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The Band: This Canadian ensemble started as The Hawks, the backing band of rockabilly Ronnie Hawkins. All of his frequently-changing groups used this name. They later deserted Hawkins to become Levon And The Hawks - Levon being drummer/vocalist Levon Helm -, The Crackers, The Honkies (considered) and The Squires in 1965. The Crackers was a derogatory name, for poor white southern trash, which went over the record company's heads. The Hawks name was warlike and meaningless when they moved out from under Ronnie's wing.
They were simply and colloquially called "the band" not long after they started on their own, probably because no other appellation seemed right. Robbie Robertson recalled that everybody called them "the band" when they started to back Bob Dylan: Dylan himself, their friends and neighbours. "That's all we were known as."
They kept the title because it was so simple and had attitude: THE Band, as if no other mattered. It was also justified because they were a unit able to switch instruments, without inflated egos hampering team work.
It also didn't limit their scope in the way contemporaries found with aliases such as Strawberry Alarm Clock. The Band were never psychedelic, never hippy: their timeless music was reminiscent of 1868 not 1968. Cf The Pop Group.
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