Rock of Ages (The Band album)

Rock of Ages: The Band in Concert is a live album by the Band, released in 1972. It was compiled from recordings made during their series of shows at the Academy of Music in New York City, from December 28 through December 31, 1971. It peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart, and was certified a gold record by the RIAA.[8] An expanded release of recordings taken from the same series of shows, called Live at the Academy of Music 1971, was released in 2013.

Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages (The Band album - cover art).jpg
Live album by
ReleasedAugust 15, 1972
RecordedDecember 28–31, 1971
VenueAcademy of Music, New York City
GenreRoots rock
LabelCapitol SABB 11045
ProducerThe Band
The Band chronology
Rock of Ages
Moondog Matinee
Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideB[2]
Entertainment WeeklyA[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[7]


The Band booked a residency at the Academy of Music for the last week of 1971, culminating in a New Year's Eve performance. Four nights were recorded, December 28 through 31.[9]

Robbie Robertson had commissioned New Orleans songwriter and arranger Allen Toussaint to compose horn charts for their recent single "Life Is a Carnival" from the album Cahoots, and decided to have Toussaint write special charts for a five-man horn section to augment the group at the upcoming concerts.[10] The initial charts written by Toussaint in New Orleans were in luggage lost at the airport, and a new set was composed in a cabin near Robertson's house in Woodstock.[11] Robertson selected eleven songs to receive horn charts (all of the original Rock of Ages album except for "Get Up Jake", "Stage Fright", "This Wheel's on Fire", "The Weight", "The Shape I'm In", and "The Genetic Method.").[12]

The repertoire consisted of material from all four of the Band's studio albums up to that point, plus one new original song, "Get Up Jake", and three covers. The group played the 1964 Motown hit single "Baby Don't You Do It" by Marvin Gaye, another Motown song, the 1966 hit single "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" by the Four Tops, and "(I Don't Want To) Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes", the b-side of Chuck Willis' final single.[13]

Bob Dylan, their old employer, made a surprise visit on the New Year's Eve show, playing the final four songs with the group in the early morning hours of January 1, 1972.[14] The horn section added spontaneous flourishes to "Down in the Flood" and "Rolling Stone".


These recordings have been released many times, with significant changes to the track list, running order, and mix. Originally released in 1972 as a double album, it was reissued in 1980 as two separate LPs, titled Rock of Ages, Vol. 1 and Rock of Ages, Vol. 2. The first edition for compact disc in 1987 was released as an "abridged version"; "The Genetic Method" (Garth Hudson's instrumental solo/introduction to "Chest Fever") was omitted, but later re-instated on the unedited two-disc version released in 1990. A budget re-release on CD was also issued in 1990 named The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down: The Best of the Band Live in Concert. On May 8, 2001, an expanded and remastered two-disc edition appeared, with the original album on one disc, and an additional ten tracks on a bonus disc, including the four songs with Bob Dylan from his guest appearance on the final night.

The 2005 retrospective box set A Musical History contains 9 tracks from these concerts, newly remixed from the multitrack tapes, including a previously unreleased performance of the song "Smoke Signal" from the December 28 show. A hybrid SACD reissue of the original album was released on the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab label in 2010.[15]

In 2013, Capitol released Live at the Academy of Music 1971: The Rock of Ages Concerts, as both a two-CD set, and as a box set that contains a new stereo mix of all previously released material from the concerts with a new running order, plus the previously unreleased performance of "Strawberry Wine" from the December 28 show. The box set includes the same two discs, plus two discs containing the complete December 31 show in its entirety (11 tracks are duplicates of the first two discs, but the rest were previously unreleased), and a DVD containing most of the first two discs of audio in 5.1 surround mixes and video of "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" and "The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show."[16]

The song "Chest Fever" from this album is available as downloadable content for the video game Rock Band.

Track listingEdit

Rock of AgesEdit

Side oneEdit

All tracks are written by Robbie Robertson except where noted.

