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Where Are They Now?

The performers at Woodstock 1969

By

Arlo Guthrie

Rising Son Records

In addition to continuing to write and perform songs about social injustice, Guthrie has appeared in films and on television, produced concerts, and written a children's book. His 28th album, Tales of '69 was released in 2009. He continues to tour, often with his son, Abe.

Keef Hartley

Castle U.S.
Between 1969 and 1975 Hartley released nine albums before dropping off the radar until his autobiography was released in 2007. He left the music industry and opened a cabinet-making business. He had replaced Ringo Starr as drummer for Rory Storm and The Hurricanes when Ringo signed on with The Beatles.  Hartley died in 2011 at the age of 67.

Tim Hardin

Polydor Records
In the four years following Woodstock, Hardin released four albums, none of which did particularly well. In spite of being booked at Woodstock, he was better known as a songwriter (Rod Stewart's "Reason To Believe" and the often covered "If I Were A Carpenter") than as a performer. During the '70s he split his time between the U.S. and the U.K. and became increasingly hooked on hard drugs. In 1980, he died of an overdose of heroin and morphine at the age of 39.

Richie Havens

Rebound Records

Woodstock transformed Havens from a Greenwich Village favorite to an international star. Since then, he hasn't stopped working, releasing 23 albums, most recently Nobody Left To Crown in 2008. He continued to tour, and in August 2009 performed at the site of the original Woodstock stage for the festival's 40th anniversary. Havens died at age 71 in 2013.

Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix was the closing act at Woodstock. His scheduled Sunday night performance didn't happen until mid-morning Monday, long after all but a few thousand of the original crowd of half a million had gone home. He died just over a year later, reportedly choking to death after consuming an excess of wine and sleeping pills. His Woodstock bandmates included bassist Billy Cox, who went on to do solo and session work; Juma Sultan (congas) recorded with a number of jazz artists; and Jerry Velez (percussion) who has collaborated with a variety of artists, and worked as an event producer and music director. Larry Lee (vocals/guitar) died in 2007; Mitch Mitchell (drums) died in 2008.

Incredible String Band

Hux Records
Originally a trio, this psychedelic folk band from Scotland had expanded to four members by the time they played Woodstock. After the band's breakup in 1974, co-founders Robin Williamson and Clive Palmer concentrated on solo careers. In addition to a prolific 47 album catalog (including two released in 2008) Williamson has also published a novel, several books of poetry and several on Celtic history. Palmer has been in and out of music, including a second stint with Incredible String Band when it was revived from 1999-2006. Rose Simpson and Licorice McKechnie both left the music business after the band's first demise.

Jefferson Airplane

Marty Balin (vocals) has remained active in the music business, releasing eight solo albums and performing with the band's successor, Jefferson Starship. Grace Slick (vocals) retired from music in 1988 after a stint with Starship and took up painting and drawing. Paul Kantner (guitar, vocals) has stayed close to home, and still performs with Starship. Jorma Kaukonen (guitar, vocals) and Jack Casady (bass) formed Hot Tuna after their Airplane ride, and both continue to tour with Tuna. Nicky Hopkins (piano) worked as a solo and session performer until he died in 1994 at age 50 of complications from intestinal surgery. Drummer Spencer Dryden was in and out of music, and died of colon cancer in 2005 at the age of 66.

Janis Joplin

© PhotoFlashbacks - The Doug Hartley Collection
Like Jimi Hendrix, Joplin lived for just a little over a year after Woodstock. During that time, she was on and off drugs and alcohol. In October 1970 she died of a heroin overdose while in the midst of recording what would become her best selling album, Pearl.

Melanie (Safka)

Rhino Records

Melanie had recorded just one album prior to Woodstock. Another 33 followed, the most recent, Ever Since You Never Heard of Me, in 2010. She still performs a few concerts a year and continues writing music, including the theme song of the Beauty and the Beast TV series.

Mountain

SBME Special Markets
Leslie West, Felix Pappalardi, N.D. Smart and Steve Knight had performed in public just three times before they took the stage at Woodstock. Over the years, West (guitar, vocals) has formed and re-formed Mountain several times, and also performs as a solo artist. Pappalardi (bass, vocals) moved from performing to producing albums during the '70s. In 1983, he was shot and killed by his wife, Gail, a co-writer of several Mountain songs. Smart, who was replaced on drums by Corky Laing shortly after Woodstock, went on to work with Todd Rundgren and Ian & Sylvia. Knight left music to work as an engineer, author and, from 1999 to 2007, a member of the Town Board of the town of Woodstock.
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