EXPLORE WOODSTOCK 1969
In August 1969, over half a million people came to upstate New York for the 3 days of Peace & Music. The Woodstock Music & Arts Fair.
“Woodstock 1969 was a reaction by the youth of its time and the conditions we faced,” says Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang. “We proved that it is possible to live together in harmony and with compassion…with only our best selves represented. Woodstock gave people around the world hope, which is why I think it remains relevant today.”
Explore the history of Woodstock. And come make history with us. Again.
DAY 1 ARTISTS
Woodstock’s first performer held the crowd for nearly three hours – in part because many artists scheduled to perform were delayed by standstill traffic. Freedom was an improvised jam that became his signature moment.
From the Prison
From the Prison (Reprise)
The Minstrel from Gault
I’m a Stranger Here
High Flying Bird
I Can’t Make It Anymore
With a Little Help from My Friends
Strawberry Fields Forever > Hey Jude
Freedom (Motherless Child)
This psychedelic folk band was scheduled to open the show, but got stuck in traffic on the way, giving Richie Havens his opportunity. They would reunite to play at Woodstock ’94.
For Pete’s Sake
Why Oh Why
Let the Sunshine In
Oh Happy Day
His song, If I Were A Carpenter, has been covered by artists ranging from Johnny Cash to Robert Plant. He performed it solo on the Woodstock stage followed by a full set with his backing band.
How Can We Hang On to a Dream?
If I Were a Carpenter
Reason to Believe
You Upset the Grace of Living When You Lie
Speak Like a Child
Snow White Lady
Blue on My Ceiling
Simple Song of Freedom
Melanie’s solo set was short but sweet, featuring her radio hit Momma Momma. During her set the audience lit up candles to accompany the music, inspiring her to write the hit song Lay Down (Candles In The Rain).
Close to It All
Mr. Tambourine Man
Tuning My Guitar
Birthday of the Sun
As the rain began to fall, the Indian Sitar Maestro entranced the festival crowd with a set that was both virtuosic and spiritual.
Raga Puriya-Dhanashri/Gat In Sawarital
Tabla Solo In Jhaptal
Raga Manj Kmahaj (AIap, Jor, Dhun In Kaharwa Tal)
Carrying on in his father Woody Guthrie’s footsteps, Arlo created storytelling songs that protested against social injustice – a fitting troubadour for the Woodstock crowd.
Coming into Los Angeles
Wheel of Fortune
Walking Down the Line
Arlo Speech: Exodus
Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep
Every Hand in the
The last act of Day 1, Joan wished everyone a good morning as she took the stage at 1:00 am. Her perfectly arranged set combined with her beautiful and skillful voice was a fine finish for a chaotic and exhausting first day.
Oh Happy Day
The Last Thing on My Mind
I Shall Be Released
Story about how the Federal Marshals came to take David Harris into custody
Sweet Sir Galahad
Drug Store Truck Driving Man duet with Jeffrey Shurtleff
I Live One Day at a Time
Take Me Back to the Sweet Sunny South
Let Me Wrap You In My Warm and Tender Love
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
We Shall OvercomeDAY 2 ARTISTS
After a night of storms, the sun broke through just as this Boston-based rock band launched into their 4-song 40-minute set – a lively opening act for Day 2 of the Festival.
They Live the Life
That’s How I Eat
Waitin’ for You
Country Joe McDonald
He would return to the Woodstock stage on Day 3 with his full band, but while Santana waited in the wings, Country Joe warmed things up with a relaxed set of solo acoustic numbers.
Heartaches by the Number
Ring of Fire
Rockin’ Round the World
I Seen a Rocket
The “Fish” Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag
With their debut album not yet released, Santana was relatively unknown. Their powerful, magical, transformative performance changed that. Carlos led his band with virtuosic style and drummer Michael Shrieve brought it all home during Soul Sacrifice.
You Just Don’t Care
Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries
The Lovin’ Spoonful leader – at the festival as an attendee – was recruited for a short acoustic set while crews cleaned up the stage from another rainfall. He dedicated closer, Younger Generation, to a newborn baby at the festival.
How Have You Been
Rainbows All Over Your Blues
I Had a Dream
Darlin’ Be Home Soon
Keef Harley Band
The first British band to take the stage at Woodstock – and the first U.S. gig for the band – they played a hypnotic mix of jazz, blues and rock & roll.
Too Much Thinkin’
Believe in You
Rock Me Baby
Sinnin’ for You / Leaving Trunk / Just to Cry / Sinnin’ for You
The Incredible String Band
After refusing to perform in Friday night’s downpour, this psychedelic folk band from Edinburgh, Scotland offered a decidedly different sound for a day dominated by rock.
Come with Me
When You Find Out Who You Are
Arriving by helicopter and taking the stage as the sun began to set, Canned Heat brought their blues rock to the crowd, with their performance of Going Up The Country becoming central to the Woodstock documentary.
I’m Her Man
Going Up the Country
A Change Is Gonna Come / Leaving This Town
Too Many Drivers at the Wheel
I Know My Baby
Things got even heavier as Leslie West led his band Mountain through an 11 song blues rock set. Only their 4th live gig, the band poured on the power that would become their trademark.
Blood of the Sun
Theme for an Imaginary Western
For Yasgur’s Farm (song was untitled at the time)
Beside the Sea
Waiting to Take You Away
Dreams of Milk and Honey / Guitar Solo
Dirty Shoes Blues
Bringing their Haight Ashbury vibe with them, the Dead jammed until midnight. Hampered by electrical issues on the flooded stage, they ended it all with an almost everlasting take on Turn On Your Lovelight.
Turn On Your Lovelight
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s set, featuring John Fogerty, was one of the true highlights of the festival. Though they started late in the night the way they played their already wildly popular songs demonstrated a band that was at the top of their game.
Born on the Bayou
Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do)
Bad Moon Rising
I Put a Spell on You
The Night Time Is the Right Time
Keep on Chooglin’
The WhoScheduled to play Saturday, The Who took the stage at 5 am on Sunday. They played their rock opera Tommy, reaching an awe-inspiring moment as the sun rose during their performance of See Me, Feel Me.
Heaven and Hell
I Can’t Explain
It’s a Boy
Eyesight to the Blind (The Hawker)
The Abbie Hoffman Incident
Do You Think It’s Alright?
There’s a Doctor
Go to the Mirror
Smash the Mirror
Tommy’s Holiday Camp
We’re Not Gonna Take It
See Me, Feel Me
Shakin’ All Over
One of the pioneering bands of psychedelic rock, Grace Slick and her bandmates performed in what she characterized as the “morning maniac music” slot, riffing through iconic songs like Somebody To Love and White Rabbit.
The Other Side of This Life
Somebody to Love
3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds
Won’t You Try / Saturday Afternoon
Eskimo Blue Day
Plastic Fantastic Lover
Uncle Sam Blues
The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil
Come Back Baby
The House at Pooneil Corners
Cocker’s performance was a triumphal success. Especially well received was his cover of the Beatles’ With a Little Help from My Friends. Shortly after Cocker’s gig a heavy thunderstorm washed over the festival, bringing everything to a stop for several hours. He was heard to say “Did I do that?”
Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (without Joe Cocker)
40,000 Headmen (without Joe Cocker)
Something’s Coming On
Do I Still Figure in Your Life
Just Like a Woman
Let’s Go Get Stoned
I Don’t Need No Doctor
I Shall Be Released
Something to Say
With a Little Help from My Friends
Country Joe and The Fish
The full band took the stage around 6:30 pm, rolling through a 14-song set that included powerful protests of the Vietnam War, including their infamous Fish Cheer.
Rock & Soul Music
(Thing Called) Love
Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
Sing, Sing, Sing
Friend, Lover, Woman, Wife
Silver and Gold
The Love Machine
Ever Since You Told Me That You Love Me (I’m a Nut)
Short Jam (instrumental)
Rock & Soul Music (Reprise)
“Fish” Cheer > I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag
Arriving by helicopter on Saturday, Joplin’s set began at 2 am, and featured powerful takes on many of her standards, with the crowd enthusiastically demanding an encore – the fiery closing number Ball and Chain.
Raise Your Hand
As Good as You’ve Been to This World
To Love Somebody
Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)
Can’t Turn You Loose
Work Me, Lord
Piece of My Heart
Ten Years After
Struggling mightily with technical difficulties due to high humidity, this British heavy blues rock band still gave a bravura performance, and their rendition of I’m Going Home was featured in both the subsequent film and soundtrack album.
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
I Can’t Keep from Crying Sometimes
I’m Going Home
Drawing heavily from their classic album Music From Big Pink, The Band, who at the time lived and played near the festival grounds, delivered a breathtaking set of songs that are now folk-rock classics.
Don’t Do It
Tears of Rage
We Can Talk
Long Black Veil
Don’t You Tell Henry
Ain’t No More Cane on the Brazos
This Wheel’s on Fire
I Shall Be Released
Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
This Texas blues legend took the stage at midnight, playing an electrifying hour plus set highlighted by his slide guitar and amazing solos. He was joined by brother Edgar for 3 songs before closing things out, appropriately enough, with a cover of Johnny B. Goode.
Mama, Talk to Your Daughter
Leland Mississippi Blues
Mean Town Blues
You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now > Mean Mistreater
I Can’t Stand It (with Edgar Winter)
Tobacco Road (with Edgar Winter)
Tell the Truth (with Edgar Winter)
Johnny B. Goode
Sly and The Family Stone
This pioneering Funk Rock band was remarkably fresh and powerful considering their 3:30 am start, delivering what is widely considered one of their best performances – and among the greatest moments on the Woodstock ’69 stage.
Sing A Simple Song
You Can Make It If You Try
Dance To The Music
I Want To Take You Higher
Blood Sweat and Tears
With the belting baritone of lead singer David-Clayton Thomas backed by a combination of brass and rock musicians, Blood, Sweat and Tears was at the top of their game for the Woodstock crowd.
More and More
Just One Smile
Something’s Coming on
More Than You’ll Ever Know
Sometimes in Winter
God Bless the Child
And When I Die
You’ve Made Me So Very Happy
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
The band that later went on to make Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock their own was performing their second live gig as a foursome. The group played separate acoustic and electric sets, with Neil Young joining them in the middle of the acoustic set
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
4 + 20
You Don’t Have to Cry
Long Time Gone
Sea of Madness
Find the Cost of Freedom
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Led by harmonica virtuoso Paul Butterfield, this group was known for combining electric Chicago blues with a rock urgency – a wake-up call for the faithful who were there for their 6 am start.
