Garth Hudson, the mad scientist keyboard, saxophone and accordion player in The Band, turns 85 today.
Born on August 2nd, 1937 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, he was the last to join the classic five-piece line-up along with fellow Canadians Robbie Robertson, the late Rick Danko, the late Richard Manuel, and one American, the late Levon Helm.
Fearing his parents would think he was wasting away his musical education by joining a rock band, he joined the band on the condition that he be given the title "music consultant" and that his bandmates each pay him $10 a week for music lessons, allowing him to mollify his family's fears that his education had gone to waste.
And it was Garth who recorded all The Band's sessions with Bob Dylan in the basement of "Big Pink," their "clubhouse" in West Saugerties, New York, which were eventually released as The Basement Tapes.
Hudson, who lost his wife Maud this past February 27th, now lives in an assisted living facility in New York State.
There is an online campaign to send him “cards and letters expressing our love and appreciation for his amazing contribution to The Band.” You can send them to:
c/o Ten Broeck Commons
1 Commons Drive
Lake Katrine, New York 12449