After The Band backed up Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour, the boss took a dive on his motorcycle, leaving the group to their own devices. Working out the basement of a house with gaudy pink siding in Saugerties, New York, the group worked on refining their folksy rootsy rock’n’roll with and without Dylan’s input. Manager Albert Grossman soon found the group a record deal with Capitol, which released Music from the Big Pink in 1968.
The album was full of classics. “The Weight,” “Chest Fever,” “I Shall Be Released,” and the hard-to-figure-out “This Wheel’s on Fire,” a co-write between Dylan and Rick Danko the year before.
It became a standard part of The Band’s repertoire and was covered by everyone from The Byrds and The Hollies to the Dead Boys and Elvis Costello.
Probably the most famous covers were a 1968 recording by Julie Driscoll which eventually became the theme song for the UK TV comedy, Absolutely Fabulous…
…and Siouxsie and the Banshees’ 1987 version.
Today (November 20), the song was officially been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Have a listen to this brand new version by Joey Landreth.