Born Under a Bad Sign
No Amount of Loving
Driftin’ and Driftin’
All in a Day
Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
Sha Na Na
This 50s nostalgia act had just formed in 1969, and their set at Woodstock helped catapult them to national fame, with their cover of At The Hop making it into the documentary.
Get A Job
Come Go With Me
(Who Wrote) The Book of Love
At The Hop
Duke Of Earl
Get A Job (Reprise)
Jimi and his band took the stage at 9 am Monday morning – the closing act for the Festival. While many had left, the thousands who remained witnessed one of the longest, most famous sets of Hendrix’ career – including his epic take on The Star Spangled Banner. According to Billy Cox, Hendrix’ bassist, Jimi looked out at the crowd and said “Look, the audience is sending a lot of energy to us on stage. Let’s use that and send it back to them.”
Message to Love
Getting My Heart Back Together Again > Hear My Train a-Comin’
Spanish Castle Magic
Beginning > Jam Back at the House
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Star Spangled Banner
Woodrow Wilson Guthrie
Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (/ˈɡʌθri/; July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter, one of the most significant figures in American folk music; his music, including songs, such as "This Land Is Your Land", has inspired several generations both politically and musically. He wrote hundreds of political, folk, and children's songs, along with ballads and improvised works. His album of songs about the Dust Bowl period, Dust Bowl Ballads, is included on Mojo magazine's list of 100 Records That Changed The World. Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Hunter, Harry Chapin, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Andy Irvine, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, Jerry Garcia, Jay Farrar, Bob Weir, Jeff Tweedy, Bob Childers, Sammy Walker, Tom Paxton, AJJ, Brian Fallon, and Sixto Rodríguez have acknowledged Guthrie as a major influence. He frequently performed with the slogan "This machine kills fascists" displayed on his guitar.
Woody Guthrie was brought up by middle-class parents in Okemah, Oklahoma, until he was 14, when his mother Mary was hospitalized as a consequence of Huntington's disease, a fatal hereditary neurological disorder. His father moved to Pampa, Texas, to repay debts from unsuccessful real estate deals. During his early teens, Guthrie learned folk and blues songs from his parents' friends. He married at 19, but with the advent of the dust storms that marked the Dust Bowl period, he left his wife and three children to join the thousands of Okies who were migrating to California looking for employment. He worked at Los Angeles radio station KFVD, achieving some fame from playing hillbilly music; made friends with Will Geer and John Steinbeck; and wrote a column for the Communist newspaper People's World from May 1939 to January 1940.
Throughout his life, Woody Guthrie was associated with United States Communist groups, although he did not appear to be a member of any. With the outbreak of World War II and the non-aggression pact the Soviet Union had signed with Germany in 1939, the owners of KFVD radio were not comfortable with Guthrie's Communist sympathies. He left the station, ending up in New York where he wrote and recorded his 1940 album Dust Bowl Ballads, based on his experiences during the 1930s, which earned him the nickname the "Dust Bowl Troubadour". In February 1940 he wrote his most famous song, "This Land Is Your Land". He said it was a response to what he felt was the overplaying of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" on the radio.
Guthrie was married three times and fathered eight children. His son Arlo Guthrie became nationally known as a musician. Guthrie died in 1967 from complications of Huntington's disease. His first two daughters also died of the disease. During his later years, in spite of his illness, Guthrie served as a figurehead in the folk movement, providing inspiration to a generation of new folk musicians, including mentoring Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Bob Dylan.
Early life: 1912–31
Woody Guthrie was born 14 July 1912 in Okemah, a small town in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, the son of Nora Belle (née Sherman) and Charles Edward Guthrie. His parents named him after Woodrow Wilson, then Governor of New Jersey and the Democratic candidate who was elected as President of the United States in fall 1912. Charles Guthrie was an industrious businessman, owning at one time up to 30 plots of land in Okfuskee County. He was actively involved in Oklahoma politics and was a conservative Democratic candidate for office in the county. Charles Guthrie was reportedly involved in the 1911 lynching of Laura and L. D. Nelson. (Woody Guthrie wrote three songs about the event in the 1960s. He said that his father, Charles, became a member of the Ku Klux Klan as it revived beginning in 1915.
Three significant fires occurred during Guthrie's early life, one that caused the loss of his family's home in Okemah. When Guthrie was seven, his sister Clara died after setting her clothes on fire during an argument with her mother, and their father was severely burned in a fire at home. Guthrie's mother, Nora, was afflicted with Huntington's disease, although the family did not know this at the time. What they could see was dementia and muscular degeneration.
When Woody Guthrie was 14, she was committed to the Oklahoma Hospital for the Insane. At the time his father Charley was living and working in Pampa, Texas, to repay debts from unsuccessful real estate deals. Woody and his siblings were on their own in Oklahoma; they relied on their eldest brother Roy for support. The 14-year-old Woody Guthrie worked odd jobs around Okemah, begging meals and sometimes sleeping at the homes of family friends.
Guthrie had a natural affinity for music, learning old ballads and traditional English and Scottish songs from the parents of friends. Guthrie befriended an African-American shoeshine boy named "George", who played blues on his harmonica. After listening to George play, Guthrie bought his own harmonica and began playing along with him. He used to busk for money and food. Although Guthrie did not do well as a student and dropped out of high school in his senior year before graduation, his teachers described him as bright. He was an avid reader on a wide range of topics.
In 1929, Guthrie's father sent for Woody to join him in Texas, but little changed for the aspiring musician. Guthrie, then 18, was reluctant to attend high school classes in Pampa; he spent most of his time learning songs by busking on the streets and reading in the library at Pampa's city hall. He regularly played at dances with his father's half-brother Jeff Guthrie, a fiddle player. His mother died in 1930 of complications of Huntington's disease while still in the Oklahoma Hospital for the Insane.
Marriage and family
At age 19, Guthrie met and married his first wife, Mary Jennings, in Texas in 1931. They had three children together: Gwendolyn, Sue, and Bill. Bill died at age 23 of an automobile accident. Each daughter died of Huntington's disease at the age of 41, in the 1970s.
Guthrie and Mary divorced in 1940. He married twice more, to Marjorie Greenblatt (1945–53), and Anneke Van Kirkand (1953–56) having a total of eight children.
During the Dust Bowl period, Guthrie joined the thousands of Okies and others who migrated to California to look for work, leaving his wife and children in Texas. Many of his songs are concerned with the conditions faced by working-class people.
During the latter part of that decade, he achieved fame with radio partner Maxine "Lefty Lou" Crissman as a broadcast performer of commercial hillbilly music and traditional folk music. Guthrie was making enough money to send for his family to join him from Texas. While appearing on the radio station KFVD, owned by a populist-minded New Deal Democrat, Frank W. Burke, Guthrie began to write and perform some of the protest songs that he eventually released on his album Dust Bowl Ballads.
While at KFVD, Guthrie met newscaster Ed Robbin. Robbin was impressed with a song Guthrie wrote about political activist Thomas Mooney, wrongly convicted in a case that was a cause célèbre of the time. Robbin, who became Guthrie's political mentor, introduced Guthrie to socialists and Communists in Southern California, including Will Geer. (He introduced Guthrie to writer John Steinbeck). Robbin remained Guthrie's lifelong friend, and helped Guthrie book benefit performances in the Communist circles in Southern California.
Notwithstanding Guthrie's later claim that "the best thing that I did in 1936 was to sign up with the Communist Party", he was never a member of the Party. He was noted as a fellow traveler—an outsider who agreed with the platform of the party while avoiding party discipline. Guthrie wrote a column for the Communist newspaper, People's World. The column, titled "Woody Sez", appeared a total of 174 times from May 1939 to January 1940. "Woody Sez" was not explicitly political, but was about current events as observed by Guthrie. He wrote the columns in an exaggerated hillbilly dialect and usually included a small comic. These columns were published posthumously as a collection after Guthrie's death. Steve Earle said of Guthrie, "I don't think of Woody Guthrie as a political writer. He was a writer who lived in very political times."
With the outbreak of World War II and publicity about the non-aggression pact the Soviet Union had signed with Germany in 1939, the owners of KFVD radio did not want its staff "spinning apologia" for the Soviet Union. It fired both Robbin and Guthrie. Without the daily radio show, Guthrie's employment chances declined, and he returned with his family to Pampa, Texas. Although Mary was happy to return to Texas, Guthrie preferred to accept Will Geer's invitation to New York City and headed east.
1940s: Building a legacy
New York City
Arriving in New York, Guthrie, known as "the Oklahoma cowboy", was embraced by its folk music community. For a time, he slept on a couch in Will Geer's apartment. Guthrie made his first recordings—several hours of conversation and songs recorded by the folklorist Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress—as well as an album, Dust Bowl Ballads, for Victor Records in Camden, New Jersey.
In February 1940 he wrote his most famous song, "This Land Is Your Land", as a response to what he felt was an overplaying of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" on the radio. Guthrie thought the lyrics were unrealistic and complacent. He adapted the melody from an old gospel song, "Oh My Loving Brother", which had been adapted by the country group the Carter Family for their song "When The World's On Fire". Guthrie signed the manuscript with the comment, "All you can write is what you see." Although the song was written in 1940, it was four years before he recorded it for Moses Asch in April 1944. Sheet music was produced and given to schools by Howie Richmond sometime later.
In March 1940 Guthrie was invited to play at a benefit hosted by the John Steinbeck Committee to Aid Farm Workers, to raise money for migrant workers. There he met the folksinger Pete Seeger, and the two men became good friends. Seeger accompanied Guthrie back to Texas to meet other members of the Guthrie family. He recalled an awkward conversation with Mary Guthrie's mother, in which she asked for Seeger's help to persuade Guthrie to treat her daughter better.
From April 1940 Guthrie and Seeger lived together in the Greenwich Village loft of sculptor Harold Ambellan and his fiancee. Guthrie had some success in New York at this time as a guest on CBS's radio program Back Where I Come From and used his influence to get a spot on the show for his friend Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter. Ledbetter's Tenth Street apartment was a gathering spot for the musician circle in New York at the time, and Guthrie and Ledbetter were good friends, as they had busked together at bars in Harlem.
In November 1941 Seeger introduced Guthrie to his friend the poet Charles Olson, then a junior editor at the fledgling magazine Common Ground. The meeting led to Guthrie writing the article "Ear Players" in the Spring 1942 issue of the magazine. The article marked Guthrie's debut as a published writer in the mainstream media.
