S1: Welcome to hipper podcast the pop chart history from Slate magazine about the hits from coast to coast. I’m Chris Milanovic chart analyst pop critic and writer of Slate’s why is the song number one series. On today’s show it’s August 20 19.
S2: And if you’ve been following music news for the last few weeks you probably know it’s the fiftieth anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair which took place not in Woodstock New York but in nearby Bethel in August 1969. You may be also heard this year that attempts to mount a Woodstock 50 commemorative concert ultimately failed. Here it hit parade.
S3: We’ve been thinking about the legacy of Woodstock too but of course we have a particular quirky pop charity prism through which we view music history.
S4: Don’t ask.
S5: Woodstock was a cultural watershed to be sure a miraculous be in that should never have come off but somehow not only happened peacefully. We must have and. Then. But also produced a festival concert for the ages. This is basically indisputable. But Woodstock which by the way took more than a decade to turn a profit for its organizers was also a major event in the music business.
S6: Most obviously the live concert business Woodstock though hardly the first of its kind codified the idea of the music festival and quite literally set the stage for multi act concerts in decades to come from the US Festival to live aid to Lollapalooza to Coachella but what interests us on Hit Parade is the knock on effect of this live event on the recorded music business.
S2: And yes the pop charts as many performers on that stage in 1969 have attested in the years since the quality of the music varied widely. But. Recorded music was a more unqualified success whether it was live recordings from the concert itself that became. More than. Or studio recordings by artists who gained exposure from appearing on the Woodstock stage. A year or more after the concert artists who performed at Woodstock found themselves dominating the charts reaching heights they had never seen before the so-called Aquarian Exposition touched down in Bethel. Conversely acts already dominant on the charts going into August 1969 found themselves less popular in the months that followed. If their Woodstock set hadn’t moved. Today on Hit Parade we will quite literally chart the changing fortunes of the performers of the original Woodstock a countdown of the 10 acts who got the biggest boost from the festival from the iconic. To the near forgot.
S7: And that’s where your hit parade marches today. The week ending August 16 1969 when the Woodstock Music and Art Fair brought some three dozen live acts and hundreds of thousands of people to the fields of Max Yao’s Gers farm.
S2: Coincidentally the number one album in America that week according to Billboard magazine was by an act that played a set on the stage in Bethel New York. That week. The band blood sweat and tears. Spread.
S8: However as BSD only hit song said What goes up must come down in the weeks and months that followed the fortunes of this band and many other artists who performed at Woodstock would vary widely. Let’s break it all down.
S5: If we’re going to chart the impact of Woodstock on the recording industry. A few caveats provisos and explanations are in order. Remember that the billboard charts and the entire recording industry worked differently. A half century ago things moved more slowly in this analog era of music.
S2: Billboard didn’t even report on Woodstock as a live musical event until the magazine dated August 30th 1969. About a fortnight after the concert and in an era when concert goers had to drive to a record store to acquire the music they heard at Woodstock. Any impact the festival would have had on the Hot 100 or the top LPC chart likely wouldn’t have been felt until around September at the earliest. Oh. Yeah. That’s if the concert had any immediate chart impact at all. Honestly when you talk about Woodstock chart impact you have to examine the year after the concert. That’s because in the absence of social media and video sharing it would take until well into 1970 for most Americans to experience Woodstock.
S10: The film Woodstock director Michael Wobblies three hour documentary of the festival famed for its trippy and then innovative use of split screen reached theaters in March of 1970 more than seven months after the concert. By the way this film is the way the concerts most acclaimed single performance. Jimi Hendrix’s searing take on our national anthem became famous. Hendrix didn’t play his set until after sunrise on Monday morning August 18th 1969. Most concert goers have left the area by late and Hendrix played to a crowd estimated at one tenth the size of the peak of the festival.
S2: Not only was the movie a box office smash the sixth highest grossing film in America in 1970 and the eventual Oscar winner for best documentary feature it was followed just a few weeks later by a smash album that served as both a movie soundtrack and a keepsake of the festival itself.
S3: This album topped the Billboard album chart for a month during the summer of 1970 remarkable given that it was a three LP set which made it weighty and expensive. It was billed as Woodstock music from the original soundtrack and more and there was definitely more including performances that were neither in the movie nor on the actual Woodstock stage. This Arlo Guthrie performance for example featured on the Woodstock album was actually taken from a completely unrelated Guthrie gig at the Troubadour in Los Angeles because Guthrie’s actual Woodstock performance was marred by a microphone outage.
