

The list of my favorite artist ran through my head and what they might be thinking, feeling, what their reactions would be at that moment when they learned of his death. Listening to the DJ on the radio holding back his own tears and sharing stories of his youth and how the music of Levon Helm affected his life told me it isn’t just about the death of one musician, but how someone can inspire so many people to follow their dreams. We all have role models and I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the best drummers today would say Levon Helm was their biggest influence.

So it isn’t such a mystery anymore why his death affected me. I know if it wasn’t for him I never would’ve been introduced to my favorite bands that have gotten me through my darkest hours, and who have inspired me to follow my own dreams. Music heals, music saves lives, music changes the world.

Thank you, Levon. Rest in peace.

Simone Felice – Home – Requiem for Levon.

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