In September 1940 Guthrie was invited by the Model Tobacco Company to host their radio program Pipe Smoking Time. Guthrie was paid $180 a week, an impressive salary in 1940. He was finally making enough money to send regular payments back to Mary. He also brought her and the children to New York, where the family lived briefly in an apartment on Central Park West. The reunion represented Woody's desire to be a better father and husband. He said, "I have to set [sic] real hard to think of being a dad." Guthrie quit after the seventh broadcast, claiming he had begun to feel the show was too restrictive when he was told what to sing. Disgruntled with New York, Guthrie packed up Mary and his children in a new car and headed west to California.
Choreographer Sophie Maslow developed Folksay as an elaborate mix of modern dance and ballet, which combined folk songs by Woody Guthrie with text from Carl Sandburg's 1936 book-length poem The People, Yes. The premiere took place in March 1942 at the Humphrey-Weidman Studio Theatre in New York City. Guthrie provided live music for the performance, which featured Maslow and her New Dance Group. Two-and-a-half years later, Maslow brought Folksay to early television under the direction of Leo Hurwitz. The same group performed the ballet live in front of CBS TV cameras. The 30-minute broadcast aired on WCBW, the pioneer CBS television station in New York City (now WCBS-TV), from 8:15-8:45PM ET on November 24, 1944. Featured were Maslow and the New Dance Group, which included among others Jane Dudley, Pearl Primus, and William Bales. Woody Guthrie and fellow folksinger Tony Kraber played guitar, sang songs, and read text from The People, Yes. The program received positive reviews and was performed on television over WCBW a second time in early 1945.
In May 1941, after a brief stay in Los Angeles, Guthrie moved to Portland, Oregon, in the neighborhood of Lents, on the promise of a job. Gunther von Fritsch was directing a documentary about the Bonneville Power Administration's construction of the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, and needed a narrator. Alan Lomax had recommended Guthrie to narrate the film and sing songs onscreen. The original project was expected to take 12 months, but as filmmakers became worried about casting such a political figure, they minimized Guthrie's role. The Department of the Interior hired him for one month to write songs about the Columbia River and the construction of the federal dams for the documentary's soundtrack. Guthrie toured the Columbia River and the Pacific Northwest. Guthrie said he "couldn't believe it, it's a paradise", which appeared to inspire him creatively. In one month Guthrie wrote 26 songs, including three of his most famous: "Roll On, Columbia, Roll On", "Pastures of Plenty", and "Grand Coulee Dam". The surviving songs were released as Columbia River Songs. The film "Columbia" was not completed until 1949 (see below). At the conclusion of the month in Oregon and Washington, Guthrie wanted to return to New York. Tired of the continual uprooting, Mary Guthrie told him to go without her and the children. Although Guthrie would see Mary again, once on a tour through Los Angeles with the Almanac Singers, it was essentially the end of their marriage. Divorce was difficult, since Mary was a member of the Catholic Church, but she reluctantly agreed in December 1943.
Following the conclusion of his work in the Northwest, Guthrie corresponded with Pete Seeger about Seeger's newly formed folk-protest group, the Almanac Singers. Guthrie returned to New York with plans to tour the country as a member of the group. The singers originally worked out of a loft in New York City hosting regular concerts called "hootenannies", a word Pete and Woody had picked up in their cross-country travels. The singers eventually outgrew the space and moved into the cooperative Almanac House in Greenwich Village.
Initially Guthrie helped write and sing what the Almanac Singers termed "peace" songs; while the Nazi-Soviet Pact was in effect, until Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Communist line was that World War II was a capitalist fraud. After Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, the group wrote anti-fascist songs. The members of the Almanac Singers and residents of the Almanac House were a loosely defined group of musicians, though the core members included Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Millard Lampelland Lee Hays. In keeping with common utopian ideals, meals, chores and rent at the Almanac House were shared. The Sunday hootenannies were good opportunities to collect donation money for rent. Songs written in the Almanac House had shared songwriting credits among all the members, although in the case of "Union Maid", members would later state that Guthrie wrote the song, ensuring that his children would receive residuals.
In the Almanac House, Guthrie added authenticity to their work, since he was a "real" working class Oklahoman. "There was the heart of America personified in Woody ... And for a New York Left that was primarily Jewish, first or second generation American, and was desperately trying to get Americanized, I think a figure like Woody was of great, great importance", a friend of the group, Irwin Silber, would say. Woody routinely emphasized his working-class image, rejected songs he felt were not in the country blues vein he was familiar with, and rarely contributed to household chores. House member Agnes "Sis" Cunningham, another Okie, would later recall that Woody "loved people to think of him as a real working class person and not an intellectual". Guthrie contributed songwriting and authenticity in much the same capacity for Pete Seeger's post-Almanac Singers project People's Songs, a newsletter and booking organization for labor singers, founded in 1945.
Bound for Glory
Guthrie was a prolific writer, penning thousands of pages of unpublished poems and prose, many written while living in New York City. After a recording session with Alan Lomax, Lomax suggested Guthrie write an autobiography. Lomax thought Guthrie's descriptions of growing up were some of the best accounts he had read of American childhood. During this time Guthrie met Marjorie Mazia, a dancer in New York who would become his second wife. Mazia was an instructor at the prestigious Martha Graham Dance School, where she was assisting Sophie Maslow with her piece Folksay. Based on the folklore and poetry collected by Carl Sandburg, Folksay included the adaptation of some of Guthrie's Dust Bowl Ballads for the dance. Guthrie continued to write songs and began work on his autobiography. The end product, Bound for Glory, was completed with the patient editing assistance of Mazia and was first published by E.P. Dutton in 1943.It is vividly told in the artist's down-home dialect, with the flair and imagery of a true storyteller. Library Journal complained about the "too careful reproduction of illiterate speech". But Clifton Fadiman, reviewing the book in the New York Times, paid the author a fine tribute: "Someday people are going to wake up to the fact that Woody Guthrie and the ten thousand songs that leap and tumble off the strings of his music box are a national possession, like Yellowstone and Yosemite, and part of the best stuff this country has to show the world." A film adaptation of Bound for Glory was released in 1976.
In 1944 Guthrie met Moses "Moe" Asch of Folkways Records, for whom he first recorded "This Land Is Your Land". Over the next few years, he recorded "Worried Man Blues", along with hundreds of other songs. These recordings would later be released by Folkways and Stinson Records, which had joint distribution rights. The Folkways recordings are available (through the Smithsonian Institution online shop); the most complete series of these sessions, culled from dates with Asch, is titled The Asch Recordings.
World War II years
Guthrie believed performing his anti-fascist songs and poems in the United States was the best use of his talents.
Labor for Victory: In April 1942, Time magazine reported that the AFL (American Federation of Labor) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) had agreed to a joint radio production, called Labor for Victory. NBC agreed to run the weekly segment as a "public service". The AFL and CIO presidents William Green and Philip Murray agreed to let their press chiefs, Philip Pearl and Len De Caux, narrate on alternate weeks. The show ran on NBC radio on Saturdays 10:15–10:30 PM, starting on April 25, 1942. Time wrote, "De Caux and Pearl hope to make the Labor for Victory program popular enough for an indefinite run, using labor news, name speakers and interviews with workmen. Labor partisanship, they promise, is out." Writers for Labor for Victory included: Peter Lyon, a progressive journalist; Millard Lampell (born Allan Sloane), later an American movie and television screenwriter; and Morton Wishengrad, who worked for the AFL.
For entertainment on CIO episodes, De Caux asked singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie to contribute to the show. "Personally, I would like to see a phonograph record made of your 'Girl in the Red, White, and Blue.'" The title appears in at least one collection of Guthrie records. Guthrie consented and performed solo two or three times on this program (among several other WWII radio shows, including Answering You, Labor for Victory, Jazz in America, and We the People). On August 29, 1942, he performed "The Farmer-Labor Train", with lyrics he had written to the tune of "Wabash Cannonball". (In 1948, he reworked the "Wabash Cannonball" melody as "The Wallace-Taylor Train" for the 1948 Progressive National Convention, which nominated former U.S. Vice President Henry A. Wallace for president.) The Almanac Singers (of which Guthrie and Lampell were co-founders) appeared on The Treasury Hour and CBS Radio's We the People. The latter was later produced as a television series). (Also, Marc Blitzstein's papers show that Guthrie made some contributions to four CIO episodes (dated June 20, June 27, August 1, August 15, 1948) of Labor for Victory.) While Labor for Victory was a milestone in theory as a national platform, in practice it proved less so. Only 35 of 104 NBC affiliates carried the show. Episodes included the announcement that the show represented "twelve million organized men and women, united in the high resolve to rid the world of Fascism in 1942". Speakers included Donald E. Montgomery, then "consumer's counselor" at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Merchant Marine: Guthrie lobbied the United States Army to accept him as a USO performer instead of conscripting him as a soldier in the draft. When Guthrie's attempts failed, his friends Cisco Houston and Jim Longhi persuaded the singer to join the U.S. Merchant Marine in June 1943. He made several voyages aboard merchant ships SS William B. Travis, SS William Floyd, and SS Sea Porpoise, while they traveled in convoys during the Battle of the Atlantic. He served as a mess man and dishwasher, and frequently sang for the crew and troops to buoy their spirits on transatlantic voyages. His first ship, William B. Travis, hit a mine in the Mediterranean Sea, which killed one person aboard, but it sailed to Bizerte, Tunisia under her own power.
His last ship, Sea Porpoise, took troops from the United States to England and France for the D-Day invasion. Guthrie was aboard when the ship was torpedoed off Utah Beach by the German submarine U-390 on July 5, 1944, injuring 12 of the crew. Guthrie was unhurt and the ship stayed afloat; it returned to England, where it was repaired at Newcastle. In July 1944 it returned to the United States.
Guthrie was an active supporter of the National Maritime Union, the main union for wartime American merchant sailors. Guthrie wrote songs about his experience in the Merchant Marine but was never satisfied with them. Longhi later wrote about Guthrie's marine experiences in his book Woody, Cisco and Me. The book offers a rare first-hand account of Guthrie during his Merchant Marine service. In 1945, the government decided that Guthrie's association with Communism made him ineligible for further service in the Merchant Marine; he was drafted into the U.S. Army.
While he was on furlough from the Army, Guthrie married Marjorie. After his discharge, they moved into a house on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island and over time had four children: daughters Cathy and Nora; and sons Arlo and Joady. Cathy died as a result of a fire at the age of four, and Guthrie suffered a serious depression from his grief. Arlo and Joady followed in their father's footsteps as singer-songwriters.
