Although The Band,Joe Cocker and Crosby. Stills, Nash and Young are legendary names today, when they played Woodstock, 50 years ago this weekend in Bethel, New York, they were considered the new kids on the block.
The Band, who performed on Sunday, August 17th, had only done a handful of shows in which they performed their own music. Before that they were known as The Hawks, and up until changing their name, their last performances had been as Bob Dylan's backing band.
Robbie Robertson on The Band'sWoodstock set list:
And Robertson notes that the festival wasn't about the music, but rather the estimated 500,000 people who gathered on Max Yasgur's farm.
Robbie Robertson on the influence of Woodstock:
David Crosby was known for his work with The Byrds,Stephen Stills and Neil Young with Buffalo Springfield, and Graham Nash with The Hollies, but together, as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, no one knew what to expect.Woodstock was only their second show, with the first taking place the night before on August 16th in Chicago.
Graham Nash, David Crosby and Stephen Stills on playing Woodstock:
Neil Young joined CSN at the end of their acoustic set and then stayed on for the electric set. But his fondest memory took place away from the site.
Neil Young on his fondest Woodstock memory:
And less than a year after the festival, CSNY had a hit with their version of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock."
Joe Cocker was the second act to perform on Sunday and many say he stole the show, especially with his rousing version of The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends."
Joe Cocker on Woodstock:
The other relatively unknown act who went onto legendary status was Santana, who played on Saturday as a favor to promoter Bill Graham, who was a consultant to the festival's producers.