The Weight (4:34)

Cover of The Best of the Band

From The Best of the Band and 158 other releases

“The Weight” is a 1968 song by The Band. The song appears originally on The Band’s first album, Music from Big Pink.

“The Weight” is one of the group’s best known songs and among the most popular songs of the late 1960s counterculture. However, the song was not a significant mainstream hit for The Band in the US, peaking at only #63. The Band’s record fared much better in Canada and the UK – in those countries, the single was a top 40 hit, peaking at #35 in Canada and #21 in the UK in 1968. No fewer than three cover versions of “The Weight” actually charted higher on the US pop charts in 1968/69 than The Band’s original recording:

1968: Jackie DeShannon took the song to #55 US, #35 Canada.1969: A joint effort by Diana Ross & The Supremes and The Temptations hit #46 US, #36 Canada.1969: Aretha Franklin’s version was the highest charting recording of “The Weight” in both the US and Canada, peaking at #19 US, #12 Canada.

None of these cover versions charted in the UK, where The Band’s version of “The Weight” remains the only version to chart.

The song is #41 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list, published in 2004.[1] On the original single issue, the artist credit simply lists the names of the five members of The Band; the group name “The Band” does not appear.
Song theme

“The Weight” takes the folk music motif of a traveler, who in the first line arrives in Nazareth in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Once there, he encounters various residents of the town, the song being a story of these encounters. Nazareth is the hometown of the guitar manufacturer C. F. Martin & Company. Years later, the band Nazareth took its name from this line. The Biblical Nazareth was the childhood home of Jesus.

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I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin' about half past dead
I just need some place where I can lay my head
"Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand and, "No", was all he said

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics

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