Doubt the obvious. Embrace the unexpected.”

-Barry Siskind

Robbie Robertson (1943-2023)

2006 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Popular Music)

Singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer Robbie Robertson is one of rock music's most influential and legendary figures, a living symbol of brilliant roots musicianship, spiritual journey, and Canada's multicultural character. From his early days as a touring musician to his award-winning albums and scores for major Hollywood movies, Mr. Robertson has been at the epicentre of the music scene for over four decades.

The son of a Mohawk mother and a Jewish father, Mr. Robertson grew up in Toronto and on the nearby Six Nations Reservation. "My early experiences at Six Nations, that lifestyle where the music, the family, the storytelling are all one, had a big influence on me," he recalls.

He first rose to prominence in the early 1960s as part of The Hawks, backing rockabilly star Ronnie Hawkins. That group evolved into The Band: they toured with Bob Dylan, performed at Woodstock, and released a string of hugely successful albums, including Music from Big Pink (1968), The Band (1969), and their swan song, The Last Waltz (1976), also captured in a feature-length documentary directed by Martin Scorsese and produced by Mr. Robertson.

He began an extended association with Scorsese, collaborating on the music for Raging Bull (1980), King of Comedy (1983), The Color of Money (1986), Casino (1995), Gangs of New York (2002), and The Departed (2006). He also produced and starred in films, including Carny (1980) and The Crossing Guard (1995).

Robbie Robertson's hit songs range from such classics as "The Weight," "Up on Cripple Creek" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" to the more recent "Showdown at Big Sky" and "Broken Arrow." He has performed with such stars as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, U2, Peter Gabriel, Daniel Lanois and Gil Evans. He has released four recordings and was profiled in a PBS special about Native American music. He is currently working on a Native North American Broadway musical.

Awards and honours include numerous Juno Awards; inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame (2003) and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1994, as a member of The Band); National Aboriginal Achievement Award, Lifetime Achievement (2003); Native American Music Lifetime Achievement Award (1998); and honorary doctorates from Queen's University and York University.