S2: Still however spurious the contents. The Woodstock soundtrack album made the summer of 1970 as dominated by the music and the legend of Woodstock. As the summer of 69 was the festival cast a long shadow. Especially. On the charts. All of this backstory is an essential preamble to the list I’m about to count down. Most of these artists were featured on the album and in the film burnishing their reputations as performers and expanding their pop profile.
S11: Conversely several artists particularly a few superstars who hated their own performances were either admitted or asked to be left out of the movie or the soundtrack which explains why some legendary performers will not be on our list.
S12: No it’s just music. Music’s music supposed to be different than.
S13: Janis Joplin for example the blues rock icon was so unhappy with her wee hours performance on the festival’s second night in which she was under the influence of several immigrants that she demanded to be left out of both the movie and soundtrack footage of Joplin.
S3: Like this fiery take on try just a little bit harder would not be added to the film until a 1994 Director’s Cut.
S2: Like Joplin several other superstars received no material career boost from Woodstock and all were absent from both the film and the soundtrack. These included the Grateful Dead whose performance was also generally agreed to be subpar by both the band. And. For the band whose set got a subdued reaction from a crowd secretly hoping Bob Dylan would join them. Or the aforementioned blood sweat and tears who were among the highest paid acts on the bill. Given their current chart topping status in the summer of 69 but whose manager refused to let them be filmed unless they were paid in advance for. Even Creedence Clearwater Revival a band to which we devoted an entire hit parade episode earlier this year and reportedly the top selling American Act of 1969 were admitted from the film and the album by their headstrong leader John Fogerty. Despite general agreement that they actually played well.
S11: So once we eliminate these megastars as well as some acts that would never be big sellers like Quill the Incredible String Band Keef Hartley and Bert Sommer were left with a list of 10 acts who could arguably be said to have gotten a chart boost from Woodstock. I’ll start the list with a performer who was already possessed of a string of Top 10 hits with an old group but was rather untested as a solo artist.
S14: Like several acts on our list for him Woodstock served as a reintroduction and he wasn’t even supposed to be on the stage in the first place. While still a generation think that folks a square.
S13: Number 10 John Sebastian no mom St. John Sebastian can thank the terrible weather at Woodstock for how he got a performing slot.
S11: Sebastian had come to the show as a mere spectator but he was no ordinary concert goer Sebastian was the former lead singer of Future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. The Loving Spoonful. By 1968 Sebastian had left the Loving Spoonful but not yet launched a formal solo career. When he got to Woodstock Sebastian was famous enough to hang out backstage but not established enough to be on the bill so he made himself useful all weekend welcoming other artists watching their equipment. But the organizers asked him for an even bigger favor as is infamous in Woodstock law. Bethel was beset that weekend by a series of rainstorms that turned the fields into mud and drenched the concert goers. The rains also made the Woodstock stage loaded with instruments amplifiers and cables everywhere. Extremely dangerous so dangerous that in the middle of the day on Saturday August 16th the concert organizers made a split second decision unsure when the rain would stop. They needed a performer who could play acoustically with a minimum of electrical equipment beyond a simple microphone to keep the crowd occupied while they swept off the gallons of water collecting on stage. So they spotted John Sebastian backstage and asked all but begged him to play. So Sebastian borrowed a guitar from prior stage performer Tim Hardin and strolled out onstage. I don’t know if you can really tell how amazing you look.
S15: But you’re truly amazing you’re a whole city.
S11: The set could have been a disaster. Sebastian was extremely high so high that the organizers more than once thought maybe they should usher him off stage. But then he began to play. My.
S2: Songs like darlin. Be home soon were well-known chestnuts from the love and spoonfuls old repertoire. But John Sebastian used the occasion to introduce three new songs he’d been working on.
S16: I had a dream last night.
S17: What a lovely dream.
S2: In essence this accidental Woodstock set wound up launching John Sebastian’s solo career. I had a dream. How have you been and rainbows all over your blues. Would all wind up on vinyl the very next year on 1970s self-titled album John B. Sebastian. Paid for your. Eponymous debut album wound up being Sebastian’s highest charting solo LP reaching number 20 in April of 1970 while the Woodstock Film was in movie theaters and though he never became as big a hitmaker as his former band Sebastian’s Woodstock set lay the groundwork for a long steady solo career.
S18: He even scored a fluke number one hit in 1976 with the theme song to the smash TV sitcom. Welcome back. Welcome back.
S2: Dreams. Speaking of acts whose career pinnacle took most of the 70 years to arrive and involved television the next Woodstock performer in our countdown not only leveraged the concert into a long career they kicked off a cultural trend that was bigger than they.
