The Last Waltz (1978 album)

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The Last Waltz
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedApril 7, 1978 (1978-04-07)
RecordedNovember 25, 1976
Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerRobbie Robertson
The Band chronology
The Last Waltz
To Kingdom Come
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[2]
Rolling Stone(not rated)[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[4]

The Last Waltz is the second live album by The Band, released on Warner Bros. Records in 1978, catalogue 3WS 3146. It is the soundtrack to the 1978 film of the same name, and the final album by the original configuration of the Band. It peaked at #16 on the Billboard 200.


The triple album documents the Band's "farewell" concert which took place at Bill Graham's Winterland Ballroom on Thanksgiving Day 1976. The event included an actual Thanksgiving dinner for 5000 attendees, with ballroom dancing and a stage set for La Traviata borrowed from the San Francisco Opera.[5]

The concert featured songs by the Band interspersed with the group backing up a variety of musical guests. These included many with whom they had worked in the past, notably their previous employers Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan. Van Morrison, a Woodstock neighbor, had co-written and sung on the track "4% Pantomime" for the Cahoots album. Individual members of the Band had played with the invitees on the following albums: in 1972 with Bobby Charles for his self-titled album; in 1973 with Ringo Starr on Ringo; in 1974 with Joni Mitchell on Court and Spark and with Neil Young for On the Beach; in 1975 with Muddy Waters and Paul Butterfield on The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album; in 1976 with Eric Clapton on No Reason to Cry and with Neil Diamond on Beautiful Noise.

Sides one through five of the album consisted of songs taken from the concert. Side six comprised "The Last Waltz Suite", new numbers composed by Robertson and performed by the Band on an MGM soundstage.[6] The suite featured Emmylou Harris and, on a remake of "The Weight", Roebuck and Mavis Staples. The music received overdubs at Village Recorders and Shangri-La Studios in post-production, owing to faults recorded during the concert.[7]

On April 16, 2002, a box set reissue of the album arrived in stores, including everything released on the original with additional tracks taken from the concert.

Track listing[edit]

The performance of "Helpless" by Neil Young features backing vocals by Joni Mitchell; Paul Butterfield plays harmonica for Muddy Waters on "Mannish Boy"; Dr. John plays congas on "Coyote" and plays guitar on "Down South in New Orleans"; the entire ensemble sings back-up on the closer, "I Shall Be Released".

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Singer/Guest PerformerLength
1."Theme from The Last Waltz"Robbie Robertson 3:28
2."Up on Cripple Creek"RobertsonLevon Helm4:44
3."Who Do You Love?"Ellas McDanielRonnie Hawkins4:16
4."Helpless"YoungNeil Young5:47
5."Stage Fright"RobertsonRick Danko4:25
Total length:22:40
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Singer/Guest PerformerLength
1."Coyote"MitchellJoni Mitchell5:50
2."Dry Your Eyes"Diamond, RobertsonNeil Diamond3:57
3."It Makes No Difference"RobertsonRick Danko6:48
4."Such a Night"Mac RebennackDr. John4:00
Total length:20:35
Side three
No.TitleWriter(s)Singer/Guest PerformerLength
1."The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"RobertsonLevon Helm4:34
2."Mystery Train"Junior Parker, Sam PhillipsPaul Butterfield, Levon Helm4:59
3."Mannish Boy"Mel London, McDaniel, McKinley MorganfieldMuddy Waters6:54
4."Further on Up the Road"Robey, VeaseyEric Clapton5:08
Total length:21:35
Side four
No.TitleWriter(s)Singer/Guest PerformerLength
1."The Shape I'm In"RobertsonRichard Manuel4:06
2."Down South in New Orleans"J. Wright, J. AnglinBobby Charles, Dr. John3:06
3."Ophelia"RobertsonLevon Helm3:53
4."Tura Lura Lural (That's An Irish Lullaby)"ShannonVan Morrison, Richard Manuel4:15
5."Caravan"MorrisonVan Morrison6:02
Total length:21:22
Side five
No.TitleWriter(s)Singer/Guest PerformerLength
1."Life Is a Carnival"Danko, Helm, RobertsonLevon Helm, Rick Danko4:32
2."Baby, Let Me Follow You Down"Reverend Gary Davis, Rick von SchmidtBob Dylan3:00
3."I Don't Believe You"DylanBob Dylan3:23
4."Forever Young"DylanBob Dylan4:42
5."Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (Reprise)"Davis, von SchmidtBob Dylan2:46
6."I Shall Be Released"DylanBob Dylan, Richard Manuel6:22
Total length:24:45
Side six
No.TitleWriter(s)Singer/Guest PerformerLength
1."The Well"RobertsonRichard Manuel3:27
2."Evangeline"RobertsonRick Danko, Emmylou Harris, Levon Helm3:17
3."Out of the Blue"RobertsonRobbie Robertson3:03
4."The Weight"RobertsonLevon Helm, Mavis Staples, Pops Staples, Rick Danko4:38
5."The Last Waltz Refrain"RobertsonRichard Manuel, Robbie Robertson1:28
6."Theme from The Last Waltz"Robertson 3:22
Total length:19:25 (130:22)


The Band

The horn section[edit]

Guest personnel[edit]

Production personnel[edit]



  1. ^ The Last Waltz at AllMusic
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: B". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  3. ^ Rolling Stone
  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. ^ Orr, John. "The Last Waltz" article from The Band Website retrieved 20-11-10.
  6. ^ Orr, as above.
  7. ^ The Last Waltz, original vinyl issue, sleeve notes.
  8. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 321. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  9. ^ " – The Band – The Last Waltz" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  10. ^ " – The Band – The Last Waltz" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  11. ^ " – The Band – The Last Waltz" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  12. ^ " – The Band – The Last Waltz". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  13. ^ " – The Band – The Last Waltz" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  14. ^ " – The Band – The Last Waltz". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  15. ^ " – The Band – The Last Waltz". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  16. ^ " – The Band – The Last Waltz". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  17. ^ "The Band Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  18. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 1978". Retrieved March 13, 2021.