Testimony by Robbie Robertson


9 Critic Reviews

Testimony will please hardcore Robertson fans; it is another layer, an additional perspective, in the historiography of rock music, and it adds to Helm’s and Dylan’s accounts, creating a deeper understanding...
-National Post arts


The New York Times Bestseller

“High-spirited, hugely enjoyable and generous from start to finish.”New York Times Book Review
“Robust, wry, gritty and wise.” —The Wall Street Journal 

"Confident and well oiled. At times it has the mythic sweep of an early Terrence Malick movie."—New York Times

On the 40th anniversary of The Band’s legendary The Last Waltz concert, Robbie Robertson finally tells his own spellbinding story of the band that changed music history, his extraordinary personal journey, and his creative friendships with some of the greatest artists of the last half-century.

     Robbie Robertson's singular contributions to popular music have made him one of the most beloved songwriters and guitarists of his time. With songs like "The Weight," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," and "Up on Cripple Creek," he and his partners in The Band fashioned a music that has endured for decades, influencing countless musicians.
     In this captivating memoir, written over five years of reflection, Robbie Robertson employs his unique storyteller’s voice to weave together the journey that led him to some of the most pivotal events in music history. He recounts the adventures of his half-Jewish, half-Mohawk upbringing on the Six Nations Indian Reserve and on the gritty streets of Toronto; his odyssey at sixteen to the Mississippi Delta, the fountainhead of American music; the wild early years on the road with rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks; his unexpected ties to the Cosa Nostra underworld; the gripping trial-by-fire “going electric” with Bob Dylan on his 1966 world tour, and their ensuing celebrated collaborations; the formation of the Band and the forging of their unique sound,  culminating with history's most famous farewell concert, brought to life for all time in Martin Scorsese's great movie The Last Waltz
     This is the story of a time and place--the moment when rock 'n' roll became life, when legends like Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley criss-crossed the circuit of clubs and roadhouses from Texas to Toronto, when The Beatles, Hendrix, The Stones, and Warhol moved through the same streets and hotel rooms. It's the story of exciting change as the world tumbled through the '60s and early 70’s, and a generation came of age, built on music, love and freedom. Above all, it's the moving story of the profound friendship between five young men who together created a new kind of popular music.    
Testimony is Robbie Robertson’s story, lyrical and true, as only he could tell it.

About Robbie Robertson

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ROBBIE ROBERTSON was the guitarist and principal songwriter in The Band. He has produced many movie soundtracks for Martin Scorsese and others, and continues to record as a solo artist. His most recent record, How to Become Clairvoyant, came out in 2011.
Published November 15, 2016 by Crown Archetype. 512 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Dec 04 2016
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Testimony
All: 9 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 1


on Aug 25 2016

The picture may be a bit too rosy; post-breakup, Robertson was permanently at odds with the late Levon Helm over publishing credits. The author addresses the issue but not the fallout. Essential for any devotee of the Band, Dylan, or rock music in the last half of the 20th century.

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Publishers Weekly

on Apr 15 2017

Though it would have been nice if Robertson had included reflections on life since the Band and his own substantial solo career, this long-awaited and colorfully told memoir paints a masterpiece of a life in rock and roll.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Nov 08 2016

Mr. Robertson, in “Testimony,” occasionally leans too heavily on mythopoeticism. But just as often his writing is wonderfully perceptive.

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Globe and Mail

Reviewed by Martin Levin on Nov 25 2016

...Robbie Robertson’s memoir, Testimony, showing off the story-telling chops he says he learned from tales heard in the longhouses of his mother’s Six Nations reserve and from reading the screenplays of Akira Kurosawa, Luis Bunuel and others, is a particularly rich stew of incident and anecdote.

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Irish Times

Above average
Reviewed by Johnny Rogan on Nov 26 2016

For all the anecdotal detail and pacy prose, there is a sense that Robertson is occasionally holding back. He has too much class ever to fall into kiss-and-tell mode and is understandably protective of his reputation.

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Herald Scotland

Above average
Reviewed by Alan Taylor on Dec 02 2016

Robertson's story takes us back to a simpler, more sexist and surreal era when ability to play guitar was the passport to a hedonistic lifestyle with a fearsome mortality rate.

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Above average
Reviewed by Adrian Mack on Nov 30 2016

Where Testimony shines is in Robertson’s vivid descriptions of the Hawks’ hard-up road years, of capers including revenge arson and a mercifully aborted armed robbery, and, best of all, of being holed up with Dylan and the boys in Woodstock in ’67...

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National Post arts

Reviewed by Gillian Turnbull on Nov 15 2016

Testimony will please hardcore Robertson fans; it is another layer, an additional perspective, in the historiography of rock music, and it adds to Helm’s and Dylan’s accounts, creating a deeper understanding...

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Reviewed by Saunthy Singh on Jan 16 2017

A natural storyteller, Robertson reveals his encompassing love for the blues and for movies, and offers the inside scoop on how The Band’s finale would be forever preserved in the musician-studded Martin Scorsese-directed movie The Last Waltz.

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