The Band - It Makes No Difference - Winterland Ballroom 1976
"It Makes No Difference" is a song written by Robbie Robertson and sung by Rick Danko that was first released by The Band on their 1975 album Northern Lights – Southern Cross. It has also appeared on live and compilation albums, including the soundtrack to the film The Last Waltz. Among the artists covering the song are Solomon Burke, My Morning Jacket and Over the Rhine.
Critics have attributed much of the success of "It Makes No Difference" to Rick Danko's lead vocal. Hoskyns considers that "there is something so elemental" in how Danko expresses his loss that it "transcends self-pity". According to DeRiso, Danko's vocal manages to express the "lonesome bottom of this song while retaining its sense of reckless emotional abandon," without ever sounding resigned to his fate. Levon Helm and Richard Manuel add harmony vocals on the refrain, adding to the sense of pain. Hoskyns and DeRiso also credit Robertson's and Garth Hudson's "anguished" guitar and saxophone solos for complementing the effect of the vocals. According to DeRiso, Danko, Hudson and Robertson are all "walking the same fine line — Danko, between torment and utter heartsick disaster; Hudson and Robertson between stabbing attempts at redemption and a reluctant acceptance."
According to Robertson, "I wrote this song specifically for Rick to sing and when we first started discovering the possibilities, it kept expanding to more levels of emotion. What Garth and I could add to finalize the statement of this song was purely instinctual."
It makes no difference where I turn
I can't get over you and the flame still burns.
It makes no difference night or day
The shadows never seem to fade away.
And the sun don't shine anymore
And the rains fall down on my door.
Now there's no love as true as the love that dies untold.
But the clouds never hung so low before.
It makes no difference how far I go.
Like the scar the hurt will always show.
It makes no difference who I meet
They're just a face in the crowd on a dead-end street.
These old love letters I just can't keep.
Just like the gambler says read `em and weep.
And the dawn don't rescue me no more,
Without your love I am nothing at all.
Like an empty hall, it's a lonely fall
Since you've gone it's a losin' battle
Stampedin' cattle they rattle the walls.
Well I love you so much. That's all I can do.
Just to keep myself from tellin you
that I've never felt so alone before.