S19: Number nine. Shannon.
S20: If you’ve ever seen the Woodstock Film the moment when Shannon take the stage has got to be the most surreal which is saying something at a show like Woodstock. This gang of pretend hoodlums dressed as urban greasers are playing classic 50s style rock and roll. It’s especially odd when you see the Woodstock audience all tie dyed bell bottoms long haired late 60s hippies dancing to these doo wop style covers of 50s oldies.
S2: How exactly did Shannon wind up at Woodstock. Believe it or not the story involves Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix happened to catch Shannon the at several of their New York gigs in early 1969 when the gang of mostly Columbia University students were adapting their kitschy 50s style singing review into a touring club act the heavies from the big city let’s do it. Please Shannon are. Fronted by a literally big mouth Queens man named John Bauman who re styled himself into a skinny muscle t shirt wearing greaser named Bowser. The band had recorded an album on a tiny label according to a recent Billboard interview with band co-founder John Jacko Marceline. It was Hendrix who recommended Shannon not to Woodstock co producers Michael Lang and Artie cornfield as a palate cleansing change of pace. Amid all those psychedelic rock.
S21: Remember its 1969 and the oldest baby boomers who had been tweens and teens in the 50s.
S18: We’re now 20 somethings Shannon were satisfying their craving for the music of their pre adulthood.
S11: Typically such pop nostalgia tends to work on a 20 year cycle. Shannon NA were ahead of the 50s musical nostalgia curve before the 60s were even over. Shannon played next to last on the bill at Woodstock not even hitting the stage until about 730 on Monday morning right before Jimi Hendrix himself Ma Selena recalls. They were paid almost nothing but the Woodstock crowd loved them.
S22: Beep beep beep beep beep.
S23: The crowd by Monday was a fraction of its original size but even at that size it was the biggest audience Shannon had ever played to. And crucially they would later be included in Michael Wobblies 1970 Woodstock Film.
S11: They would continue issuing albums into the early 70s each one doing a little bit better than the last one until their 1973 live album. The Golden Age of Rock and Roll cracked the Top 40 and went gold.
S2: By then the real impact of Shannon would be visible in everything they were inspiring across popular culture. The band had opened the floodgates to 50s revival ism in the 70s you could see it at the movies and on Broadway. On television Sunday. And even on the charts as represented by some much bigger 70s pop stars. And.
S11: All of these hits were more lucrative than Sha Na Na. But don’t feel bad for them. It took most of the 70s for the band to fully cash in on the trend.
S24: They kicked off but when they did it was a bonanza.
S2: In 1977 Shannon became the titular stars of their own half hour syndicated TV variety show Shannon. The show was a smash running for four years and ensuring the members a lifelong career on the live circuit in the middle of the TV shows hit run.
S18: The group was even given a showcase scene in the biggest 70s vehicle for Fifties nostalgia. The 1978 movie Grease. The. Wide eyes next on the countdown will run through two hard rocking bands who have Woodstock to thank for putting them in the classic rock.
S25: Number eight. Ten years after.
S26: In a Woodstock weekend that was heavy with blues rock from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band to Johnny Winter. Few bands were as Blues heavy as ten years after but more than most electric blues acts in Bethel that weekend. The British group fronted by guitarist and singer Alvin Lee got a serious career bounce from Woodstock.
S2: Ten years after had been building a following in the U.K. but in America their growth was much slower. Their early 1969 studio album Stonehenge was a sizeable British hit breaking into the top 10 on the UK Album Chart in the U.S. on the Billboard album chart.
S20: Stonehenge only cracked the top half peaking at a modest number 61.
S11: Ten years after it was just falling off the American chart in the early summer of 1969 when the band was invited to play Woodstock. Alvin Lee took full advantage of the opportunity wowing the crowd with a set closing face melting more than 10 minute version of their acclaimed track.
S7: I’m going home.
S2: They had the good fortune to be issuing a brand new studio album that same month and given Alvin Lee’s pension for loud fierce rock the album sported a rather ironic title. The album was an instant smash breaking into the Billboard Top 20 by September 1969 and finally making ten years after a staple on American radio. By 1970 after the Woodstock movie showcased the band they got even bigger. Their 1970 album crinkle Wood Green made the top 15 in Billboard and its single Love Like A Man made the lower rungs of the Billboard Hot 100. By 1971. Ten years after even cracked the Top 40 Casey Kasem counted it down.
