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Levon Helm – Landon Meets a Legend

Rob Loud / Getty Images

One of the most important figures in the music scene of the late 60’s and early to mid 70’s, Levon Helm of The Band died yesterday at the age of 71. He succumbed to throat cancer.

I mentioned on my show today that I once got a chance to meet Levon while waiting in line for coffee at Love Field in Dallas. It’s still one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had.

I’m just standing there in line by myself and I noticed an older gentelman in front of me and heard him talking to his traveling companion. I immediately recognized his voice and asked him ‘Excuse me, are you Levon Helm by any chance?’ He said ‘yessir’ in his gavely voice and all I could think to say was, ‘Thank you sooo much for the music.’ It was all I could think to say and I guess it’s all I needed to say.

He actually stuck out his hand for me to shake. I shook and he said, ‘Where are you from?’ I told him that I was from Lubbock ‘the home of Buddy Holly’. His eyes kind of widened and he said, ‘Well then, you know good music when you hear it!’ Then he got his coffee, nodded bye to me and walked away.

I bet I stood there for ten minutes with my mouth hanging open trying to process what had just happened. Should I have asked for an autograph? A picture? Should I run after him and ask him 50 more questions? Should I grab the microphone from one of the gates, announce to the whole airport that a bona fide rock & roll legend is in their midst and sing ‘The Night hey Drove Old Dixie Down‘ for my fellow travelers?

Obviously, I didn’t do any of that. I wish I had asked for a pictuire though. He seemed so cool and gentelmanly, I’m sure he would have agreed.

RIP Levon. I’ll think about you every time I’m in that airport and tell whoever I’m with, ‘I met Levon friggin’ Helm right THERE at that coffee kiosk! No, really!’

If you don’t understand why I was so star-struck, do yourself a favor and watch ‘The Last Waltz‘. You can get a copy of it HERE

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