Raise your hand if you thought The Band’s Music From Big Pink was destined to become one of rock’s most influential albums when it was released fifty years ago (assuming you were listening to rock music then).
Many rock veterans regard Big Pink as a sacred text. Eric Clapton, said to have been haunted by it, confessed to listening daily. Roger Waters placed it right behind The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as the most influential record in rock history. “Sonically, the way the record’s constructed, I think Music From Big Pink is fundamental to everything that happened after it.”
I bought it at the time and liked it, but I don’t think I really appreciated it until after I listened to Columbia’s half-assed release of Dylan’s Basement Tapes in the mid-70s. That’s when it clicked for me, although I didn’t learn about Clapton’s worship of the album and how it changed his approach to recording — evidently, Layla wouldn’t have been Layla without Big Pink — until later.
Anyway, here’s my favorite tune from the album, “Chest Fever”.