S27: Our survey starts with a debut tune. It’s the first time in the Top 40 for this popular form an English group. There Alvin Lee Rick Lee no relation. Leo Lyons and Chick church together there 10 years after their song and number 40 is I’ve loved to change.
S2: Ten years after we’re not hit makers for loans the band was essentially broken up by the mid 70s as Alvin Lee formed other bands and launched a de facto solo career. But they were one of the first bands to see their chart fortunes instantly improve in the wake of Woodstock and arguably they weren’t even the loudest blues rock band on the bill that weekend the. Number seven mountain.
S28: Much as ten years after was mostly a showcase for Alvin Lee the American proto heavy metal band. Mountain was essentially a vehicle for its guitarist Leslie West a literal mountain of a man who weighed in at roughly 250 pounds. But mountain were hardly West’s first group. At first they weren’t actually a group at all.
S2: Leslie West had played with mid 60s blues rockers The Vagrants a popular band from Long Island New York that never achieved national fame. Before the vagrants broke up West caught the attention of Felix popularity producer and songwriter for Eric Clapton’s chart topping power trio cream. With. Stage. Popularity agreed to not only produce but play bass on West’s 1969 solo album whose title was mountain on that album West honed his much harder sound which prefigured the development of what became early 70s metal. The.
S8: Mountain album again credited to Leslie West came out in July 1969 one month before Woodstock.
S11: Just as they were invited to play the festival West’s group decided to rename themselves mountain and Woodstock would be only their third ever gig as an official band.
S2: The concert introduced mountain to hard rock fans and in the wake of Creem led zeppelin and other power blues combos mountain caught a wave and exploded onto the charts. It also didn’t hurt that in early 1970 they were sitting on an enormous soon to be hit song. Mississippi Queen.
S13: Punctuated by a relentless cowbell remains a classic rock staple. It even reached number 21 on the hot 100 in the spring of 1970.
S11: Remarkable at a time when other hard rock acts like Black Sabbath were not scoring hit singles mountains albums did even better on the charts than fellow Woodstock performer. Ten years after both their 1970 album mountain climbing and 1971 Nantucket Sleigh Ride made the top 20 and quickly went gold.
S8: If mountain burned even brighter than 10 years after they burned out even faster.
S11: The band was broken up by 1972 as Leslie West formed a new group with cream bassist Jack Bruce. He would revive the mountain moniker several times in the decades to come with various combinations of instrumentalists but mountain will remain deathless on classic rock radio as long as bar bands karaoke singers and fans of more cowbell. Keep Mississippi Queen. Alive.
S18: Keep in mind mountain thrived despite not being included in the Woodstock Film or album.
S2: Neither did our next performer but she had a different way to parlay her Woodstock exposure into a career. She made the concert itself the subject of her breakthrough hit. Number six Melanie. Mr.. Tambourine. Singer songwriter Melanie soca who performed simply as Melanie came up in the folk clubs of the late 60s in New York and New Jersey. Her fortunes waxed and waned through 1968 and early 69 briefly signed to major label Columbia Records. Melanie was dropped when none of her material connected with U.S. audiences signed to a new label. Melanie’s career finally took off in Europe where her dark hippie anthem bobos party topped the charts in France. Melanie’s quavering braying voice became her trademark. Billboard called it wise beyond her years as she played clubs and TV shows across Europe. Melanie’s manager a friend of Woodstock co organizer Artie cornfield suggested that her acoustic Balaji might be a good fit for the festival they were planning. Perhaps because she wasn’t well-known in her home country. Even less well-known than other emerging acts on the stage like 10 years after Melanie was not included in the film or soundtrack of Woodstock this could have been the commercial death knell for the tender folk artist.
S11: But by 1970 Melanie didn’t need the film or its soundtrack. She had found an earnest but also clever commercial side door a way to capitalize on her Woodstock experience.
S29: The 1970s single laid down subtitled candles in the rain was not just inspired by Woodstock. It was literally about Woodstock. Melanie softcore was moved to write it when during her nighttime set at the festival just after one of the weekend’s many rainstorms she saw thousands of concert goers lighting matches and lighters which to her resembled Campbell’s a religious experience. Accordingly the song that would take Melanie into the Billboard Top 10 had a strong gospel flavor.
S30: The backing vocals were by the legendary gospel group the Edwin Hawkins Singers better known for their arrangement of the standard. Oh happy day.
S29: Laid down candles in the rain reached number six in July of 1970. Finally breaking Melanie in America. It also reached the top ten across Europe Canada and Australia.
S2: In essence spreading the gospel of Woodstock worldwide for roughly the next two years. Melanie scored a small flurry of hits as both a singer and a songwriter.
