Singers to honor Helm at Grammys

Craig Ruttle/Associated Press

Levon Helm performs in 2009 with the Levon Helm Band during the Heroes of Woodstock concert at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, N.Y. Elton John and Mumford & Sons will pay tribute to Helm, who died in April. T Bone Burnett, Mavis Staples, Zac Brown and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes also will perform “The Weight” at Sunday’s awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

By MESFIN FEKADU
AP Music Writer

NEW YORK – Elton John and Mumford & Sons will hit the Grammys stage to pay tribute to Levon Helm.

The Recording Academy announced Wednesday that T Bone Burnett, Mavis Staples, Zac Brown and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes will also perform “The Weight” at Sunday’s awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

“Can you think of a song that fits (more)?” said Ken Ehrlich, producer of the Grammy Awards. “Philosophically, it fits the moment.”

Helm was the drummer and singer for The Band. He died of complications from cancer last year at age 71.

The Band’s 1968 debut, “Music From Big Pink,” and its follow-up, “The Band,” remain landmark albums of the era, and songs such as “The Weight” and “Cripple Creek” have become rock standards. Early on, The Band backed Bob Dylan on his sensational and controversial electric tours of 1965-66 and collaborated with him on the legendary “The Basement Tapes.”

Ehrlich said the lineup of performers is a representation of Helm’s diverse sound. They’ll sing “The Weight” when the show has its in memoriam tribute, which honors musicians who died last year.

“Generationally, it’s very mixed, and genre-wise, it’s certainly mixed and ... that’s what (Helm) was all about,” Ehrlich said. “He was about old and young, country and pop. He was this incredibly eclectic artist.”

The Grammy Awards will air live from Los Angeles on CBS.

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