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Anorak | Woodstock’s 45th Anniversary: The Great Bands That Turned It Down

Woodstock’s 45th Anniversary: The Great Bands That Turned It Down

by | 18th, August 2014

Rock music fans relax during a break in the entertainment at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in Bethel, N.Y., on Aug. 16, 1969. (AP Photo)

 

FORTY-FIVE years ago, the Woodstock Festival kicked off. Not the first of it’s kind and certainly not the best but most iconic? Probably.

500,000 gathered on Max Yasgur’s farm in New York’s Sullivan County, and that weekend in August 1969, the the “3 Days of Peace & Music” was captured on film and a legend was born.

Days after the first man set foot on the moon and in the middle of the Vietnam war, optimism, hate and politics all melded together with pop culture.

On the bill that weekend, were Sly & The Family Stone, Joe Cocker, the Grateful Dead, Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Santana, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix and more.

However, the line-up at Woodstock could’ve been very, very different. There were a number of bands who were asked and turned it down. There were bands who never really considered it.

So let us look at some of the acts that could’ve been at Woodstock and you can weigh-up how brilliant or awful it would have been to have them alongside the other groups. We’ve chosen footage that is from around the time of Woodstock, so you can get a real feel for what the bands could’ve added (or subtracted) from those that appeared.

 

 

Led Zeppelin

Zep’s manager Peter Grant stated: “We were asked to do Woodstock and Atlantic were very keen, and so was our U.S. promoter, Frank Barsalona. I said no because at Woodstock we’d have just been another band on the bill.” Zep went and watched Elvis instead.

 

 

 

Bob Dylan

Dylan lived in Woodstock at the time, but didn’t enter serious negotiations to play as he was setting off to do the Isle of Wight festival instead, travelling on the QE2. Dylan was also apparently annoyed at the hippies hanging around his house. Thank god The Band were there.

 

 

 

The Beatles/John Lennon

There’s some rumours that the Woodstock organisers asked Lennon to play, but lost interest in the Beatle when he demanded that Yoko Ono get a slot too. However, what is far more likely is that Lennon fancied a slot, but Richard Nixon wouldn’t let him as he was madly paranoid about Lennon being in the States.

 

 

 

Arthur Lee and Love

Arthur Lee declined the invitation thanks to him and his band basically fighting with each other all the time. Love’s appearance would’ve made the band a household name and given their masterpiece ‘Forever Changes’ a chance to be a household name. Alas, they were consigned to record-collector obscurity.

 

 

 

Joni Mitchell

Joni was all set to play Woodstock and indeed, wrote a great song about the place. However, she cancelled her appearance on her manager’s advice who thought she’d be better off playing her scheduled appearance on The Dick Cavett Show.

 

 

 

The Jeff Beck Group

Jeff Beck said of Woodstock: “I deliberately broke the group up before Woodstock. I didn’t want it to be preserved.”

 

 

 

The Doors

The Doors cancelled their Woodstock gig at the last minute, because they thought the festival would be a “second class repeat of Monterey Pop Festival”. They spared a generation of Jim Morrison’s dreadful lizard routine.

 

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Posted: 18th, August 2014 | In: Music Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink