THE BAND’s Garth Hudson is celebrating his 81st birthday today. You all are familiar with Garth’s work, so we thought we’d mention this….
Garth was classically trained in piano, music theory, harmony and counterpoint, and first played professionally with dance bands in 1949 at the age of twelve and wrote his first song at the age of 11. He studied music at the University of Western Ontario for one year, but he grew increasingly frustrated with the rigidity of the classical repertoire. In 1958, he joined a rock and roll band, the Capers. He was also reported to say that he gained some performance experience from playing at his uncle’s funeral parlor. In December 1961, the 24-year-old Hudson joined The Hawks, the backing band for Ronnie Hawkins, which already consisted of 21-year-old Levon Helm on drums, 18-year-old Robbie Robertson on guitar, 18-year-old Rick Danko on bass and 18-year-old pianist Richard Manuel.
Fearing that his parents would think he was squandering his years of music education by playing in a rock and roll band, Hudson joined the band on the condition he be given the title “music consultant” and that his bandmates each pay him $10 a week for music lessons, allowing him to mollify his family’s fears that his education had gone to waste.
Don’t worry Garth, you did well with that education….
Happy Birthday Mr. Hudson!!!