Rick Danko

This site is all about Rick Danko, the charismatic bass and acoustic guitar player and one of the three lead singers for the legendary rock group, The Band. Rick's iconic plaintive tenor, his ethereal, one-of-a-kind harmonies and his loping, melodic, percussive bass playing were a large part of The Band's signature sound. Equally integral to The Band's mystique--and to their secure and enviable perch high atop the upper crust of rock and roll--was Rick's magnetic, larger-than-life persona--part innocent country boy, part wandering troubadour, part reluctant rock star.

Rick Danko was about music. He was about melody. He was about harmony. He was about authenticity. He was about vulnerability. Rick was--and always will be--the epitome of unadorned, unaffected, unparalleled cool.

I worked with Rick for many years. He was a dear friend and a major influence who "taught me how to seek the path." This site is part of a promise I made to him a long time ago. I hope you enjoy it.

Please note that all content on this site is copyright-protected. All articles, essays, and other written materials (c) Carol Caffin, unless otherwise noted. Do Not Reproduce.

Bless You, Sweet Rick, On Your Birthday Today

Bless you, sweet Rick, on what would have been your 68th birthday. You are always loved, never forgotten, and no matter how many years pass, you'll always be Forever Young.

Forever Young ~ Forever Loved

On the Day Rick Danko Was Born, the Angels Sang.
Rick Sang Harmony.

Remembering Rick Today on His 67th Birthday...Forever Young, Forever Loved.

Remembering Rick

I rarely write “drafts.” I write from my heart and, except for some minor grammatical tweaking, or maybe deleting a graf that is just not working, I usually post what I write. I detest writing that feels forced or fake and most times, the words I need just come.

So this morning, when I sat down to write a post to commemorate the 11th anniversary of Rick’s passing, I was frustrated and surprised when nothing would come. I spent two hours on a nicely worded but way-too-staid-for-me post that I ultimately deleted. Poof! All those words and I didn’t save one. Then I started again. Another hour of writing from a totally different angle and, once again, poof! Gone. I realized that I was writing drafts. And I realized that they felt forced.

Then I had a flashback. To the morning of December 10, 1999, when I sat down to write something loving and appropriate for Rick’s memorial card. And nothing would come. Nothing that felt right. He was larger than life, and now he was gone—how could I possibly write anything that would do him justice? It had to be universal. It couldn’t be too personal, but it couldn’t be lofty or cold. It had to fit Rick and it had to be something that people who were close to him would get, that his family would get, that his fans would get. The prospect was daunting and I just stared at the blank screen in front of me.

I heard Rick’s harmonies in my head. I heard them in a far-off kind of melancholy way, as if through a tunnel. I pictured a Heaven. I pictured Rick with his mother, Leola, and I saw him in her arms. I felt her warmth around him. I saw her cradling his head as he hugged his son, Eli. And I thought of Rick’s Dad smiling to see his boy again. I gave up trying to write.

At some point, I opened my notebook and, on a page crammed with scribbled notes about Rick’s upcoming shows and scrawled interview requests, I wrote, “On the day Rick Danko was born, the angels sang. Rick sang harmony.” It was absolutely all I had to say and it was the only thing that felt true and real to me in those sad hours.

Today, what feels true and real to me is not so heavy. There are plenty of heart-rending memories of Rick and, in time, I will share some of them with you. But for today, for this moment, what I’m thinking about Rick is not poignant or majestic. The thoughts in my head right now are of happy things, funny things.

I’m thinking that I miss his bear hugs. The warmth of his personality came through his body and when he gave you a hug, he’d put his entire weight on you, like a big puppy. I’m thinking about him telling me not to eat the barbecue in Memphis. I’m thinking of him extolling the virtues of cruise control and asking him incredulously what speed he set it at. I’m thinking of him telling a bartender at a club not to serve me because I thought Jagermeister was a cartoon character. I’m thinking about him telling a roomful of people, hanging onto his words, “I’ll be right back”—then disappearing into the night in his low-rider Caddy, come with the dust and gone with the wind.