Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


Musicology (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

David Ake

Second Committee Member

Deborah Schwartz-Kates

Third Committee Member

Todd Decker


The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock&Roll (1980) distinguishes the rock group, the Band, and their eponymous LP stating that, “The Band came out in the fall of 1969, and there was no time more appropriate to the release of such a collection of Americana. But what is Americana? The 2011 Grammy category descriptions state that the genre is, “contemporary music that incorporates elements of various mostly acoustic American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk and bluegrass resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw." To simplify this definition I argue that Americana has become known today as modern music that reflects or revitalizes notions of historically American genres. This thesis presents the Band and the group’s celebrated event The Last Waltz as case studies for research in American popular music. While the previously published studies by Greil Marcus and Craig Harris have provided biographical information, these sources do not discuss the relevance of The Last Waltz as a culmination of the Band’s identity. My focus here on the Band and The Last Waltz specifically within the context of 1970s America will contribute to popular music studies by providing an example of how the revivalist term Americana was constructed around the Band.


Americana; The Band; The Last Waltz; Revivalist Perspective; 1970s