Yesterday the music world lost one of the true greats and one of my biggest musical influences. Legendary singer and drummer Levon Helm passed away from throat cancer yesterday in New York City surrounded by his wife, daughter and close friends. Helm had been battling the cancer since the late 90's.

Rolling Stone magazine included Levon Helm in their list of the Top 100 Greatest Singers of all time. He first became famous when he played drums for Bob Dylan in the mid 60's. Several of Dylan's band members, including Helm, went on to form their own group called, The Band. The Band featured the funky grass roots drumming of Levon and his unique Southern tenor voice. He was one of the first drummers to sing lead vocals. He also played mandolin. He was one of the most respected and loved musicians of the past 50 years.

His music influenced everyone from Jeff Tweedy to Phish to Elton John. Years ago I used to do the song, "Up On Cripple Creek" by The Band. I played drums and sang the vocals and tried to get it as close to Levon as I could. I was totally influenced by his drumming and vocal style.

Here's a couple of videos of my favorite Levon Helm tunes. The world has lost another great one. Rest In Peace, Levon Helm.