"The Weight" is a song written by Robbie Robertson. It was released by The Band as Capitol Records single 2269 in 1968, and appeared one week later on the group's debut album Music from Big Pink. The song is listed as #41 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time published in 2004, and Pitchfork Media named it the thirteenth best song of the Sixties. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named it one of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
"The Weight" takes the folk music motif of a traveler, who in the first line arrives in Nazareth in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. (The band Nazareth took its name from this line.) Once there, he encounters various residents of the town, the song being a story of these encounters. Nazareth is the hometown of the guitar manufacturer C. F. Martin & Company.
The residents include a man who cannot direct the traveler to any lodging, Carmen and the Devil walking side by side, "Crazy Chester", and Luke "waiting on Judgment Day" while leaving his young bride behind and alone.
Musically, the song shows the blending of folk parlour song (harmonies) in the chorus, where the voices come in: "and, (and, and), you put the load right on me (you put the load right on me)".
In his autobiography This Wheel's on Fire, Levon Helm explains that the people mentioned in the song were based on real people The Band knew. The "Miss Anna Lee" mentioned in the lyric is Helm's longtime friend Anna Lee Amsden.
More information on this artist is available in the last.fm tabs below.