When his family was young, Guthrie wrote and recorded Songs to Grow on for Mother and Child, a collection of children's music, which includes the song "Goodnight Little Arlo (Goodnight Little Darlin')", written when Arlo was about nine years old. During 1947 he wrote House of Earth, an historical novel containing explicit sexual material, about a couple who build a house made of clay and earth to withstand the Dust Bowl's brutal weather. He could not get it published. It was published posthumously in 2013, by Harper, under actor Johnny Depp's publishing imprint, Infinitum Nihil.
In 1949, Guthrie's music was used in the documentary film Columbia River, which explored government dams and hydroelectric projects on the river. Guthrie had been commissioned by the US Bonneville Power Administration in 1941 to write songs for the project, but it had been postponed by World War II.
Post-war: Mermaid Avenue
The years immediately after the war when he lived on Mermaid Avenue were among Guthrie's most productive as a writer. His extensive writings from this time were archived and maintained by Marjorie and later his estate, mostly handled by his daughter Nora. Several of the manuscripts also contain writing by a young Arlo and the other Guthrie children.
During this time Ramblin' Jack Elliott studied extensively under Guthrie, visiting his home and observing how he wrote and performed. Elliott, like Bob Dylan later, idolized Guthrie. He was inspired by the singer's idiomatic performance style and repertoire. Because of the decline caused by Guthrie's progressive Huntington's disease, Arlo Guthrie and Bob Dylan both later said that they had learned much of Guthrie's performance style from Elliott. When asked about this, Elliott said, "I was flattered. Dylan learned from me the same way I learned from Woody. Woody didn't teach me. He just said, If you want to learn something, just steal it—that's the way I learned from Lead Belly."
1950s and 1960s
Deteriorating health due to Huntington's
By the late 1940s, Guthrie's health was declining, and his behavior was becoming extremely erratic. He received various diagnoses (including alcoholism and schizophrenia). In 1952, it was finally determined that he was suffering from Huntington's disease, a genetic disorder inherited from his mother. Believing him to be a danger to their children because of his behavior, Marjorie suggested he return to California without her. They eventually divorced.
Upon his return to California, Guthrie lived at the Theatricum Botanicum, a summer-stock type theatre founded and owned by Will Geer. Together with singers and actors who had been blacklisted by HUAC, he waited out the anti-communist political climate.
As his health worsened, he met and married his third wife, Anneke Van Kirk. They had a child, Lorinna Lynn. The couple moved to Fruit Cove, Florida, where they briefly lived. They lived in a bus on land called Beluthahatchee, owned by his friend Stetson Kennedy. Guthrie's arm was hurt in an accident when gasoline used to start the campfire exploded. Although he regained movement in the arm, he was never able to play the guitar again. In 1954, the couple returned to New York. Shortly after, Anneke filed for divorce, a result of the strain of caring for Guthrie. Van Kirk left New York after arranging for friends to adopt Lorinna Lynn. Lorinna had no further contact with her birth parents. She died in a car accident in California in 1973 at the age of 19. After the divorce, Guthrie's second wife, Marjorie, re-entered his life and cared for him until his death.
Increasingly unable to control his muscles, Guthrie was hospitalized at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Morris County, New Jersey, from 1956 to 1961; at Brooklyn State Hospital (now Kingsboro Psychiatric Center) in East Flatbush until 1966; and finally at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens Village, New York, until his death in 1967. Marjorie and the children visited Guthrie at Greystone every Sunday. They answered fan mail and the children played on the hospital grounds. Eventually a longtime fan of Guthrie invited the family to his nearby home for the Sunday visits. This lasted until Guthrie was moved to the Brooklyn State Hospital, which was closer to Howard Beach, New York, where Marjorie and the children then lived.
During the final few years of his life, Guthrie had become isolated except for family. The progression of Huntington's threw Guthrie into extreme emotional states, causing him to lash out at those nearby and to damage a prized book collection of Anneke's. Huntington's symptoms include uncharacteristic aggression, emotional volatility, and social disinhibition.
Guthrie's illness was essentially untreated, because of a lack of knowledge about the disease. Because of his professional renown, his death from this cause helped raise awareness of the disease. Marjorie helped found the Committee to Combat Huntington's Disease, which became the Huntington's Disease Society of America. None of Guthrie's three surviving children with Marjorie has developed symptoms of Huntington's.
His son Bill with his first wife Mary Guthrie died in an auto-train accident in Pomona, California, at the age of 23. His and Mary's two daughters, Gwendolyn and Sue, both suffered from Huntington's disease. They each died at age 41.
Folk revival and Guthrie's death
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a new generation of young people was inspired by folk singers such as Guthrie. These "folk revivalists" became more politically aware in their music than those of the previous generation. The American Folk Revival was beginning to take place, focused on the issues of the day, such as the civil rights movement and Free Speech Movement. Pockets of folk singers were forming around the country in places such as Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. One of Guthrie's visitors at Greystone Park was the 19-year-old Bob Dylan, who idolized Guthrie. Dylan wrote of Guthrie's repertoire: "The songs themselves were really beyond category. They had the infinite sweep of humanity in them." After learning of Guthrie's whereabouts, Dylan regularly visited him.
Guthrie died of complications of Huntington's disease on October 3, 1967. By the time of his death, his work had been discovered by a new audience, introduced to them through Dylan, Pete Seeger, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, his ex-wife Marjorie and other new members of the folk revival, and his son Arlo.
I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling.
I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built.
I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work
—Guthrie on songwriting
Guthrie was married three times and fathered eight children, including American folk musician Arlo Guthrie.
Married: Mary Esta Jennings (1933–1943), Marjorie Greenblatt Mazia (1945–1953),Anneke van Kirk (1953–1954)
Children (8): Gwendolyn Gail (1935–1976), Sue (1937–1978), Bill (1939–1962), CathyAnn (1943–1947), Arlo Davy (1947–), Joady Ben (1948–), Nora (1950–), Lorinna Lynn (1954–1973)
Grandfather of musician Sarah Lee Guthrie
Woody Guthrie Foundation
Main article: Woody Guthrie Foundation
The Woody Guthrie Foundation is a non-profit organization that serves as administrator and caretaker of the Woody Guthrie Archives. The archives house the largest collection of Guthrie material in the world. In 2013, the archives were relocated from New York City to the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after being purchased by the Tulsa-based George Kaiser Foundation. The Center officially opened on April 27, 2013.The Woody Guthrie Center features, in addition to the archives, a museum focused on the life and the influence of Guthrie through his music, writings, art, and political activities. The museum is open to the public; the archives are open only to researchers by appointment. The archives contains thousands of items related to Guthrie, including original artwork, books, correspondence, lyrics, manuscripts, media, notebooks, periodicals, personal papers, photographs, scrapbooks, and other special collections.
Guthrie's unrecorded written lyrics housed at the archives have been the starting point of several albums including the Wilco and Billy Bragg albums Mermaid Avenue and Mermaid Avenue Vol. II, created in 1998 sessions at the invitation of Guthrie's daughter Nora. The Native American (Diné) trio Blackfire also interpreted previously unreleased Guthrie lyrics at Nora's invitation. Jonatha Brooke's 2008 album, The Works, includes lyrics from the Woody Guthrie Archives set to music by Jonatha Brooke. The various artists compilation Note of Hope: A Celebration of Woody Guthrie was released in 2011. Nora selected Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, and Yim Yames to record her father's lyrics for New Multitudes to honor the 100th anniversary of his birth and a box set of the Mermaid Avenue sessions was also released.
Main article: Woody Guthrie Folk Festival
The Woody Guthrie Folk Festival is held annually in mid-July to commemorate Guthrie's life and music. The festival is held on the weekend closest to Guthrie's birth date (July 14) in Guthrie's hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma. Planned and implemented annually by the Woody Guthrie Coalition, a non-profit corporation, the goal is simply to ensure Guthrie's musical legacy. The Woody Guthrie Coalition commissioned a local Creek Indian sculptor to cast a full-body bronze statue of Guthrie and his guitar, complete with the guitar's well-known inscription: "This machine kills fascists". The statue, sculpted by artist Dan Brook, stands along Okemah's main street in the heart of downtown and was unveiled in 1998, the inaugural year of the festival.
Marjorie Mazia was born Marjorie Greenblatt and her mother, Aliza Greenblatt, was a well-known Yiddish poet. With her, Guthrie wrote numerous Jewish lyrics. Guthrie's Jewish lyrics can be traced to the unusual collaborative relationship he had with his mother-in-law, who lived across from Guthrie and his family in Brooklyn in the 1940s. Guthrie (the Oklahoma troubadour) and Greenblatt (the Jewish wordsmith) often discussed their artistic projects and critiqued each other's works, finding common ground in their shared love of culture and social justice, despite very different backgrounds. Their collaboration flourished in 1940s Brooklyn, where Jewish culture was interwoven with music, modern dance, poetry and anti-fascist, pro-labor, classic socialist activism. Guthrie was inspired to write songs that came directly out of this unlikely relationship, both personal and political; he identified the problems of Jews with those of his fellow Okies and other oppressed peoples.
These lyrics were rediscovered by Nora Guthrie and were set to music by the Jewish Klezmer group The Klezmatics with the release of Happy Joyous Hanukkah on JMG Records in 2007. The Klezmatics also released Wonder Wheel – Lyrics by Woody Guthrie, an album of spiritual lyrics put to music composed by the band. The album, produced by Danny Blume, was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album.
Since his death, artists have paid tribute to Guthrie by covering his songs or by dedicating songs to him. On January 20, 1968, three months after Guthrie's death, Harold Leventhal produced A Tribute to Woody Guthrie at New York City's Carnegie Hall. Performers included Jack Elliott, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Bob Dylan and The Band, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Odetta, and others. Leventhal repeated the tribute on September 12, 1970, at the Hollywood Bowl. Recordings of both concerts were eventually released as LPs and later combined into one CD.
The Irish folk singer Christy Moore was also strongly influenced by Woody Guthrie in his seminal 1972 album Prosperous, giving renditions of "The Ludlow Massacre" and Bob Dylan's "Song to Woody". Dylan also penned the poem Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie as a tribute. Andy Irvine—Moore's bandmate in Irish folk group Planxty and lifelong admirer of Guthrie—wrote his tribute song "Never Tire of the Road" (released on the album Rain on the Roof), which includes the chorus from a song Guthrie recorded in March 1944: "You Fascists Are Bound to Lose". In 1986, Irvine also recorded both parts of Guthrie's "The Ballad of Tom Joad" together as a complete song—under the title of "Tom Joad"—on the first album released by his other band, Patrick Street. Bruce Springsteen also performed a cover of Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" on his live album Live 1975–1985. In the introduction to the song, Springsteen referred to it as "just about one of the most beautiful songs ever written."
