Northern Lights – Southern Cross

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Northern Lights – Southern Cross
Studio album by The Band
Released November 1, 1975 (1975-11-01)
Recorded Spring–Summer 1975
Studio Shangri-La Studio, Zuma Beach, California
Genre Roots rock, folk rock, country rock, Americana
Length 40:40
Label Capitol
Producer The Band
The Band chronology
The Basement Tapes
(with Bob Dylan)
(1975)The Basement Tapes1975
Northern Lights – Southern Cross
The Best of The Band
(1976)The Best of The Band1976
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]
MusicHound 3.5/5 stars[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[4]

Northern Lights – Southern Cross is the sixth studio album by Canadian-American rock group the Band, released in 1975. It was the first album to be recorded at their new California studio, Shangri-La, and the first album of all new material since 1971's Cahoots. All eight songs are credited as compositions of guitarist Robbie Robertson.

Northern Lights – Southern Cross was recorded using a 24-track tape recorder, which allowed Garth Hudson to include multiple layers of keyboards on several tracks.

Three songs from the album – "It Makes No Difference", "Ophelia" and "Acadian Driftwood" – were performed at The Last Waltz, the Band's 1976 "final performance". "It Makes No Difference" and "Ophelia" were included in the Last Waltz film and on the original 1978 soundtrack album, and "Acadian Driftwood" was included in the 2002 extended re-release of the soundtrack album. These songs in particular have enjoyed subsequent revivals and cover versions. "Acadian Driftwood" was featured in a 1984 CBC-TV special titled Murray McLauchlan's Floating Over Canada. The only Band member to appear in the sequence was Levon Helm. In this presentation of the song, Levon, his wife Sandy Helm, and Murray McLauchlan depict the expulsion of Acadian citizens by British forces.

The album was well-received critically: Rolling Stone declared that The Band had kicked "a field goal",[5] and, while he was put off by the sentimentality of the lyrics, Robert Christgau wrote "the pure comeliness of every melody on this album led to an immediate infatuation."[6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Robbie Robertson.

Side one[edit]

No. Title Lead Vocals Length
1. "Forbidden Fruit" Levon Helm 5:59
2. "Hobo Jungle" Richard Manuel 4:15
3. "Ophelia" Helm 3:32
4. "Acadian Driftwood" Manuel, Helm, Rick Danko 6:42

Side two[edit]

No. Title Lead Vocals Length
5. "Ring Your Bell" Danko, Manuel, Helm 3:55
6. "It Makes No Difference" Danko 6:34
7. "Jupiter Hollow" Helm 5:20
8. "Rags and Bones" Manuel [7] 4:46

Bonus track listing from 2001 re-release[edit]

No. Title Length
9. "Twilight (Early alternate version)" 3:13
10. "Christmas Must Be Tonight (Alternate version)" 3:01


The Band
Additional personnel


Album - Billboard (United States)

Year Chart Position
1976 Billboard 200 26

Singles - Billboard (United States)

Year Single Chart Position
1976 "Ophelia" Hot 100 62[8]

External links[edit]

  • [1] – Peter Viney's article on "Acadian Driftwood" at
  • [2] – Peter Viney's article on "Jupiter Hollow" at


  1. ^ Northern Lights – Southern Cross at AllMusic
  2. ^ Robert Christgau
  3. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 72. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  4. ^ Brackett, Nathan, with Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th edn). New York, NY: Fireside. p. 42. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "The Band Albums (Top Albums) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Retrieved 2012-03-03.