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."Introduction by Robertson"  1:22
2."Don't Do It"Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland Jr.December 295:00
3."King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" December 314:04
4."Caledonia Mission" December 303:38
5."Get Up Jake" December 303:33
6."The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show" December 313:54

Side twoEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."Stage Fright" December 314:38
2."The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" December 294:34
3."Across the Great Divide" December 303:59
4."This Wheel's on Fire"Rick Danko, Bob DylanDecember 294:07
5."Rag Mama Rag" December 314:33

Side threeEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."The Weight" December 305:32
2."The Shape I'm In" December 314:14
3."The Unfaithful Servant" December 314:48
4."Life Is a Carnival"Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Rick DankoDecember 304:17

Side fourEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."The Genetic Method"Garth HudsonDecember 317:48
2."Chest Fever" December 285:24
3."(I Don't Want to) Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes"Chuck WillisDecember 294:20

2000 reissue bonus discEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever"Stevie Wonder, Ivy Jo HunterDecember 293:28
2."I Shall Be Released"DylanDecember 304:03
3."Up on Cripple Creek" December 304:38
4."The Rumor" December 305:02
5."Rockin' Chair" December 294:06
6."Time to Kill" December 284:07
7."Down in the Flood"DylanDecember 315:25
8."When I Paint My Masterpiece"DylanDecember 314:17
9."Don't Ya Tell Henry"DylanDecember 314:38
10."Like A Rolling Stone"DylanDecember 315:24

Live at the Academy of Music 1971Edit

Disc 1Edit

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show" December 313:50
2."The Shape I'm In" December 313:49
3."Caledonia Mission" December 303:20
4."Don't Do It"Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland Jr.December 294:28
5."Stage Fright" December 314:22
6."I Shall Be Released"Bob DylanDecember 304:01
7."Up on Cripple Creek" December 304:40
8."This Wheel's on Fire"Rick Danko, Bob DylanDecember 293:48
9."Strawberry Wine"Robbie Robertson, Levon HelmDecember 283:31
10."King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" December 313:58
11."Time to Kill" December 284:09
12."The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" December 294:41
13."Across the Great Divide" December 303:28

Disc 2Edit

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."Life Is a Carnival"Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Rick DankoDecember 304:04
2."Get Up Jake" December 303:17
3."Rag Mama Rag" December 314:04
4."The Unfaithful Servant" December 314:30
5."The Weight" December 305:16
6."Rockin' Chair" December 294:04
7."Smoke Signal" December 285:20
8."The Rumor" December 305:04
9."The Genetic Method"Garth HudsonDecember 317:31
10."Chest Fever" December 285:08
11."(I Don't Want to) Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes"Chuck WillisDecember 294:36
12."Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever"Stevie Wonder, Ivy Jo HunterDecember 293:31
13."Down in the Flood"DylanDecember 315:11
14."When I Paint My Masterpiece"DylanDecember 314:57
15."Don't Ya Tell Henry"DylanDecember 313:55
16."Like A Rolling Stone"DylanDecember 315:26


The Band at the Academy of Music concerts

The Band

Additional musicians



Chart performance for Rock of Ages
Chart (1972) Peak
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[17] 3
US Billboard 200[18] 6


Certifications for Rock of Ages
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[8] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine (1972-08-15). "Rock of Ages - The Band | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: B". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  3. ^ "The Band: Rock of Ages". DownBeat: 66. October 2001.
  4. ^ "The Band: Rock of Ages". Entertainment Weekly. May 25, 2001. p. 81.
  5. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel, eds. (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 72. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  6. ^ "The Band: Rock of Ages". Q: 130. July 2001.
  7. ^ Brackett, Nathan, with Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th edn). New York, NY: Fireside. p. 42. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  8. ^ a b "American album certifications – The Band – Rock of Ages". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved November 21, 2022.
  9. ^ Academy of Music box set liner notes, retrieved from The Band website 4 December 2016
  10. ^ Bowman, Rob. Rock of Ages. 2001, 72435-30181-2-2, liner notes, p. 2.
  11. ^ Bowman, pp. 3-4.
  12. ^ Bowman, p.5
  13. ^ Academy of Music box set liner notes, retrieved from The Band website 4 December 2016
  14. ^ Bowman, p. 11
  15. ^ "The Band - Rock of Ages Ultradisc UHR™ SACD - Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Inc". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2010-03-05.
  16. ^ "Music News & Concert Reviews". Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  17. ^ " – The Band – Rock of Ages in Concert" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 21, 2022.
  18. ^ "The Band Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved November 21, 2022.