Richard Manuel


Richard and his three brothers often sang together in their church’s choir

Richard began taking piano lessons at age 9. He enjoyed playing, and getting friends together for rehearsals.His influences were largely R&B artists including Ray Charles, Bobby Bland, Jimmy Reed, and Otis Rush.He recieved a music diploma from the Ontario Conservatory of Music in Lap Steel Guitar

He formed a band with 3 friends called The Devols, and they opened for a popular rockabilly band, Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks (whose members were Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, and Rick Danko). Hawkins commented to Helm about Manuel , “See that kid playing piano? He’s got more talent than Van Cliburn.”

The Hawks subsequently hired Manuel, and they eventually morphed into Bob Dylan’s backup band, simply called THE BAND

Band member Garth Hudson played organ, while Manuel played the piano parts, and the resulting sound of the two keyboards gave The Band great depth

Richard struggled with drug use and alcoholism for many years. He commited suicide in 1986