The Band The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

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The Band The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

The Band The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Roots Rock

The song was written by Band member and guitarist Robbie Robertson. It was released on The Band’s 1969 album titled The Band. That was a concept album, with songs about American people, places, traditions, and history. They also released “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” as a single. It was the B-Side to “Up on Cripple Creek.” The single went to #10 in Canada and #25 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song is on Rolling Stone’s List of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” It is also on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. On the track are Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, and Robbie Robertson.

Joan Baez did a cover with some changes to the lyrics in 1971, and that version went to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #1 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary Chart, and #6 in the U.K.

The Band formed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. in 1964. They came together as they joined rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins’s backing group The Hawks (circa 1958-1963). Hawkins was originally from Arkansas and then settled in Ontario. They broke with Hawkins and then toured and recorded with Bob Dylan. Helm said that because they were “the band” behind a number of artists, he decided to name them The Band. They went on to play folk rock, country rock, and roots rock (that is, music looking towards rock’s roots in blues, folk, and country music).

Here are the lyrics to “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” by The Band:

Virgil Caine is the name
And I served on the Danville train
‘Till Stoneman’s cavalry came
And tore up the tracks again

In the winter of ’65
We were hungry, just barely alive
By May the 10th, Richmond had fell
It’s a time I remember, oh so well

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, “Sha na na na na na na na na na na na na na na”

Back with my wife in Tennessee
When one day she called to me
She said, “Virgil, quick, come see,
There goes Robert E. Lee!”

Now, I don’t mind chopping wood
And I don’t care if my money’s no good
You take what you need
And you leave the rest
But they should never
Have taken the very best

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went “Sha na na na na na na na na na na na na na na”

Like my father before me I will work the land
And like my brother above me
Who took a rebel stand
He was just 18, proud and brave
But a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the mud below my feet
You can’t raise a Caine back up
When he’s in defeat

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, “Sha na na na na na na na na na na na na na na”

The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, “Sha na na na na na na na na na na na na na na”
Check Out The Groove Pad for More 1960s Music

The Pass the Paisley Groove Pad is a resting stop, a place to┬áchill out and listen to the featured song on the┬ástereo. If the mood strikes you, click on the juke box to access and listen to the 50+ free online songs there. The TV has several channels, with selections updated twice a week. Every now and then, Pass the Paisley hosts an all-request of 1960s and 1970s songs for a Be-In at the juke box in the Groove Pad. Keep on truckin’. Hope you enjoyed “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” by The Band.

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