Song Of The Day: Richard Manuel – “You Don’t Know Me” (1983)

Let’s take a minute to pay tribute to the late great Richard Manuel, who was born on this day in Stratford Ontario in 1943. The piano player and main lead vocalist for The Band, Manuel was another exceptional Rock talent whose amazing musical abilities were compromised, and then ultimately brought to an end, by substance abuse. Today people look back on The Band as Robbie Robertson’s domain, but on the band’s hugely-influential debut album Music From Big Pink, Manuel wrote four of the songs, the same number as Robertson. Manual’s songwriting contributions to The Band would dwindle after that, but his powerful Ray Charles-like baritone would stay strong up until his suicide in 1986, as is clearly evident in this Charles cover from a Band reunion tour (minus Robertson) in 1983. Richard Manuel was a gentle, sweet man tormented by his demons, a “fallen angel” as Robertson called him, and so let’s hope he continues to rest in peace.


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