Two days after Robertson’s death at age 80 from a long illness, Dylan issued a brief statement on his passing.
“This is shocking news,” Dylan said in a statement provided to Melinda Newman at Deadline’s sister publication, Billboard. “Robbie was a lifelong friend. His passing leaves a vacancy in the world.”
Their history goes way back. Robertson played guitar with Dylan starting in the mid-1960s. It was a time of transition for Dylan, who was moving into his electric period.
“We got booed all over North America, Australia, Europe,” Robertson recalled, “and people were saying this isn’t working, and we kept on and Bob didn’t budge.”
Robertsone played on Dylan’s1966 album Blonde on Blonde, and later recorded with Dylan in the voluminous 2014 set The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete.
Robertson and Dylan touredd together in 1974, as well as recording Dylan’s No. 1 studio album Planet Waves together.
Dylan also was one of a number of musicians joining The Band for The Last Waltz concert, taped on Thanksgiving Day, 1976. The show concludes with Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.”