Skip Navigation

In Memoriam: Robbie Robertson, O.C., (1943-2023)

In Memoriam: Robbie Robertson, O.C., (1943-2023)

Published on August 10, 2023

The Royal Conservatory mourns the loss of Robbie Robertson, legendary singer, songwriter and guitarist, and RCM Honorary Fellow.

Robbie Robertson
Growing up in Toronto where he was born in 1943, as a boy Mr. Robertson discovered a love for music through many visits with his mother to the Six Nations Reserve where she grew up, and where he would be mentored in playing guitar by his older cousin Herb and other family members. His early passion for music was fueled by listening to rock ‘n’ roll, R&B and blues coming through the airwaves from Buffalo and Nashville radio stations at that time.

In 1956 at just 13 years old, Mr. Robertson formed his first band with two friends where they would perform popular songs at local teen dances. At 16, now in a different band called The Suedes, he played a show at CHUM Radio’s Hi-Fi Club and caught the eye of music legend Ronnie Hawkins for which he would go on to play and write songs with. After a two-year tour with Bob Dylan from 1965-67, Mr. Robertson’s group at the time would become known as the legendary rock group The Band.

With signatures songs including “The Weight”, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “Up on Cripple Creek”, The Band has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Mr. Robertson also won an additional 5 Junos as a solo artist with popular songs such as “Showdown at Big Sky” and “Somewhere Down The Crazy River” and holds a place in the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

In 2018, The Royal Conservatory conferred the designation of Honorary Fellow on Mr. Robertson and will be dedicating its upcoming concert "Commemorate Truth & Reconciliation" on September 29, 2023 in Mr. Robertson’s memory.

The Robertson Family has kindly requested donations be made to the Woodlands Cultural Centre on Six Nations of the Grand River.