S31: The song we just heard on American Top 40 look what they’ve done to my song Ma was written by the girl who wrote and sings this next one.
S32: Peace will come according to plan. Here’s Melanie.
S2: Melanie’s chart career peaked a year later when she traded in her folky inspirational vibe for a song that was practically a novelty record. The childlike slightly naughty double entendre brand new key. It topped the hot 100 for three weeks in December 1971 and January 1972. It proved to be Melanie’s last top 10 hit. She scored her last hot 100 hit in 1973 but Melanie’s path was set. She continued to release albums and singles for decades to come and her connection to Woodstock has been a bulwark of her career. In fact Melanie is on tour right now commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Woodstock. And unlike the ill fated Woodstock 50 concert her 20 19 gigs are actually happening.
S11: Entering our Woodstock top five. We move from performers with smaller or shorter lived careers to a list of multi decade legends. Wouldn’t these artists have been just as big if Woodstock had never happened. Did they need Woodstock or did Woodstock need them. It’s definitely debatable. In fact let’s open the top five with a band that would debate you themselves about Woodstock s value. They hated the whole experience and are bad mouthing it. To this day.
S33: The number five. The who.
S34: One knock on Woodstock from many critics was that it failed to garner the biggest rock acts of the 60s the Beatles the Rolling Stones and even Bob Dylan all gave the festival a pass. But Woodstock did have the who’s arguably the biggest band on the bill. And by 1969 they were building a reputation as one of the best if not. Best.
S35: Live bands of their generation. It might surprise you to learn however.
S5: That the two were only a medium size U.S. chart act unlike their British Invasion peers the Beatles and The Stones. They never came close to having a number one single or album want to hear a head scratching piece of trivia the who’s only top 10 hit in America ever was their trippy anthem. I can see for miles a number nine hit in 1967. But by 1969 the who were experiencing a major chart breakthrough that year they helped to invent the idea of the rock opera with Tommy bandleader Pete Townsend album length story about a quote deaf dumb and blind kid who improbably was an expert pinball player.
S18: Tommy reached the Billboard album charts in the early summer of 1969. By mid-July just one month before Woodstock it reached number seven the highest.
S2: Any who album had gone to date although Tommy had slipped out of the top 10 by mid August. The who arrived at Woodstock as conquering heroes with a hit album and their plan was to play the Tommy album start to finish on the Woodstock stage.
S18: Barring a track or two they mostly pulled it off.
S5: But the Woodstock experience for the who was less than ideal. The band was supposed to be one of the Saturday night headliners but after all the weather issues and other random delays the who waited backstage for hours and didn’t take the stage until the very early morning of Sunday August 17th while they delivered an amazing performance. Singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townsend were tired and irritable when political activists and all around troublemaker Abbie Hoffman interrupted the WHO’s set and grabbed the microphone to protest the imprisonment of fellow activist John Sinclair. Townsend told Hoffman in no uncertain terms to vacate his stage. While John Rock. Flash forward 50 years. The whose opinion of Woodstock has not improved. In a recent series of interviews Roger Daltrey doubled down on his belief that it was the worst gig the who had ever played. Telling the New York Times quote Woodstock wasn’t peace and love so hang on. We’ve established that the who already had a hit album going into Woodstock. They didn’t need the gig persay and they had a terrible time. Why on earth would I claim the who got a boost from Woodstock because well no matter how Roger Daltrey feels they did. One year later when the Woodstock movie and its soundtrack album came out. The Who were hailed.
S34: As one of the event’s highlights and over the summer of 1970 that afterglow began to make the whoo even bigger on the charts. Tommy had been off the album chart for months but the acclaim for the who’s deeply felt Woodstock performance of the Tommy song See Me Feel Me led their label Decca Records to issue the studio version as a single for the first time.
S36: See ME Feel ME reached number twelve on the Hot 100 in the fall of 1970. Even more improbably Tommy Lee entered the album chart and by September of 1970 reached a new peak of number four. In short after Woodstock Tommy And The Who were bigger than ever.
S2: That same year the band issued its first ever live album the now classic Live at Leeds. And by the fall of 1970 both Tommy and Live at Leeds were riding the Billboard album charts top 10 simultaneously. Woodstock had made the who one of the biggest rock bands period. In American. Maybe they hated the gig but arguably the WHO’s majestic 1970s was kicked off in the early morning hours in Bethel New York in August 1969. However painful the experience they took a bound for the new revolution.
