One reader pointed out that I had spelled Levon’s name without the V and a second reader submitted the below interesting comment:
Why does Levon Helm refuse to play The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
during his concerts?
Levon Helm was the drummer for The Band. He was the lead vocalist on
“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” He still plays live concerts,
but he hasn’t sang that song since 1976. Why?
Best Answer: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down has not been
performed live since The Last Waltz. The inside story is that Levon
now refuses to sing it, seeing Robbie’s portrayal of the south as
patronising. This is odd if, as he claims, he participated in writing
it. Levon contradicts Taplin on the speed of the recording.
Robbie is sensitive to Levon’s charge, denying that he was writing it
directly “at” Levon, but nevertheless it ceased to get done on stage
by Levon or by The Band. But probably Robbie had too much to say about
it in various interviews, which got Levon’s bristles up. A later note
from the website mentioned a Larry King radio interview where Levon
simply says they stopped doing it “because it’s hard to sing”.
But I read elsewhere that Helm objected to Robertson’s getting full
credit for the song when in fact he’d contributed (this seems to have
been a complaint from other Band members about other songs as well.)