The Weight Introduction
It's The Band's signature song – but cover versions by Aretha Franklin, Jackie DeShannon, and The Supremes and The Temptations all did better on the charts.
It's loaded with Biblical references and has generated tons of religion-based analysis – but guitarist Robbie Robertson says he was actually inspired by a Spanish surrealist filmmaker, and vocalist/drummer Levon Helm says that the song is just about a bunch of old friends from Turkey Scratch and Fayetteville.
Everyone knows the chorus – but few would bet their life on the song's most troubling question: is it Annie or Fanny that's getting rid of her load?
"The Weight." It's time we figured this song out.
About the Song
|Artist||The Band||Musician(s)||Levon Helm (lead vocals, drums), Rick Danko (lead vocals, bass), Richard Manuel (back vocals, Hammond organ), Robbie Robertson (acoustic guitar), Garth Hudson (piano)|
|Album||Music from Big Pink|
Learn to play: Tablature
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The Band's biggest hit, "The Weight," was also both of and not of its own time. It explored the kinds of challenges faced by would-be saints that have troubled writers from Bunyan to Ignatius to Milton, The Band brought this kind of story into their own world, and tracked their pilgrim's progress through the streets of a twentieth-century Pennsylvania town.
On the ChartsThe song reached #63 on the American charts and #35 in Canada. Aretha Franklin's 1969 cover reached #19 in the US and #12 in Canada.
Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Songs puts the song at #41.