VIRGIL CAINE IS MY NAME AND I SERVED ON THE DANVILLE TRAIN: The sad news out of the Internets is that Levon Helm, drummer and vocalist for the Band, is in the last stages of a battle with cancer. I realize that there are all kinds of cultural issues surrounding it, but for my money, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" is one of the most powerful songs in rock history, a song whose narrator's regret is matched seamlessly with Helm's vocal. There are only a few songs that I can count on to give me goosebumps and a shiver in my spine, actual literal goosebumps and a literal shiver, if I haven't heard them in a long enough time, and that's one of them.
ETA: on the way home, it occurred to me that part of what makes that song unusual is its perspective. There are a million songs about fighting wars, and no shortage of songs about winning them. There aren't too many songs about what it feels like to lose a war, and that song occupies the field in the way that few songs can monopolize a topic.
But that's praise for Levon Helm the musician, not Levon Helm the man, so let me quote @chrrisswartout: "when my BF got cancer Levon was so kind. Sent him a lovely letter with his # and told him to call anytime 24/7. He said that he got scared at nighttime and so he could call whenever he wanted."