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Earlier this week–on the 26th of May–Levon Helm would have turned 81, and Bernie Taupin paid homage on his Instagram page.


”Happy birthday to the one and only,” he wrote. ”When I first heard his tom-tom rolls on Tears of Rage and heard his voice for the first time, it changed the landscape of my musical horizon.”
On February 10, 2013, Elton led an all-star performance at the Grammy Awards, of The Band’s The Weight, in tribute to Helm who lost his battle with cancer ten months earlier. 
Elton was joined for this performance by members of Alabama Shakes and Mumford & Sons, as well as Zac Brown, T Bone Burnett, and Mavis Staples.
After hearing that Levon has died, Elton told Entertainment Weekly how much the musician meant to him.
”When I heard The Band‘s Music from Big Pink, their music changed my life. And Levon was a big part of that band. Nigel Olsson, my drummer, will tell you that every drummer that heard him was influenced by him. He was the greatest drummer and a wonderful singer and just a part of my life that was magical. They once flew down to see me in Philadelphia and I couldn’t believe it. They really changed the face of music when their records came out. I had no idea he was sick so I’m very dismayed and shocked that he died so quickly. But now my son {Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John} has his name.”

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