In 1979 Sammy Walker's LP Songs From Woody's Pen was released by Folkways Records. Though the original recordings of these songs date back more than 30 years, Walker sings them in a traditional folk-revivalist manner reminiscent of Guthrie's social conscience and sense of humor. Speaking of Guthrie, Walker said: "I can't think of hardly anyone who has had as much influence on my own singing and songwriting as Woody."
In September 1996 Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University cohosted Hard Travelin': The Life and Legacy of Woody Guthrie, a 10-day conference of panel sessions, lectures, and concerts. The conference became the first in what would become the museum's annual American Music Masters Series conference. Highlights included Arlo Guthrie's keynote address, a Saturday night musical jamboree at Cleveland's Odeon Theater, and a Sunday night concert at Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra. Musicians performing over the course of the conference included Arlo Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg, Pete Seeger, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, the Indigo Girls, Ellis Paul, Jimmy LaFave, Ani DiFranco, and others. In 1999, Wesleyan University Press published a collection of essays from the conference and DiFranco's record label, Righteous Babe, released a compilation of the Severance Hall concert, 'Til We Outnumber 'Em, in 2000.
From 1999 to 2002 the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service presented the traveling exhibit, This Land Is Your Land: The Life and Legacy of Woody Guthrie. In collaboration with Nora Guthrie, the Smithsonian exhibition draws from rarely seen objects, illustrations, film footage, and recorded performances to reveal a complex man who was at once poet, musician, protester, idealist, itinerant hobo, and folk legend.
In 2003, Jimmy LaFave produced a Woody Guthrie tribute show called Ribbon of Highway, Endless Skyway. The ensemble show toured around the country and included a rotating cast of singer-songwriters individually performing Guthrie's songs. Interspersed between songs were Guthrie's philosophical writings read by a narrator. In addition to LaFave, members of the rotating cast included Ellis Paul, Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Joel Rafael, husband-wife duo Sarah Lee Guthrie (Woody Guthrie's granddaughter) and Johnny Irion, Michael Fracasso, and The Burns Sisters. Oklahoma songwriter Bob Childers, sometimes called "the Dylan of the Dust", served as narrator. When word spread about the tour, performers began contacting LaFave, whose only prerequisite was to have an inspirational connection to Guthrie. Each artist chose the Guthrie songs that he or she would perform as part of the tribute. LaFave said, "It works because all the performers are Guthrie enthusiasts in some form". The inaugural performance of the Ribbon of Highway tour took place on February 5, 2003 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The abbreviated show was a featured segment of Nashville Sings Woody, yet another tribute concert to commemorate the music of Woody Guthrie held during the Folk Alliance Conference. The cast of Nashville Sings Woody, a benefit for the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives, also included Arlo Guthrie, Marty Stuart, Nanci Griffith, Guy Clark, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Janis Ian, and others.
Woody and Marjorie Guthrie were honored at a musical celebration featuring Billy Bragg and the band Brad on October 17, 2007 at Webster Hall in New York City. Steve Earle also performed. The event was hosted by actor/activist Tim Robbins to benefit the Huntington's Disease Society of America to commemorate the organization's 40th Anniversary.
In "I'm Not There", a 2007 biographical movie about Bob Dylan, one of the characters introduced in the film as segments of Dylan's life is a young African-American boy who calls himself "Woody Guthrie". The purpose of this particular character was a reference to Dylan's youthful obsession with Guthrie. The fictional Woody also reflects the fictitious autobiographies that Dylan constructed during his early career as he established his own artistic identity. In the film there is even a scene where the fictional Woody visits the real Woody Guthrie as he lies ill and dying in a hospital in New York (a reference to the times when a nineteen-year-old Dylan would regularly visit his idol, after learning of his whereabouts, while he was hospitalized in New York in the 1960s). Later, a sketch on "Saturday Night Live" would spoof these visits, alleging that Dylan stole the line, "They'll stone you for playing your guitar!" from Guthrie.
Pete Seeger had the Sloop Woody Guthrie built for an organization he founded, the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. It was launched in 1978. Now operated by the Beacon Sloop Club, it serves to educate people about sailing and the history and environs of the Hudson River.
In 1988 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2000 he was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 1987, "Roll on Columbia" was chosen as the official Washington State Folk Song, and in 2001 Guthrie's "Oklahoma Hills" was chosen to be the official state folk song of Oklahoma.
Guthrie was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 1997.
On June 26, 1998, as part of its Legends of American Music series, the United States Postal Service issued 45 million 32-cent stamps honoring folk musicians Huddie Ledbetter, Guthrie, Sonny Terry and Josh White. The four musicians were represented on sheets of 20 stamps.
In July 2001, CB's Gallery in New York City began hosting an annual Woody Guthrie Birthday Bash concert featuring multiple performers. This event moved to the Bowery Poetry Club in 2007 after CB's Gallery and CBGB, its parent club, closed. The final concert in the series took place on July 14, 2012, Guthrie's 100th birthday.
In 2006, The Klezmatics set Jewish lyrics written by Guthrie to music. The resulting album, Wonder Wheel, won the Grammy award for best contemporary world music album. Also in 2006, Guthrie was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
On February 10, 2008, The Live Wire: Woody Guthrie in Performance 1949, a rare live recording released in cooperation with the Woody Guthrie Foundation, was the recipient of a Grammy Award in the category Best Historical Album. Less than two years later, Guthrie was again nominated for a Grammy in the same category with the 2009 release of My Dusty Road on Rounder Records.
In the centennial year of Guthrie's birth another album of newly composed songs on his lyrics has been released: New Multitudes. On March 10, 2012, there was a tribute concert at the Brady Theater in Tulsa, Oklahoma. John Mellencamp, Arlo Guthrie, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, the Del McCoury Band and the Flaming Lips performed.
The Grammy Museum held a tribute week in April 2012 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame a tribute in June. A four-disc box Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions by Billy Bragg and Wilco, with 17 unreleased songs and a documentary, was planned for April release.
On July 10, 2012, Smithsonian Folkways released the Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection, a 150-page large-format book with three CDs containing 57 tracks. The set also contains 21 previously unreleased performances and six never before released original songs, including Woody's first known—and recently discovered—recordings from 1937. The box set received two nominations for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, including Best Historical Album and Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package. It also won an Independent Music Award for Best Compilation Album in 2013..
Tie-Dye for the Win!
Following the fashion direction of rock stars such as Janis Joplin and John Sebastian in the late ’60s, tie-dye clothing became more than just a fashion trend; it was a lifestyle choice. It’s no surprise then that this psychedelic clothing was prevalent at Woodstock.
This colorful fashion choice was all the craze at the music festival with lots of stands selling different kinds of designs and items. If you weren’t sporting your rainbow swirled patterned shirt, then you weren’t part of the crowd!
Wrapped Up in Love
Woodstock gave the people something to believe in and hold onto during a very tumultuous political era, which is why this photo became one of the most famous from the festival. Now both 69 years old, Bobbi Kelly and her then-boyfriend Nick Ercoline became the poster children of Woodstock wrapped in an embrace with the sun rising in the background.
The image represented the love, peace, and individuality everyone felt at the three-day festival; a love so strong that this couple went on to marry and have two children. Burk Uzzle of Magnum Agency snapped the photo without the couple noticing. Uzzle recalled how Gracie Slick of Jefferson Airplane was performing at the break of dawn when this couple “magically stood up and hugged.” After they kissed and hugged, Kelly smiled and leaned her head on his shoulder.
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Woodstock Arts and Music Festival 1969
Into the Marijuana Future: A Day On a Mendocino Pot Farm
by JONAH RASKIN
SEPTEMBER 24, 2019
“You have to catch the plant at the right moment. With the size of our gardens and the number of plants, we have to harvest a certain number everyday or we’ll fall behind and be overwhelmed.”
– Mendocino County marijuana grower
“I’ve been lucky,” the tall, thin, energetic pot farmer tells me on a hot day in September. “I grew my first crop at 17 and now 30 years later I’m still growing it. At 22, the DEA raided my garden in San Francisco. I was part of the underground movement that provided cannabis to HIV and cancer patients.” He pauses for a moment and adds, whimsically, “I call myself a THC-hemp farmer.”
We were standing in one of his marijuana gardens and we were admiring the plants, some of them ready to be harvested and others not yet mature. “You have to catch the plant at the right moment,” he explains. “With the size of our gardens and the number of plants, we have to harvest a certain number everyday or we’ll fall behind and be overwhelmed.” I didn’t count the number of plants, but there were a lot of them; far more than I wanted to count.
That morning, I had driven, with a grower, from downtown Santa Rosa to the northeast corner of Mendocino County to visit the “lucky” forty-seven-year-old farmer I call “M.” There’s no point in outing him or drawing a map of his sun-bathed property with directions on how to get there on 101. He doesn’t need the exposure, especially not at this time of year with the crop aching to be harvested.
This was not my first visit to Mendocino or to M’s neck of the woods, not by a long shot. For several years, I lived outside Willits on a mountain where everyone (75 people by my reckoning) grew cannabis, whether they were battle-scared Vietnam Vets, pious churchgoers, color purple lesbians, African-Americans from East Oakland, Yuppies from San Francisco or real back-to-the-land hippies. I also spent time in Mendocino as a marijuana journalist for High Times magazine, the Anderson Valley Advertiser and as the author of a Hunter S. Thompson-style-gonzo book I wrote called Marijuanaland: Dispatches from an American War. Marijuana is sort of legal in California now, but the war isn’t over.
In 2010, I spent part of a summer with two pot farmers—a husband and wife—in the same northeast corner of Mendocino County where M is growing weed. The husband and wife team were busted that fall, their crop confiscated. The guy called me from the jail in Ukiah to say hello and goodbye. That was the last time I heard from him or his wife.
What my experiences in Mendocino have taught me is that no two growers are identical, and that for every trend or pattern in the pot world, there is usually a counter trend or pattern. Everything goes along slowly and rarely changes and then suddenly everything changes all at once. My experiences made me peeved recently when I read an article in The New Yorker about Humboldt and about “the last remnants of the counterculture,” as the author called it.
Emily Witt, who is based in Brooklyn, thousands of miles from Humboldt, explains in her article that everyone in Humboldt calls cannabis “the plant,” and that the cannabis crop is “the original sin of Humboldt’s Eden.” She also says that the hippie community went through a “Green Rush” and came out “corporate.” I could write a whole book in response to Witt’s assertions, but back to the grower I call “M” and his grower buddy “S,” who drove me to that remote corner of Mendocino.
