Rock of Ages (The Band album)

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Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages (The Band album - cover art).jpg
Live album by
ReleasedAugust 15, 1972
RecordedDecember 28–31, 1971
VenueAcademy of Music, New York City
GenreRoots rock
LabelCapitol SABB 11045
ProducerThe Band
The Band chronology
Rock of Ages
Moondog Matinee
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideB[2]
DownBeat4.5/5 stars[3]
Entertainment WeeklyA[4]
Q4/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[7]

Rock of Ages: The Band in Concert is a live album by The Band, released in 1972. It was compiled from recordings made during their series of shows at the Academy of Music in New York City, from December 28 through December 31, 1971. It peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart, and was certified a gold record by the RIAA.[8] An expanded release of recordings taken from the same series of shows, called Live at the Academy of Music 1971, was released in 2013.


The Band booked a residency at the Academy of Music for the last week of 1971, culminating in a New Year's Eve performance. Robbie Robertson had commissioned New Orleans songwriter and arranger Allen Toussaint to compose horn charts for their recent single "Life Is a Carnival" from the album Cahoots, and decided to have Toussaint write special charts for a five-man horn section to augment the group on their upcoming concerts.[9] Charts written by Toussaint in New Orleans were in luggage lost at the airport, and a new set was composed in a cabin near Robertson's house in Woodstock.[10] Robertson selected eleven songs to receive horn charts, and all are included on the released album.[11] The horns do not play on "Get Up Jake", "Stage Fright", "This Wheel's on Fire", "The Weight", "The Shape I'm In", and "The Genetic Method." Selections on the bonus disc also do not feature horn arrangements, although the horn section added spontaneous flourishes to "Down in the Flood" and "Rolling Stone."

The repertoire consisted of material from all four of The Band's studio albums up to that point, and one new original song, "Get Up Jake", which were framed on the album by covers of the 1964 Motown hit single "Baby Don't You Do It" by Marvin Gaye, and "(I Don't Want to Hang Up) My Rock and Roll Shoes", the b-side of Chuck Willis' final single. Four nights from December 28 through 31 were recorded, and the balance of the recordings on the released album were derived from the final two nights.[12] Their previous employer Bob Dylan made a surprise visit on the New Year's Eve show, playing four songs with the group in the early morning hours of January 1, 1972.[13]

Originally released in 1972 as a double album, it was reissued in 1980 as two separate LPs, titled Rock of Ages, Vol. 1 and Rock of Ages, Vol. 2. The first edition for compact disc in 1987 was released as an "abridged version"; "The Genetic Method" (Garth Hudson's instrumental solo/introduction to "Chest Fever") was omitted, but later re-instated on the unedited two-disc version released in 1990. On May 8, 2001, an expanded and remastered two-disc edition appeared, with the original album on one disc, and an additional ten tracks on a bonus disc. Included on the bonus disc were the four songs featuring Dylan and another Motown cover, the 1966 hit single "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" by The Four Tops.

The 2005 retrospective Band box set A Musical History contains several Rock of Ages tracks newly remixed from the multitrack tapes, as well as a previously-unissued performance of the song "Smoke Signal" from the December 28 show. A hybrid SACD reissue of the original album was released on the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab label in 2010.[14] The song "Chest Fever" from this album is available as downloadable content for the video game Rock Band.

In 2013, Capitol released Live at the Academy of Music 1971: The Rock of Ages Concerts, a box set consisting of four CDs and one DVD (mostly only audio), and containing all previously released material from the concerts as well as numerous unissued performances (including the December 31 show in its entirety) presented in new stereo and 5.1 surround mixes.[15]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

All tracks are written by Robbie Robertson except where noted; concert dates as indicated.

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."Introduction by Robertson"  1:22
2."Don't Do It"Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland Jr.December 295:00
3."King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" December 314:04
4."Caledonia Mission" December 303:38
5."Get Up Jake" December 303:33
6."The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show" December 313:54

Side two[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."Stage Fright" December 314:38
2."The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" December 294:34
3."Across the Great Divide" December 303:59
4."This Wheel's on Fire"Rick Danko, Bob DylanDecember 294:07
5."Rag Mama Rag" December 314:33

Side three[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."The Weight" December 305:32
2."The Shape I'm In" December 314:14
3."The Unfaithful Servant" December 314:48
4."Life Is a Carnival"Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Rick DankoDecember 304:17

Side four[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."The Genetic Method"Garth HudsonDecember 317:48
2."Chest Fever" December 285:24
3."(I Don't Want to) Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes"Chuck WillisDecember 294:20

2000 reissue bonus tracks[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever"Stevie Wonder, Ivy Jo HunterDecember 293:28
2."I Shall Be Released"DylanDecember 304:03
3."Up on Cripple Creek" December 304:38
4."The Rumor" December 305:02
5."Rockin' Chair" December 294:06
6."Time to Kill" December 284:07
7."Down in the Flood"DylanJanuary 15:25
8."When I Paint My Masterpiece"DylanJanuary 14:17
9."Don't Ya Tell Henry"DylanJanuary 14:38
10."Like A Rolling Stone"DylanJanuary 15:24


The Band at the Academy of Music concerts

The Band

Additional musicians



Singles - Billboard (United States)

Year Single Chart Position
1972 "Don't Do It" Pop Singles 34


  1. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine (1972-08-15). "Rock of Ages - The Band | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: B". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  3. ^ "The Band: Rock of Ages". DownBeat: 66. October 2001.
  4. ^ "The Band: Rock of Ages". Entertainment Weekly: 81. May 25, 2001.
  5. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 72. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "The Band: Rock of Ages". Q: 130. July 2001.
  7. ^ Brackett, Nathan, with Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th edn). New York, NY: Fireside. p. 42. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  8. ^ "RIAA Gold and Platinum database". Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  9. ^ Bowman, Rob. Rock of Ages. 2001, 72435-30181-2-2, liner notes, p. 2.
  10. ^ Bowman, pp. 3-4.
  11. ^ Bowman, p.5
  12. ^ Academy of Music box set liner notes, retrieved from The Band website 4 December 2016
  13. ^ Bowman, p. 11
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2010-03-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Music News & Concert Reviews". Retrieved 2016-07-28.