Two of the greatest bands in history worked long and hard in the trenches, gigging constantly — and I mean in a multiple shows per night, work every night, kind of way — before eventually recording some of the tightest and most influential rock of all time.
The Band worked for years in relative obscurity, backing up Ronnie Hawkins on the early Toronto rock scene and barnstorming Ontario. They grew into perhaps the world’s greatest backing band before surprising the world with Music From the Big Pink.
The Beatles did a couple of years interning as rock and roll heroes in utter obscurity in Hamburg, Germany, playing hours and hours per night before surprising the world with Beatlemania.
There are some wonderful recordings of early day performances of the Band becoming tighter and tighter as they grew together. I encourage you to Google Levon and the Hawks, Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, and the Canadian Squires.
For me, these recordings of the Beatles in Hamburg are pieces that document the creation of one of the tightest touring bands in all of rock. And the prep work that eventually led to the most influential band in history.
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