S18: So was any live performer at Woodstock more acclaimed. For many the best performance of the festival came from the band who performed just before the fool and they came to.
S37: Number four. SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE.
S13: Like the WHO Sly and The Family Stone were already having a great year even before they got to Woodstock. By the middle of 1969 Sylvester Sly Stuart and his multiracial multi gender band had one of the year’s top hits.
S18: Everyday people topped the Hot 100 for four weeks in February and March of 1969. It was only their second top 10 hit after their 1968 breakthrough single dance to the music but if any concert goers arrived at Woodstock thinking of Sly Stone and company as merely an act with a couple of fun hits they left the festival with much deeper respect for the Family Stone.
S38: Woodstock attendees largely agreed that SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE’S performance of I Want To Take You Higher. Played around 4:00 in the morning to a muddy mind altered crowd eager for a cathartic release was one of the festival’s all out highlights.
S5: Not unlike what it did for the WHO Woodstock both affirmed the Family Stone’s status as a top live act and it made them even bigger hit makers by coincidence waiting in the wings. In August 1969 was an idealist. Sly Stone single that was made for summer. And a perfect follow up to their triumphant performance Epic Records dropped the single literally days after Woodstock.
S8: Hot fun in the summertime reached number two on the Hot 100 in October Sly and The Family Stone went from a band that occasionally cracked the Top Ten to one that routinely commanded the charts. Thank you for letting me be myself again. It helped redefine the sound of funk for the 70s. It reached number one in February of 1970. Backed by the equally acclaimed beside side everybody is a star. Is. A couple of months after the double sided hit peaked on the charts. The Woodstock movie and soundtrack arrived giving a cultural boost to Sly’s I want to take you higher.
S13: In its original release in early 1969 Haier only got as high on the charts as number 60 and then only as a b side to the single stand.
S2: But in May 1970 capitalizing on Woodstock command of both the box office and the album chart Epic Records finally gave I want to take you higher a proper release. As an aside and it cracked the Top 40.
S39: When Sly and The Family Stone issued their now classic Greatest Hits album just before Christmas 1970 the album led off with I want to take you higher.
S13: A song that most Americans now associated with Woodstock the concert had made Sly Stone a king of the hit parade.
S40: The next performer on our list was not quite as big a hitmaker either before or after the concert but Woodstock observers agree possibly no performer was more defined in cultural law than this Brit with a very mild speaking voice and a totally wild singing voice. Number three Joe Cocker. If you are Generation X or a millennial you might only know Joe Cocker as the guy who sang the theme song for the late 80s TV show The Wonder Years. To baby boomers who remember the 60s. This song originally recorded by the Beatles for their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was utterly redefined by Joe Cocker a mild mannered white Englishman who when he stepped in front of a microphone. Turned into a raving flailing greedy mesmerizing and utterly soulful R and B singer.
S2: Corker’s cover of With a little help from my friends was a number one hit in his native England in late 1968 but attracting American audiences would be harder work.
S5: His Beatles cover only reached number 68 on the hot 100. However Cocker doubled down on America by spending much of early 1969 touring the U.S. by July 1969. The with a little help from my friends LP finally cracked the U.S. album charts Top 40 reaching a respectable number 35 Cocker now had just enough of a U.S. profile that it made sense for the Woodstock organizers to give him a slot on the bill and man did Cocker make the most of it. Some going on. I don’t know what it is is getting stronger.
S18: It was a star making performance only enhanced the following year in the Woodstock Film.
S5: This image of Joe Cocker the frenzied Soul Man was etched in stone at Woodstock and it finally made him an American Hitmaker in 1970. In the space of just seven months three Cocker l peas were all certified gold in the U.S. His second album Joe Cocker his live LP Mad Dogs and Englishmen which by the way reached number two on the album chart and belatedly the with a little help from my friends LP which finally went gold. Two years after its original release the self-titled Joe Cocker LP was led off by another Beatles.
S8: And in a sign of Corker’s before Woodstock and after Woodstock popularity this cover of the Abbey Road Track. She came in through the bathroom window reached the U.S. Top 40 just a couple of months later Cocker scored his first Top 10 hit when his live cover of The Box Tops the letter backed by his friend pianist Leon Russell reached number seven.
S13: Once Joe Cocker became a hit maker in 1970. He never really went away.
S8: Audiences grew to love his distinctive impassioned singing style giving him big hits like the number five hit you are so beautiful. In 1975. So beautiful.
S2: Or the number one smash up where we belong. In 1982 a duet with Jennifer Warnes from the Oscar winning film An Officer and a gentleman. When. We.
