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Hard Rock Cafe, Toronto, honours Dylan and The Band

The first plaque marking a rock 'n' roll historic site in Toronto was installed at the Hard Rock Cafe in January 2002. It commemorates the spot where Bob Dylan first rehearsed with Levon and the Hawks.

The photos below of Band/ Dylan memorabilia at the HRC were taken by Mark Atkins in March 2002.

Outside the HRC, Toronto. The windows on the left are where the stage would have been at the original Friar's Tavern.

Plaque inscription

Rock and Roll Historic Site
An event that Time magazine once called "the most decisive moment in rock history" took place a few steps from where you are now standing. Here in the early morning of Thursday September 16, 1965, Bob Dylan first heard Levon and the Hawks, a hard-edged Toronto rock group, later to become famous as the Band. After the show, Dylan began rehearsing with the Hawks for what turned out to be his stunning eight-month debut tour on electric instruments.

Bob Dylan Meets the Band
At the time, this building was famous as the Friar's Tavern. It was one of Toronto.s most popular nightclubs and Levon and the Hawks were the city's Number 1 band. One of their biggest fans was Mary Martin, a Toronto woman who in 1965 was working in New York City for Albert Grossman, Bob Dylan's manager. Mary watched as Dylan grew fed up playing folk guitar alone in front of silent, reverential crowds. She also witnessed his electric first performance at the Newport Folk Festival, July 1965, an appearance famously booed by loyal folkies. Mary Martin decided to play matchmaker. She knew that Dylan needed a fiery band like the Hawks to help him launch his new direction, and that the Hawks needed a star like Dylan to take them beyond the Friar's. On September 15, 1965 - Dylan arrived in Toronto. For the next two nights, after hours, he rehearsed with the Hawks on a stage along the north wall - - now the window side of the restaurant. One week later, their tour opened in Austin, Texas unleashing a whole new sound.

Dylan.s major recordings with the Hawks/the Band are: "Bob Dylan Live 1966", "The Basement Tapes" (1975), "Planet Waves" (1974), "Before The Flood" (1974), and "The Last Waltz" (1978).

John Goddard, Rock Historian, 2002

The plaque
The Band display case, measuring about 8' by 8'
The Band album, signed by all five members of The Band plus Dylan
The Last Waltz poster
Fender Stratocaster guitar signed by Robbie Robertson and used at performance at MuchMusic, one of Canada's video channels
Drum head and The Best of The Band album, signed by everyone except Richard

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