October 27: Robbie Robertson released his self-titled solo debut in 1987

robbie robertson

“…Robbie Robertson is an album that represents both a clear break from his past, and an ambitious attempt to take his fascination with American culture and music in a new and contemporary direction. It’s highly ambitious stuff…”
– Mark Deming (allmusic.com)

Robbie Robertson is the self-titled solo debut by Robbie Robertson, released in 1987. The album won the Juno Award for “Album of the Year”, and producers Lanois and Robertson won the “Producer of the Year” Juno award, both in 1989 as there were no Juno Awards held in 1988.

The album includes contributions from the members of U2 and Peter Gabriel, both of whom were also working with producer Daniel Lanois at the time. U2 was recording The Joshua Tree and Gabriel was recording So. U2’s contribution is heard in the song “Sweet Fire of Love” which is a duet of sorts between Robertson and U2 lead singer Bono. The other track featuring U2 is “Testimony”, again with vocals from Bono. Gabriel’s contributions are heard on the song “Fallen Angel”, which was dedicated to Robertson’s former Band bandmate Richard Manuel, and “Broken Arrow” which reverberates with Gabriel’s signature Rhodes electric piano. In addition, Tony Levin and Manu Katché, who were recording with Gabriel, are featured prominently on this record.

In 2005 the album was reissued together with Storyville as 2CD in an expanded edition, both with two bonus tracks.

Fantastic album, one of my favourite albums from the 80s.

Robbie Robertson – Somewhere Down The Crazy River (official video):

Track listing:

“Fallen Angel” (Robertson, Martin Page) – 5:52
“Showdown at Big Sky” – 4:43
“Broken Arrow” – 5:17
“Sweet Fire of Love” (Robertson, U2) – 5:08
“American Roulette” – 4:46
“Somewhere Down the Crazy River” (Robertson, Martin Page) – 4:44
“Hell’s Half Acre” – 3:45
“Sonny Got Caught in the Moonlight” – 3:45
“Testimony” – 4:45

Bonus tracks on the 2005 expanded edition:
“Christmas Must Be Tonight” – 4:51 from the soundtrack album Scrooged
“Testimony (Edited 12″ Remix)” – 6:34 additional production and remix by Nile Rodgers

“I was proud to rip open my chest and bare my soul,I’m not embarrassed to talk about these things anymore. Do you know what a skin walker is? It’s a thing in Indian mythology. There are certain people born with this gift, and they’re able to actually get inside you and mess with your feelings and with your mind. And if a skin walker chooses to get a hold of you, there’s not much you can do. I want a song to get inside me, to feel it did the old skin walker on me. I was kind of discovering that on this album, and now I’m pursuing it.”
– Robbie Robertson (about the album, Rolling Stone Magazine)

Robbie Robertson – vocals, backing vocals, guitar, keyboards
Manu Katché – drums on 1 2 6 7 8, percussion on 1 7 8
Bill Dillon – guitars on 1 2 5 6 7 8 9, backing vocal on 2
Tony Levin – Chapman Stick on 5 7, bass on 6 8
Daniel Lanois – percussion on 2 3 4 8, backing vocal on 2 3 4, Omnichord on 5, guitar on 5 8

Robbie Robertson – Fallen Angel (official video):

Additional personnel:
Tinker Barfield – bass on 1 and 5
Martin Page – drum programming on 1
Garth Hudson – keyboards on 1 and 5
Peter Gabriel – keyboards on 1 and 3, vocal on 1, drum program on 3
Larry Klein – bass on 2
BoDeans (Sam Llanas, Kurt Neumann) – backing vocals on 2 and 5
Sammy BoDean (Sam Llanas) – backing vocal on 6
Terry Bozzio – drums on 3 and 5
Abraham Laboriel – bass on 3
Larry Mullen, Jr. – drums on 4 and 9
Adam Clayton – bass on 4 and 9
The Edge – guitar on 4 and 9
Bono – vocals, bass on 4, backing vocal and guitar on 9
Hans Christian – bass guitar on 5
Maria McKee – backing vocal on 5
Cary Butler – backing vocal on 8
Ivan Neville – backing vocal on 9
Gil Evans Horn Section – horns on 9
Rick Danko – backing vocal on 8

Album on Spotify:


Robbie Robertson – Showdown at Big Sky (official video):

– Hallgeir

One thought on “October 27: Robbie Robertson released his self-titled solo debut in 1987”

  1. Fantastic album which I think is not fully appreciated. My copy is autographed by the two members of the Bo Deans that sing on the record.

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