The really big thing that had happened with, and to, M, and that still had him thinking, was an official visit from a state inspector of cannabis operations. That news told me, right from the start, that M was aiming to follow rules and regulations and adhere to the law. “He was here to inspect not to enforce,” M explains to S, who was unsure of the role of the inspector. “He told me the inspection he was doing would probably be the easiest I would have.” M adds that the state inspector “hassled” him because he wasn’t doing “Metric,” the State of California’s “Track-and-Trace System.”
Under that program, each and every plant is assigned a number that follows it from the ground, where it grows, to a warehouse, a distributor, a manufacturing center and a dispensary. It’s no wonder that industry analysts point out that cannabis is the most highly regulated crop ever in the history of California. Someone must think it’s dangerous and that it has to be tracked and traced like a common criminal. Perhaps it does. Some growers are not as scrupulous as M, and aren’t as conscious as he is about human health and the health of the land.
“We’re supposed to weigh every plant when it’s wet and then when it’s dry and then weight the trim and the waste and log all the numbers into a computer,” M says. “Not surprisingly, the state doesn’t have the resources to administer and enforce the track-and-trace system, and a lot of growers don’t have computers and aren’t on line.” He adds, a tad mournfully: “Entering data into a computer is one of the last things I want to do in my life.”
S, the grower from Sonoma County, listens to M describe his mundane chores, throws up his hands in frustration and says, “You’ll have to track every time you take a shit.” M and S are friends and pals, united by a love of the marijuana plant, a strong dislike of circling helicopters, but they are taking very different roads to get to the marketplace.
While M is opting to be in the system, S is opting to stay outside it. He has lived as an outlaw since he was a teenager and he will probably die an outlaw. The two parallel tracks that M and S are following are emblematic of the larger paths in the whole cannabis industry: go legit; or stay on the black-market. Of course, there’s also the option of doing some of both and hedging bets.
M has followed the law and has been “compliant” from day one, which means he has not diverted water from a stream, but rather has relied on groundwater from his wells and hasn’t used chemical herbicides and pesticides. He also has setbacks: space between the edge of his property and the start of the garden. “I’ve been creating my own infrastructure for decades,” M says. “I have great drying facilities.”
He adds, “A lot of growers drop the ball at the end of the season, which is understandable because it’s such a long road to get the crop in and then to dry, cure and store it. Those are some of my biggest concerns right now, especially drying.”
M has one foot in the past and another in the future. In addition to the computerization of his operation, he has created an area on the farm for research and development. He has also developed his own marijuana stains—about two dozen, including one called “Dennis Peron,” and another from seeds brought back from Vietnam—which are tested for THC and CBD.
“In Mendocino back in the day, the goal was to have 25 humongous plants that yielded ten pounds,” M says. “The trend now is to have smaller plants, but more of them, packed closely together and with less space between them.”
I call that trend “the industrialization of cannabis cultivation.” If it’s not already here, it’s coming soon to a pot farm near you or very far away.
“I have the biggest garden in this area,” M says. In fact, he has plants that are about 14-feet tall and about 14-feet in diameter and plants that are about half that size, but packed closely together and touching one another. He keeps each plant separate, so he can track-and-trace. M says that the state inspector walked around his garden with a tape recorder, measured nearly everything worth measuring and urged him “to consolidate.” In other words: industrialize.
M faces several challenges. One comes from the distributors who want uniformity of product and lots of it, and who often won’t pay him until after they have sold the cannabis, not when they receive the crop. “Growers are the credit cards for the distributors,” M says. A distributor recently “stiffed” him. His lawyer is on the case, hoping to collect the money that M is owed. The lawyer is also urging M to have signed contracts with distributors. No more deals sealed with a handshake.
Another challenge is from the big industrial operations—“the factories in the field”—that are mass-producing product and who often don’t give a shit about the craft. M wants to emphasize quality, to have limited releases and process small batches at a time.
Meanwhile, the black market is going like gangbusters.
“Thousand of pounds not in the track-and-trace system are transported out of state and go all around the country,” M says. “That’s the national market, which is a whole other world from the California market. “ His pal S operates on the national black market level and does quite nicely.
Times have changed and are still changing, but some things have remained the same. Back in the day, as best I can remember, there were hip capitalists, along with idealistic hippies. In the 1970s, I interviewed the head of a cannabis corporation who had investors and employees, paid wages and grew a large commercial crop in Mendocino. If cannabis capitalism is alive and well, so is the counterculture with its music, alternative lifestyles and sense of community.
Marijuana never was the devil weed, unless you believed the drug warriors. Pot never destroyed Eden in Mendocino, Humboldt and all across the Emerald Triangle. Ranchers overgrazed, loggers cut down the forests and vigilantes hunted and exterminated most or at least many of the Indians.
I didn’t get stoned with M and S. We didn’t smoke any weed, but we walked around the garden smelling the flowers of the ripest cannabis plants. I suppose we got high in a way, out there under the sun in what had been a productive orchard and where the land was still producing a “cash crop.” That’s what Ray Raphael called it in his groundbreaking book, Cash Crop, published in 1985 and that explored the economics of marijuana in northern California. Thirty-four years later, it’s a bigger cash crop than ever before.
S and I said goodbye to M. I walked to the gate and opened it. S drove to the edge of the road and stopped. I closed the gate and climbed aboard S’s car. M waved goodbye, turned and walked toward his garden.
S and I made our way back to the civilization of malls, freeways, housing tracts and dispensaries where pot lovers and medical marijuana patients buy weed from the remotest corners of Mendocino County and from big, corporate-owned greenhouses in places like Salinas. John Steinbeck would get it, and so would Carey McWilliams, the author of Factories in the Field, which is as timely now as when it was first published eighty years ago.
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More articles by:JONAH RASKIN
Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.
Arlo Guthrie performing in Madison, Wisconsin on May 9th, 2013.
Arlo Guthrie, the son of Woody Guthrie performs in 1969
Arlo Guthrie Reminisces About Woodstock
The folk musician talks about his new album – a lost recording of a solo concert held days before the legendary music festival
Arlo Guthrie is marking the 40th anniversary of Woodstock by releasing a lost tape from a show just prior to the iconic festival. (Henry Diltz / Corbis)
Listen to Coming Into Los Angeles by Arlo Guthrie.
"You can call me Arlo," said the good-natured voice at the other end of the line. Arlo Guthrie, most famous for his extended-version 1967 song "Alice's Restaurant," has carried on the legacy of his prolific folk/protest-singer father Woody Guthrie well. Arlo played at Woodstock 40 years ago, and to mark that anniversary, he's releasing a lost tape of an August 1, 1969, Long Island, New York, show recorded just prior to that iconic festival. And the family tradition continues, as he'll be heading out this fall on the Guthrie Family Rides Again tour with his children and grandchildren in tow.
So it's 40 years after Woodstock – is everything just a pleasant haze, or can you remember the type of stories you'd tell up on stage in the middle of a song?
Yeah, I remember a lot of it. It's fun pretending I don't, because then I get to make stuff up (laughing). But you know, I actually have a good memory. A few weeks ago sitting down with Michael Lang (the co-creator of Woodstock), just by coincidence we were talking about the old days. It's fun when you get together with other people who were there, because you get a bigger picture than just your own memory.
We actually played a number of the anniversaries over the years at the original site. I wasn't part of the Woodstock II event. But me, Richie Havens, Melanie (Anne Safka-Schekeryk) and some other people over the years have gone back to the original site on occasional anniversaries. There'd be some plywood on the ground, and somebody would bring some speakers or something, and we'd do a free event for a few thousand people that would show up. So I've had a long relationship with the original event that continues as time goes by.
Did you get a chance to intermingle with any of the crowd during your short time there?
Oh, sure. I got there the first day and I was under the impression that I was gonna play the second day. . . We got there, they ferried us in by helicopter. So I was just goofing off the first day, not thinking I had to do a performance. I was out behind stage walking around for hours, and I went out into the crowd just to be a part of it. Just to get a sense and a feel on a rainy, muddy level, you know what I mean? It was a visceral recording, as it were. I wanted to remember it.
One of the things that was interesting to me was that everybody at the time knew that we were in a history-making mode. It was plainly evident from the size of the crowd and the overwhelming factors like weather, roads and food that we were in the middle of a disaster. And we knew that it was historic in proportion. Nothing like this had ever happened before, planned or by surprise. When you realize that most historic events are written in hindsight – you don't realize you're in a historic event at the time – so it was special to be in a historic event and know that it was just that.
I hear you're releasing a new album of a live 1969 Long Island show that took place just prior to Woodstock – a cosmic coincidence, perhaps?
It's one of those synergistic moments in time when we were cleaning out our archives and we had all of those magnetic tape sources. Some are two-inch, some are one-inch, some quarter-inch, reel-to-reel -- everything. At this point, the tape is beginning to deteriorate, so we thought we should transfer it to a media that doesn't dissolve. And we happened to find this hour-long concert just by accident. It wasn't even in a box marked correctly. It was marked something else. And when my kids heard it when it came back on the disc, they said, "Hey Pop, we gotta put this out!" I was hesitant - it's not the best thing we've ever done – but it was kinda funny to hear it, and so we're releasing it.
Your family has lots of shows in the archives – what about this particular show captured your attention?
There were songs on it that I had forgotten completely about. There's some stuff on there that since that time has morphed into their own tales. And at that time, though, they were still in their infancy.
So it's the early incarnations of some of your songs?
Exactly. For example there's this story of Moses that came out of that. There's another version of "Alice's Restaurant" that came out of that. There were other things that were still in the infant stage at the time that this was recorded. It's just a little piece of family history that frankly I don't know if anybody would be interested in, but for us, it was funny.
I heard you had to call an old girlfriend about the image you wanted to use on the cover. That's pretty impressive!
Because her handwriting was on the slide, I knew who had taken it. She had taken it with my camera. It wasn't that we needed the permission. Just to identify when and where. . .
So I called up my old girlfriend, and she remembers the day she took the photo. So I said, "Well, you don't happen to remember a gig that I was doing somewhere back in those days?" I said I was playing with Bob Arkin. Bob Arkin is the brother of Alan Arkin, and he was my bass player. There were very, very few shows that we did, just the two of us. And she said, "Oh yeah, I remember that." And I said, "You're kidding!" She said, "No." And I described a little bit of the concert. And she said, "Oh, that was the day you were playing in Long Island, and the Grateful Dead were backstage in the dressing room." My god, not only was she good with the pictures, but she remembered the gig!
