Rock and roll obits: Dick Clark and Levon Helm

Obits today for a couple of “senior” dudes who were most influential to our rock ‘n’ roll world.

Dick Clark, yeah, he counted down the fall of the big New Year’s ball on Times Square, but he also showed the world its latest bands with the tunes “you can dance to.” Plus, he was the real life Peter Pan, at least, he looked as if he never grew old.

Levon Helm, who’s he you ask? Well, ever hear about the electric Dylan? The Hawks played as the backup band during the controversial Dylan musical conversion. Later known as The Band, Helm was drummer and provided the gritty voice for the band singing stories more than songs such as “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “The Weight” (Take a load off Fannie), or “The Shape I’m In.”

Helm, the son of an Arkansas cotton farmer, was the only Yank among this otherwise Canadian group. It was an act that probably was known more widely known after their classic “The Last Waltz,” which was a 1978 “rockumentary” of The Band’s last concert.

My favorite song sung by Helm — Up On Cripple Creek — tells of a miner’s memory of girl way down South even though that remembrance is somewhat fogged by “a drunkard’s dream.”

“When I get off this mountain/You know where I want to go/Straight down the Mississippi River/To the Gulf of Mexico/To Lake Charles, Louisiana/Little Bessie, girl I once knew/She told me to come on by/If there’s anything that she could do … “

Well, never mind it’s a bit out of the way going to Lake Charles from Colorado by way of the Mississippi and Gulf. The fact that Lake Charles was just across the county-parish line from where I grew up was enough for at least me to identify.

Rest in peace Dick and Levon. Rock on.