Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hippies mired in sea of mud

That's the memorable August 17, 1969 headline in the New York Daily News. Referring to Woodstock, of course. You can practically see the the headline writer snickering while he wrote that one. The paper also captioned an accompanying photo with "They Don't Melt"—"they" being those muddy hippies of the headline who battled the elements and—surprise!—didn't melt like chocolate during those late summer days in Bethel, NY. Hard not to laugh at that headline today, but 40 years on it sure works as an eye-catching blog post, no?

As you know, we're counting down to the summer release of Woodstock: The Oral History, 40th Anniversary Edition. From time to time we'll be filling this space with an assortment of Woodstock-related stuff leading up to the book's release. We'll post some videos of classic performances, talk with the man who put together the oral history, and share with you anything else we stumble across, including news on rumored anniversary concert(s) for this summer. All we've heard is that they're considering Brooklyn's Prospect Park for an anniversary blowout. What are you hearing?

For now we'll kick things off with probably the greatest band to play Woodstock (okay, we might be biased): The Who. Looking back, The Who were an odd choice for three days of peace and music. The music part, sure, but the peace part...well, they used to destroy their instruments on stage with a ferocity rarely seen from bands at that time. They're often called one of the (many) forefathers of punk and you can easily imagine Pete Townshend or Keith Moon beating up Crosby, Stills, and Nash, can't you? They could probably take Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young also. Anyway, they were a band on the rise and their Woodstock performance helped catapult them (and their recent concept album, Tommy) into the upper echelon of bands of the era. So crank the volume—or if you're at work maybe plug in your headphones so you won't disturb your cube mates—and enjoy these two clips.