You seem so comfortable on stage while you're unspooling stories and anecdotes in the middle of songs – are a lot of these planned or just off the top of your head?
Well that's sort of like asking a magician if you've done this trick before (chuckling). I can't really talk about it without having to kill you. At some point everything is off the cuff. But if it really works, or it's really funny and it's something worth keeping, you try to remember that stuff. And if it's awful, you try to forget it as soon as possible.
I think that's what makes a good political speech, for example. With some of the old guys, for example, you're wrapped in the palm of their hand, and they know how to talk to you because they've been doing it for so long. So if you do anything long enough you can't help but get better and better at it. And I've just been around long enough. And even if you don't intend to, you can't really avoid getting better at it.
Arlo Guthrie: Tales From '69 will be released on August 18, 2009, on Rising Son Records
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Blood Sweat and Tears were one of the famous 1960's bands that performed at Woodstock
Nearly half a million people attended Woodstock, so it’s no surprise that there were major traffic jams and a lack of space within the confines of Max Yasgur’s dairy farm, where the festival was held.
Many people, like this woman, slept on their motorbikes or vehicles because it was too hot to sleep inside them. The lucky ones built tents and temporary shelters with sleeping bags, but when space ran out, the rest had to retire to their vans and cars if they could reach them. Some even had to stay in their vehicles when the traffic blocked the way.
The Star and the Groupie
Pictured here is Jefferson Airplane’s lead signer Grace Slick hanging out backstage with Sally Mann, wife of the band’s drummer, Spencer Dryden. Just like the audience enjoyed the music, so too did the other performers.
When talking to the Rolling Stone magazine about her experiences at Woodstock, Slick said she remembers taking a helicopter to get to the music festival because the roads were so jammed. Until Jefferson Airplane performed on the second day, she recalled sitting around smoking and drinking wine with Mann and the other band members.
The Future of the Marijuana Industry in America
BY DEBORAH DSOUZA
Jun 25, 2019
It's the world's most commonly cultivated, trafficked and used illicit drug, and as the push for legalization at home and abroad grows, marijuana is garnering significant attention from investors, manufacturers and researchers.
Despite the plant being illegal under federal law as a Schedule I drug, the U.S. legal marijuana industry was estimated at $10.4 billion in 2018 with 250,000 jobs devoted to the handling of plants, according to New Frontier Data. Ten states have now legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 33 states in total have legalized it for medical use.
A Pew Research survey says that 62% of Americans believe the use of marijuana should be legalized. This is double what it was in 2000 (31%), and fives time what it was in 1969 (12%). A New York University study revealed the percentage of adults aged 50-64 reporting marijuana use has doubled in the past decade to 9% and use among adults 65 and older has increased seven times during the same period to nearly 3%. The U.S. marijuana industry will generate $17.5 billion in tax revenue by 2030, according to Cowen analyst Vivien Azer.
The stigma is being shed at a breathtaking speed, and it appears marijuana is on its way to the mainstream.
Marijuana has been used a medicine in different cultures for thousands of years. The federal law banning it in the U.S., the Marihuana Tax Act, was passed in 1937. There is now growing acceptance of the plant as a legitimate option for patients suffering from medical problems like chronic pain or seizures in modern-day America.
This is mostly thanks to Cannabidiol or CBD – a natural compound found in cannabis plants that is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn't make the consumer high. It is sold as an ingredient in oils, oral sprays, creams, pills or edibles like gummies. Purveyors claim CBD can provide relief from pain, combat anxiety and depression and even fight cancer.
It's true CBD is having its moment; "CBD gummies" was the third-most searched food-related term on Google in the U.S. last year. Large companies like Corona owner Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ.B) and Marlboro cigarette maker Altria Group Inc. (MO) have bought multibillion-dollar stakes in marijuana companies. But forecasts for the CBD market argue this isn't just a temporary wellness craze. New Frontier Data estimates the market for CBD derived from hemp will grow from a $390 million-dollar market in 2018, to a $1.3 billion market (or 3.3x) by 2022. Brightfield Group says the hemp CBD market can reach as much as $22 billion by 2022. Defending its lofty prediction, Brightfield's managing director Bethany Gomez said, "We are a team of highly conservative analysts and we did not take this lightly - I honestly believe that these are conservative numbers. We have no rose-colored glasses in terms of the bizarre and challenging regulatory framework that surround this industry, it will always be two steps forward, one step back.
There are sure to be some problematic regulations and bumps along the way. But there is too much momentum, too much demand and too much potential for this industry not to explode."
The FDA and CBD: Softening Stance?
Under the current U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) rules, all drugs containing CBD, a Schedule I substance, require the agency's approval. In June 2018, the agency also approved a CBD (marijuana-derived) drug for the first time. GW Pharmaceuticals' (GWPH) Epidiolex was placed in the least restrictive Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which means it has a low potential for abuse.
Under federal rules, it is also illegal to market food products or dietary supplements that contain CBD, but the FDA indicated that may change in the future. In a December 2018 press release, it said, "Although such products are generally prohibited to be introduced in interstate commerce, the FDA has authority to issue a regulation allowing the use of a pharmaceutical ingredient in a food or dietary supplement," it said. "We are taking new steps to evaluate whether we should pursue such a process." The statement was published after the Farm Bill legalizing the regulated production of hemp, another source of CBD, was passed.
This is great news for many companies betting on the compound and dealing with its murky legal status. But can investors expect all CBD to be placed in Schedule V or unscheduled altogether soon? Not quite. It's not easy for CBD to be unscheduled altogether because of international treaties the U.S. has signed. And while Epidiolex qualifies for Schedule V, only other FDA-approved marijuana-derived drugs with low levels of THC can expect to join it there.
Since the explosion of marijuana products is almost certain, experts are now pondering what the industry might look like. Will large corporations come to dominate it and flood the market with a cheap and generic product? Ryan Stoa, a professor of law at Concordia University and the author of Craft Weed: Family Farming and the Future of the Marijuana Industry, told The Verge this will be difficult because of the variety of strains available and the consumer base's interest in locally made or locally produced artisanal products. "On the regulator size, states have a role to play," he said. "You already see states like California putting a cap or limit on the size of marijuana farms, essentially saying, 'If we’re going to legalize this industry, we want to spread the benefits to as many people as possible.' Other states are capable of replicating that model."
Technology is also shaping the industry. Weed delivery company Eaze has raised $37 million and is reportedly valued at $300 million. It recently announced it is creating a platform to ship CBD products to 41 states. On-demand marijuana and cannabis delivery service Dutchie last year raised $3 million from the venture capital firms of rapper Snoop Dogg and basketball player Kevin Durant among others. Expect to hear words like "machine learning," "automation," and "blockchain" used in relation to marijuana more often as well. MTrac promises to solve the industry's banking problems. CannaCloud is the Keurig for weed. Bloom Automation is building robots to trim and process cannabis.
With Jeff Sessions gone and the Democrats in control of the House, significant marijuana reform seems possible this year. Politico pointed out that 296 members of Congress (68%) represent the 33 states with at least medical marijuana, which means there are sufficient votes to pass long-awaited bills. There are already several bills in the new Congress pertaining to marijuana.
Marijuana companies raised $13.8 billion in funding in 2018, according to cannabis industry research firm Viridian Capital Advisors. This was four times the amount raised in 2017. We can expect this trend to continue, but important to the U.S. industry is also banking reform. Big banks are currently afraid of money laundering charges they may face if they work with these businesses. Besides the difficulty getting capital, this means tremendous risks and inconvenience for companies operating in cash. The American Bankers' Association has been pushing for more legal clarity and bridging of the gap between federal and state law, and we could see banks warm up to cannabis if bills like the SAFE Banking Act are passed.
More states may legalize marijuana this year, too, including New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Connecticut.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr, has said he will not go after marijuana companies operating in states where the plant is legal. He also said that the current discrepancy between state and federal law is "untenable" and needs to be fixed. He supports a federal law that prohibits marijuana everywhere.
Several 2020 presidential election candidates including Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have expressed their support for legalizing cannabis.
Woody Guthrie has continued to remain popular decades after his death; this mural was painted in his hometown of Okemah in 1994
The Queen of Boho
Concertgoers at Woodstock felt comfortable experimenting with all kinds of hippie and bohemian fashion as well as colors and textures, like this stylish woman. This photo showcases the beauty of accessorizing in all its glory from head to toe. With her floppy hat, headpiece, bold makeup with sequins, and thick beaded jewelry, this woman represents freedom of expression and individuality. Much like music was a big thing at Woodstock, so too was fashion and art.
Tim Hardin performed his hit “If I Were a Carpenter” solo on the first day of Woodstock, along with other songs performed with his band. For his incredible performance, Hardin was paid $2,000, which wasn’t as much as some of the other artists performing at the music festival.
This epic photograph catches him in action, but not on stage. He took some quiet time to jot down notes and possibly compose some music and lyrics. He definitely looks deep in thought, that’s for sure!
Woodrow (Woody) Guthrie Guthrie with guitar labeled-"This machine kills fascists" in 1943.
Arts & Crafts
The Woodstock Music & Art Fair festival wasn’t called that for no reason. The festival was a place for young souls to express their creativity and self-expression through music and art, like this bohemian woman adorned with a leather crop top, headband, and arm bracelet. She parked herself down on the grass to weave her leather-tasseled tapestry. Perhaps she handed it out to other fellow festival-goers or even sold a few. Whichever way, her style was certainly in tune with the spirit of Woodstock.
Follow the Groovy Brick Road
There were many paths to follow at Woodstock, but you were sure in for one hell of a psychedelic ride no matter which one you chose. We love these whimsical signs hanging on the trees and wish we could have one like them in our own homes! It’s safe to assume that at the groovy way, one would have encountered people sporting afros and bell-bottomed jeans, a fad that continued into the impending disco era, while the gentle path was for those yoga-loving spiritual gurus. Namaste!
The Who’s Who
Woodstock gained a lot of momentum even before it happened, so it’s no surprise that some famous faces rocked along to the music with the rest of the crowd, such as German actress and model Veruschka von Lehndorff.
Veruschka was extremely popular in the ’60s. She rose to fame at the age of 20 while studying art in Florence, where was discovered by photographer Ugo Mulas. Here we see the model dancing to the beat and having a good time at Woodstock.
