Woodstock (song)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"Woodstock" is a song about the Woodstock Music and Art Festival of 1969.

Joni Mitchell wrote the song from what she had heard from then-boyfriend, Graham Nash, about the festival. She had not been there herself, since she was told it would be more advantageous to appear on The Dick Cavett Show by a manager. She wrote this song crying at home watching the show on television. It was later released on her third album, Ladies of the Canyon in 1970, on her Shadows and Light album, and again in 1996 on her Hits album.

Mitchell's original version featured a stark and haunting arrangement - solo vocal, multi-tracked backing vocals and tremoloed Wurlitzer electric piano all performed by Mitchell herself. All subsequent recordings featured a fuller backing band sound.

Prior to release on any album, Mitchell performed "Woodstock" at the 1969 Big Sur Folk Festival, one month after Woodstock. The solo performance can be seen in the festival concert film Celebration at Big Sur (released in 1971). Ironically, Mitchell later developed a well-known distaste for festival gigs.

The song later went on to be hits for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Matthews' Southern Comfort, the latter reaching #1 on the UK singles chart for three weeks in October 1970, and the former reaching #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. David Crosby in an interview in the documentary Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind said that Mitchell had captured the feeling and importance of the Woodstock festival better than anyone who had been there.

Led Zeppelin incorporated Woodstock's lyrics and structure into live renditions of their song "Dazed and Confused" between 1973 and 1975. This can be seen and heard on the live album The Song Remains The Same as well as the film of the same name, which features a collection of performances (both live and staged) from 1973. The section is used as a preface to the Violin Bow solo. It can be heard on the currently unreleased "Dazed and Confused" section of the video from one of the 1975 Earl's Court concerts. The piano intro also bears strong resemblance to "No Quarter" and Bad Company's self titled hit; "Bad Company".

In popular culture

In her 2005 book Break, Blow, Burn, critic Camille Paglia wrote a chapter about the song, honoring it as "possibly the most popular and influential poem composed in English since Sylvia Plath's 'Daddy'."




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Woodstock (song)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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