The album that for many pop music aficionados created the template for what eventually would be known as Americana music, The Band’s 1968 debut “Music From Big Pink,” will be reissued in recognition of its 50th anniversary.
To be issued in multiple formats, anniversary editions will be released Aug. 31 by Capitol Records and Universal Music Entertainment, a bit after the actual 50th anniversary of the original release, which falls on Sunday.
The collection, which featured many songs written at the rural house known as Big Pink in West Saugerties, in upstate New York, and recorded at studios in New York and Los Angeles, was ranked No. 34 on Rolling Stone’s 2012 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. “It was the rustic beauty of the Band's music and the drama of their own reflections on family and obligations, on songs such as ‘The Weight,’ that made ‘Big Pink’ instant homespun classic,” the magazine wrote.
“Music From Big Pink” also included such soon-to-be classic songs as “This Wheel’s on Fire,” “Tears of Rage” and its rendition of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.”
Dylan also created the painting used as the album’s front cover.
The stripped-down purity and sense of timelessness in the music and lyrics served as dramatic counterpoint to the excursions in psychedelia and extended jamming that were becoming a regular part of rock music in 1968.
Its seamless fusion of country, folk, blues, gospel, R&B, jazz and rock set the stage for the pop music subgenre eventually labeled Americana.
A super deluxe edition will comprise a CD, two vinyl LPs, a 7-inch vinyl box set that includes a hardbound book and Blu-ray disc with new high-resolution stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes of all the “Big Pink” songs. It also will be available as a single CD and digital editions, both including a half-dozen bonus tracks; double LP black vinyl and a limited edition 180-gram two-LP set on pink vinyl.
The accompanying book includes Elliott Landy’s photos of the group members — Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson — shot in and around the Big Pink house, evoking the richly atmospheric Civil War photos of Matthew Brady. It also includes a new essay by veteran Rolling Stone contributor David Fricke.