By 1976 The Band were weary of touring. Guitarist Robbie Robertson urged them to retire from the stage, and concieved of a grand farewell concert. The Last Waltz was held on Thanksgiving Day 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, and saw The Band joined by a host of high-profile guests, most important among them the two who had been key figures in the band's early years - Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan. The event was filmed by Robertson's friend Martin Scorsese, with plans to make it into a film.
The Band wanted the film and its accompanying soundtrack to be released on the Warner Bros label, but they still owed one more album to their exsisting label Capitol. Thus a final studio album was quickly pieced together from both recent songs and old outtakes dating back as far as 1972. Islands was released in 1977, and considering the circumstances of its compilation and release it wasn't a bad album at all, with a surprisingly consistent sound throughout. However it is definitely fair to say it's one of the weaker releases in The Band's canon, and thus the one which is most often passed over. It actually ended up being the last ever studio album to feature the full original lineup of The Band.
It was notable for one splendid highlight - a superb cover of Hoagy Carmichael's classic "Georgia On My Mind", which saw Richard Manuel turn in one of his finest vocal performances.
Northern Lights - Southern Cross (1975) <|> The Last Waltz (1978)
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