S18: Right up to his death in 2014 Cocker was modest about his famed Woodstock performance even claiming in some interviews that he did all right but was quote not the greatest but he knew it had changed his career.
S2: The year before his death Cocker told the Guardian quote We came off looking pretty good that day.
S13: A lot of other artists didn’t enjoy themselves at all. In our runner up spot a supergroup that basically used Woodstock to introduce its most iconic most successful chart topping list lineup even if one of the members was almost. Number.
S41: Two. Crosby Stills Nash. And young.
S18: Crosby Stills and Nash were formed in 1968 from the ashes of three prior hit making groups.
S2: David Crosby from The Byrds Stephen Stills from the Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash from the Hollies. All three men had scored top 10 hits with their prior bands so it stood to reason that Crosby Stills and Nash would be welcomed as demigods. The moment they teamed up again. And that’s more or less what happened. The trio’s self-titled debut album arrived in June of 1969 and soared into the top 10 within a month. In fact the very week of Woodstock C S N had reached number seven on the album chart and they were one of the few acts to perform at the concert with a current top 40 single their top 30 hit Merrick cash Express. But Crosby Stills and Nash arrived that weekend with a fourth member Stephen Stills his former band mate from the Buffalo Springfield Neil Young.
S8: Neil Young prized his independence. Since launching his solo career away from the Buffalo Springfield one year earlier he had carved out his own iconoclastic path as a singer songwriter.
S2: And when asked to join Crosby Stills and Nash as an instrumentalist and occasional singer he negotiated a contract that would allow him to record with the trio while maintaining a separate career with his own backing band Crazy Horse at Woodstock. Young refused to be filmed by Michael Wadley crew believing the film to be a distraction and an over commercialization of the concert. Young didn’t even join the group for most of the first half of its set.
S42: In essence the first half dozen songs were an all acoustic Crosby Stills and Nash calls for me 20 years ago coming to this song.
S2: Young also left the stage announcements to his three friends who revealed live in front of the Woodstock audience that they had their share of jitters.
S43: Thank you. We needed that. This is our second gig. This is the second time we’ve ever played in front of people man. We’re scared shitless.
S44: Stills and his bandmates were anxious for good reason.
S5: This was in essence the public debut of Crosby Stills Nash and Young. The four member version of the group had only come together weeks earlier and they had only played their first gig two days earlier. It was only near the end of the acoustic set that Neil Young finally joined them. He stayed on stage with them through an even longer electric set that peaked with wooden ships a song from C.S. end’s debut album that young electrified. Onstage.
S2: Just as a commercial prospect this debut of Crosby Stills Nash and Young at Woodstock has to be regarded as one of the most potent launches of a chart topping act in rock history. Just eight months after the festival deja vu the debut album by this version of the group became one of if not the most anticipated albums of 1970. Teach. Get. Did slow go by. The C.S. and Y’s debut opened on the album chart all the way up at number nine highly unusual for the early 70s record industry when albums rarely debuted in the top ten and it hit number one a little over a month later. In addition to three songs written or co-written by their newest member Neil Young deja vu included a song written by the band’s friend Joni Mitchell. We have a strong.
S45: Joni Mitchell wrote Woodstock only imagining what the festival had been like. Her managers advised her not to go to upstate New York that weekend so she could make other appearances in New York City. Regretting her decision. She based the song around the stories that her boyfriend Graham Nash told her about the event. Mitchell’s version of the song appeared on her 1970 album ladies of the canyon but the version her boyfriend recorded with his group was even bigger. By. The. Time.
S2: We left. Crosby Stills Nash and Young’s Woodstock reached number eleven on the Hot 100 in May of 1970 all three of Crosby Stills Nash and Young’s early 70s LP was hit number one on the album chart. Deja vu. The live album four way street and the compilation album so far a mark that no trio album by C.S. n ever equals. Is a very.
S18: The launch of this quartet. The gig that quote scared them shitless wound up generating more chart topping albums than any other band that made its debut at Woodstock.
S5: Well actually all but one. There was one other band that showed up in Bethel that weekend in August 1969 having never issued an album not even to date a single and they would go on to unimaginable musical and pop chart success and they were really also.
S46: Number one. Santana.
S47: Carlos Santana leader of and guitarist for the band that bore his name was all of 22 years old when he took to the stage at Woodstock the Mexican-American musical prodigy son of a violin playing mariachi father from off land then Nevada had been gigging around San Francisco for several years before forming Santana in 1960. They were signed to Columbia Records in early 1969 at the behest of legendary manager and concert promoter Bill Graham. It was Grant who had been asked by the Woodstock organizers for help planning the fest who agreed to help only on the condition that the then unknown Santana be allowed to play. It was a bold request.
