One year after death, music legend Levon Helm returns in documentary

Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:22am EDT
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By Iain Blair

(Reuters) - Levon Helm, drummer and singer of root rock group The Band, left behind more than a lifetime of music when he died of cancer a year ago.

The four-time Grammy winner also left a documentary film portraying his career, family and friendships that opens in New York City on Friday, exactly a year after his passing.

"Ain't In It For My Health," directed by Jacob Hatley, was begun five years ago and takes an intimate look at the music legend, combining archival footage and photos with interviews with friends, family, collaborators and Helm himself on his farm and home in Woodstock, New York, called "The Barn."

Helm died of cancer on April 19, 2012, at the age of 72, after playing in various versions of The Band until 1999, launching a solo career, acting and fighting back from a first bout of throat cancer in 1998 that robbed him of his voice for a time.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked him in 2008 as one of the 100 greatest singers of all time.

Longtime Helm collaborator and musician Larry Campbell said Jacob "was like a fly on the wall, filming Levon's daily life and all of us around him as we worked on music and tried to get his career back on track."

Campbell, who first met Helm in the 1970s, told Reuters the musician "was coming out of a bad financial period, a bad health period, as he'd already battled cancer once, and we all banded together to help him. And (the film) gives a great sense of his personality and magnetism."

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