Arlo Guthrie in 1969 when he performed at Woodstock. Also Guthrie followed his father Woody Guthrie's footsteps is writing and performing story telling songs
Woody Guthrie's Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, childhood home as it appeared in 1979
Tim Hardin performed his hit “If I Were a Carpenter” solo on the first day of Woodstock,
Woodrow Wilson Guthrie
Hanging with The Pearl
Otherwise known as The Pearl, Janis Joplin will forever be remembered as one of the best female rockers of all time. Joplin performed on the second day of Woodstock rocking a colorful and psychedelic dress. She didn’t know about the festival until a few days before, but luckily for the crowd, she found out just in time and was one of the biggest names to perform.
Joplin wasn’t aware of how big the festival would be and told her band it’d be just another gig. However, when she and her band, along with a pregnant Joan Baez, were flown into Woodstock by helicopter, she saw the sheer size of the crowds and became giddy with nerves. She remained at the festival until the end.
When Life Gives You Instruments, Make Music!
There was truly a feeling of unity and love for the festival-goers who came to enjoy the rock and roll music and festivities for three days straight, so much so, that when there were breaks between performances they made their own music.
Pictured here is a woman playing the flute to the beating of a drum. You can see the fiery passion in the drummer’s eye, a passion that everyone around him shared. Peace, love, and partying could be found at every angle you looked at during Woodstock.
Arlo Guthrie Looks Back on 50 Years of ‘Alice’s Restaurant’
Guthrie tells the real story behind his hilarious Thanksgiving Day classic
On Thanksgiving 1965, Arlo Guthrie visited friend Alice Brock and her husband at their home, a church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and did them a favor by taking out their garbage. The dump was closed that day, so Guthrie and a friend dropped the garbage off a cliff where other locals had previously dropped trash. Guthrie was arrested the following day, and the mark on his record miraculously kept him out of Vietnam by making him ineligible for the draft.
Guthrie recalled the incident in hilarious detail in 1967’s “Alice’s Restaurant,” which became his most beloved song and the subject of a 1969 movie. (The Old Trinity Church, where Alice lived, is now the Guthrie Center). It’s also become a Thanksgiving tradition, played nationwide on public radio every year. “To have what happened to me actually happen and not be a work of fiction still remains amazing,” Guthrie says. “It’s an amazing set of crazy circumstances that reminds me of an old Charlie Chaplin movie. It’s slapstick.” Guthrie, who very rarely plays the song live, kicks off an 18-month tour celebrating the event that inspired the song on January 21st in Daytona Beach, Florida. Here, Guthrie reflects on his unlikely classic.
Did you ever think “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” would be your most beloved song?
Well, you have to remember that back in ’65, all the way into the early Seventies, nobody in their right mind would have written an 18-minute monologue. I mean if it was 2:31, stations wouldn’t play it. So I never expected it to even be on a record, let alone get airplay, let alone have it made into a movie. I mean, that was all like a whirlwind of events that were way beyond my control.
The song was kind of a novelty song when you started it, right?
I did take the war in Vietnam seriously, and I was in college. I began college in Billings, Montana, in September of 1965. I was gonna study forestry. And I came home for Thanksgiving vacation and stayed with my friends in this old church they had purchased. So when I first started writing about it, it was just repeating or telling my audience what had happened to me. Because I thought it was funny.
To have what happened to me actually happen and not be a work of fiction still remains amazing. It’s an amazing set of crazy circumstances that reminds me of an old Charlie Chaplin movie. It’s slapstick. I mean, who gets arrested for littering? And who goes to court and finds themselves before a blind judge with pictures as evidence? I mean, that’s crazy! And then to be rejected from the military because I had a littering record? I mean, those events were real and not only that, those people played themselves in the movie! The cop in the movie is the real Officer Obie and the judge in the movie, the blind judge is the real Judge Hannon. And these are real people! And they consented to play themselves because they think they, like me, observed the absurdity of the circumstance.
What made you think an 18-minute song was even possible?
One was a guy named Lord Buckley, whose stories I loved. And interestingly enough, one of the first people that I heard tell stories of that length was Bill Cosby. I remember seeing him at the Gaslight and hearing him tell these old tales. I remember wanting him to tell the same story every night I went. I learned what it was like from an audience point of view to want to hear the same stuff, even if I didn’t want to repeat myself.
I love the fingerpicking progression and melody – did anyone in particular inspire that?
Well, there were a few heroes of mine that played that style in folk music circles, [called] Piedmont. I first heard that from a guy named Mississippi John Hurt who was playing at the Gaslight on MacDougal Street in New York and I loved it. Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Elizabeth Cotton, Doc Watson, there were a few people from different walks of music life who played that style and it’s really an African style. In its infancy, that’s an African style approach to a six-string guitar and I have always loved it. I think what works is that it’s familiar to somebody who’s never heard it before. To me, that’s not something you can learn. One of the masters of that was my old buddy Pete Seeger. And whatever you thought of him politically or musically or any other way, one of his geniuses was making songs from other places sound familiar to us in our own style.
I saw you live once, and you didn’t play “Alice’s Restaurant.”
I remember playing it in the Sixties into the early Seventies. And I actually remember the day I realized I was never gonna sing it before a virgin audience again, that everybody I was about to play it for had already heard it and were coming back to hear it for the second time. It’s one of the pivotal moments in my life. And I thought, should I keep doing it or not? I didn’t want the nostalgia perversion to replace the joy I had delivering that for the first time. I did it for another few years. But then the war ended. And times began to change, so I just quit. And there were a lot of people who were very upset. They said, “Look, I paid to hear that,” and I’d give them their money back and say, “Don’t come back,” but there’s only so much that you can do. I would call it a Ricky Nelson syndrome, what do you do with people who are coming to hear you for what you were and are no longer? It’s a difficult choice that every artist I think has to deal with. So I decided I would do it on the occasional 10-year anniversaries. So I did a 30th anniversary tour and then I’d quit doing it. And then I did a 40th anniversary tour and then I quit doing it. I didn’t actually think I would live long enough to have to do the 50th anniversary tour.
Does the song come back to you easily?
No. I have to learn the whole thing again It’s not like it just stays in there. It’s not like riding a bike. I’m gonna have to spend most of December trying to get that back, because it’s not just the words. I can remember the story, but the timing of the music and the delivery of the words is important. I’ll get in front of an audience and the first few nights will be a little off but it’s a year and a half long tour so for the bulk of the tour, it will be great.
What will the tour be like? I heard there will be some video screens and multimedia elements.
I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve preferred to keep not just my life, but my shows, fairly simple. I’m a simple guy. I’m not very complicated. But my son Abe, who’s been working with me for decades now, is a real good media guy. And so he’ll help me and we’re gonna try to make it so that it’s fun and a little bit nostalgic. We’ll get some all photos and try to make sense of the last 50 years. I’ve never done it before I’ve never had a designated light crew. This ain’t rock & roll. This is still a guy with a guitar. It’ll be confusing to me ’cause I’m fairly old school, but you gotta change a little bit with the times. I don’t know, we’ll see what happens.
Have you written anything new sections of the song for the 50th anniversary?
I have not even thought about it yet. I mean I’m starting to create like what I think will be a set list because the lighting guys need to come up with a plan.
The song is a big part of Thanksgiving for my family. You must hear stories like that all the time.
Yeah, of course. I don’t know where that comes from. That was certainly not by my design. I think it’s just one of those funny, crazy coincidences that you have an event that takes place on Thanksgiving; therefore it becomes associated with the holiday. If I go back and look at the hits to the website for example, they will spike one day a year. I always thought, “Hey if they’re gonna play one song of yours on the radio one day a year, it might as well be the longest one you wrote!”
In an NPR story from 10 years ago you said it wasn’t an anti-war song, but it was a song about stupidity.
Well, I never thought of it as being particularly anti-war, because there may be times when the war is appropriate. I can’t think of many times, but there are times. And so I’m not an idealist in that sense. There are times when you have to do stuff even if it cuts against the grain of who you are. So I never thought of “Alice’s Restaurant” as being an anti-war song, but you can’t run a war being that stupid. You won’t succeed in the war and you won’t succeed in other things either. And I think that’s some of the lessons we still have yet to learn, you know? [Laughs].
When you last toured “Alice’s Restaurant” in 2005, the song had a particular resonance due to the Iraq War. Are there reasons people need to hear the song today?
I don’t know if they do or not, I can tell you that that wouldn’t be a decision I would make, but the shows are doing very well.
So you wouldn’t play it if you didn’t have to?
I made a commitment decades ago that I would do it on these anniversaries, so whether there’s 50,000 people that show up or 50 people show up, I’m gonna do it anyhow because I said I would.
Do you listen when it’s on the radio on Thanksgiving?
No. And no one in my family does either. There are better things to do for us and I’ve got grandkids now. My granddaughter Serena just did her first solo show a couple of nights ago, and then she joined us on stage and blew the house down. And she’s 17, plays guitar and sings. I love that all my kids play and sing. I don’t care if they do it professionally or not. My father told me once when I was very young, “Music will be your best friend. Learn to play the guitar music will be your best friend.” And he was absolutely right. It had nothing to do if it was professional or back porch picking. It had nothing to do with the genre of music. It had to do with speaking a language that anyone could understand around the world. And I believe that, and so I’m happy to see my kids and grandkids participate in that.
The Woodstock Music & Art Fair attracted a fair share of spiritual and free-spirited people who believed that love was the only religion man needed to achieve world peace — with the help of some tarot cards and psychic readings that is. Here we see a woman dressed in a paisley bohemian dress reading another girl’s palm with a set of tarot cards laid out on a tree trunk. She must have received some interesting news judging by that smile on her face.
Jon Fogerty and his band Creedence Clearwater Revival were one of the famous 1960's bands that performed at Woodstock
Jimmy Hendrix performing at Woodstock in 1969
Food For Love
It was common for the crowds at Woodstock to share their food, water, and clothing with their neighbors and fellow festival-goers, as sharing was one of the main philosophies the festival stood for. This incredibly rare photo captures just that with this young woman preparing food for the rest of the Woodstock community.
Unfortunately, there was a huge shortage of food because the number of people that showed up at Woodstock far exceeded the number anyone could have anticipated. Many people didn’t want to lose their spot on the field or have to trudge through the crowds to find food, so they set up free stands and banded together to feed everyone.
. Flower Child
It’s no secret that Woodstock was no place for discrimination against gender or race, but did you know that all ages were welcome too? This captivating photograph of this happy dancing young girl pays tribute to how much fun Woodstock was for all the people present at the iconic musical festival. Imagine the memories she must carry from that weekend!
Not only were tons of children parts of the partying masses; some were even born at this historical event. Two births were recorded at Woodstock ― one in a car stuck in the traffic jam on the way to the festival and another in hospital after the mother was airlifted by helicopter.
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