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Richard Manuel


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Richard Manuel (April 3, 1943 - March 4, 1986) was a Canadian pianist, keyboardist, drummer, singer and songwriter best known for his membership in The Band.


Manuel was born in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. As a teenager, he developed a rhythmic style of piano unique in its usage of inverted chord structures and was a naturally talented vocalist, with a timbre often compared to that of Ray Charles. These talents were showcased in his band, The Rockin’ Revols.

In the summer of 1961, at the age of eighteen, he joined Ronnie Hawkins’ backing group, The Hawks, which already consisted of 21-year-old Levon Helm on drums, 17-year-old Robbie Robertson on guitar and 18-year-old Rick Danko on 6-string bass (Garth Hudson, aged 24, joined that Christmas). After two years, Manuel departed the Hawks along with Helm, Robertson, Danko, Hudson and saxophonist Jerry Penfound (occasionally joined by singer Bruce Bruno), initially as the Levon Helm Sextet (as Helm had accumulated the most time with Hawkins), later changed to the Canadian Squires, and then to Levon and the Hawks. With Helm serving as nominal leader due to his longevity with the Hawkins group, it was in fact Manuel (easily the most accomplished vocalist from a technical standpoint) who led the group on stage, singing most of the songs in the group’s repertoire and serving as de facto frontman.

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  • Groovygirl66

    Richard is my favourite male singer - so naturally soulfull and versatile. He should be more revered than he is. Just beautifull...

    4 Sep 2009 Reply
  • nicoinfurs

    dope ass guy, always makes me laugh when I watch The Last Waltz

    13 Apr 2009 Reply
  • TippinMyStuff


    10 Mar 2009 Reply
  • beardsitaly

    Richard always in our heart.

    16 Sep 2008 Reply

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