S2: Santana had finished recording their self-titled debut album but it wasn’t due for release until August 30th 1969 a fortnight after the festival.
S5: In essence unless you counted the solo John Sebastian or the rechristened band mountain Santana had the least recorded material. Basically none of any performer at Woodstock. Accordingly Santana were among the lowest paid acts on the bill earning just seven hundred fifty dollars for the gig. You might say the organizers got more than their money’s.
S2: When he stepped on stage the afternoon of Saturday August 16th 1969 several hours earlier on the schedule than he expected. Carlos Santana was contending with a powerful dose of mescaline that his friend Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead had given him just a couple of hours before quote I was really really on it.
S5: You know Carlos recounted in an interview last month with the New York Times. I asked myself over and over just help me stay in tune and on time unquote whatever Carlos was on it apparently only helped his fierce uncompromising performance.
S36: The Afro Caribbean polyrhythms of tracks like Django waiting and Soul Sacrifice or psychedelic intricate and enveloping simply put the audience at Woodstock was witnessing the formal debut of one of the greatest guitarists in rock history.
S5: The release of Santana’s self-titled debut album Two weeks later could not have been better timed. The Santana LP entered the Billboard album chart in mid-September and flew up the chart reaching the top 10 in under two months. Remarkably fast for a brand new group with no prior recorded history and why not. More than half the album had been played at Woodstock. The album peaked at number four on the top LPC chart by November 1969 and by the winter of 1970 Santana scored its first Top 10 single song by future journey vocalist Greg Rollie the number nine hit.
S2: Evil ways. What was remarkable about all this chart activity for Santana was it was still ahead of the release of the Woodstock Film and its soundtrack album which would spread the music of the festival to a nationwide audience. Their 13 minute performance of Soul Sacrifice took up most of one side of the three LP set. A dozen weeks after the Woodstock LP finished its run on top a BRAC sis took over becoming Santana’s first number one album and spawning the top five hit Black Magic Woman. Got a. Black magic. Got.
S25: The band returned to number one on the album chart. Three more times between the 70s and the 2000s and they scored more than a dozen other top 40 hits. Globally all incarnations of Carlos Santana self-titled band have sold more than 100 million albums.
S5: This is why Santana rightfully and indisputably holds the top spot on the list of performers who rose to the greatest fame as a result of Woodstock America’s most celebrated music festival.
S39: By the way the 1969 concert that launched this storied career wasn’t even Carlos Santana’s last Woodstock. Twenty five years later he was invited to Solidarity’s New York. To perform. At the Woodstock 94. He even revisited jingo one of the highlights of his 1969 set.
S13: Five years after this performance.
S2: In late July 1999 the Woodstock organizers mounted yet another festival in upstate New York. The now infamous mostly disastrous Woodstock 99. But Carlos Santana by then in his early 50s elected not to perform. Maybe he knew this festival held on a military base would not replicate the magic of the concert at Max’s Oscar’s farm that launched his career. Actually that wasn’t it.
S48: Carlos didn’t need Woodstock that summer. The same week Woodstock 99 kicked off. Santana was debuting on the hot 100. With a new song. That’s.
S35: A song that would go on to top the charts for a dozen weeks more than any single that years. This number one hit smooth featuring Matchbox 20 singer Rob Thomas woodwind Carlos Santana record song and album of the year at the 2000 Grammy Awards and ensure that Woodstock favorite son would be a hit maker well into the 21st century. I hope you enjoyed this episode of hit if you’d like to hear more.
S41: And you’ll be in New York City in mid-September. Please join me on Friday September 13 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of their net Fridays series and their acclaimed exhibition. Play it loud instruments of rock. I’ll be talking about this Woodstock episode of hip.
S48: They’ll even be showing a restored print of the Woodstock Film that day and it’s all free. With museum admission.
S35: My producer for this episode is Chao too and we have help from Danielle who is the managing producer of Slate podcasts is Jim Thomas and Gabriel Roth is the editorial director of Slate podcasts. Check out their roster of shows at Slate dot com slash podcasts. You can subscribe to hit parade wherever you get your podcasts. In addition to finding it in the Slate Culture Gabfest. If you’re subscribing on Apple podcasts please write and review us while you’re there.
S41: It helps other listeners find the show. Thanks for listening and I look forward to leading the hit parade back here. Until then peace and love and keep on marching on the one. On Christmas.