The initial critical reception to the album was positive, though sales were slim; Al Kooper's rave review of the LP in Rolling Stone helped to draw public attention to it. The fact that Bob Dylan co-wrote three songs on the album also attracted attention.
In 1968, "The Weight" peaked at #63 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart in the US. The song was a bigger hit elsewhere, peaking at #35 in Canada, and #21 in the UK. The album peaked at #30 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart in 1968, and then recharted as a #8 hit on the Top Internet Albums chart in 2000 (see 2000 in music). "The Weight" gained widespread popularity, from The Band's performance of it at Woodstock on 17 August 1969 and due partially to its inclusion in the film Easy Rider, though it was omitted from the soundtrack due to licensing issues. A cover version by the band Smith was included on the soundtrack album instead.
"Big Pink" is a pink house in West Saugerties, New York, located at 56 Parnassus Lane (formerly 2188 Stoll Road). The house was built by Ottmar Gramms, who bought the land in 1952. The house was newly built when Rick Danko, who was collaborating with Bob Dylan at the time, found it as a rental. It was to this house that Bob Dylan would eventually retreat to write songs, play them and experiment with other songs, in its large basement. The 2-track recordings made by them, as a sort of audio sketch book, in the basement itself, came to be known as The Basement Tapes. These tapes were circulated among other musicians at the time, and hits were made of "Too Much of Nothing" and "Mighty Quinn" as recordings by other artists, Peter, Paul and Mary and Manfred Mann respectively. The house became known locally as 'Big Pink' for its pink siding. Members of Dylan's band (with Dylan himself writing one and co-writing two) wrote most of the songs on Music from Big Pink at or around the house, and the band then adopted the name The Band. The cover illustration for the album is by Dylan.
The house was sold by Mr. Gramms in 1977 to M. Amitin, who rented the house to Parnassus Records, a label specializing in classical music which used the basement as its headquarters. In 1998, Mr. Amitin sold the house to Don & Sue LaSala, who maintain the house as a private residence and keep the creative tradition alive by creating music in the basement with friends from the Woodstock area and beyond.