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Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Chief Knowledge Officer, The Knowledge Management Institute of Canada; Senior Advisor, Knowledge Management, Organizational Effectiveness, Husky Energy

Friday, 20 April 2012

Levon's Last Waltz and The Power of Social Media

I woke up this morning, grabbed my iphone off my side table and saw a tweet from my old pal Jack (@JackRossAgent) , "I spent my 23 B Day (1985) watching The Band with my great friend . R.I.P. Levon Helm

Man, what a flood of memories this simple tweet evoked!

I saw the Band twice with Jack, once at the old Diamond club, where Jack worked as the manager. I sat up in the scaffolds above the bar while the bartender passed me drinks all through the show. The other time, we were at the Masonic Temple where Long John Baldry opened for the Band on a steamy summer night. Later, Jack gave me Levon's autobiography, "This Wheels on Fire", which I devoured in one evening - so much history of the music scene in Toronto! In the book, Levon mentioned his friendship with Bill Clinton and his love of music (this was long before Bill became President) and this lead to another divergent stream of thought and memories - American politics, the war in Iraq, cigars and saxophones

I also thought about The Last Waltz - perhaps the finest rock and roll movie ever made. I must have watched this film 20 times over the years and still love it today. Memories of some of my other favourite musicians also popped into my head - Roy Buchanan, Joni Mitchell, Ronnie Hawkins etc. as well as the all the iconic venues in Toronto, where I had seen so many of these artists over the years.

I thought about my friend Jack, now a powerhouse in the Canadian Music Industry and how the show he tweeted about must have influenced both his love of music as well his chosen career path and I thought about how our mutual love of music solidified a deep friendship which has lasted almost 35 years.

Reading some of the other tweets, I saw old wounds healed (Ala Robbie Robertson's words @rollingstone), memories from childhood re-kindled and all kinds of sadness for the loss of a man few knew.

I could picture all these folks dusting off their old vinyl and picking up instruments to pay tribute to  Levon Helm for all those great songs, but more important, I think they are paying tribute to all the memories and shared experiences, which have become intrinsically linked to the music of Levon Helm and The Band.

This is the power of social media - Thank you Levon, for helping us to remember!

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