By Dave White
Their outfits, hairdos and music were strictly from the '50s, conspicuously out of place even in the eclectic mix of musical styles at Woodstock. In spite of lukewarm reception, they went onto appear in the movie Grease and had their own network TV show from 1977-1982. They released 21 albums (in addition to being on the Woodstock soundtrack.) The band is still active, with two original members, Donny York and Jocko Marcellino, featured.
The band had just broken through with its fourth album and its first hit single ("Everyday People") in the months prior to Woodstock, so they weren't as hungry for exposure as were many of the Woodstock acts. Nonetheless, they gave what is considered one of their best live performances. Things went down hill rapidly in the months following, as Sly Stone became more and more immersed in the drug scene. After the band finally dissolved in 1975, Sly made a few solo albums but his career never regained traction. Sly's brother Freddie wrote and produced music and today is a minister. Sister Rosie worked as a solo and session singer. Sister Vet is now fronting the Sly-sanctioned tribute band, Family Stone. In 2011, Stone released an album made up primarily of new versions of the group's standards, I'm Back - Friends & Family.
Two of the four original members of the band didn't live to see many Woodstock anniversaries. Drummer Keith Moon died in 1978 of a drug overdose at the age of 32. Bassist John Entwistle died of a cocaine-induced heart attack in 2002 at the age of 57. In the years since, Roger Daltrey (vocals) and Pete Townshend (guitar/vocals) have occasionally toured and recorded with various supporting personnel. Endless Wire, their first new studio album in 24 years, was released in 2006, and they have been toured off and on since then.
Many (if not most) in the Woodstock audience were hearing Johnny Winter for the first time, but the gritty blues rocker had them standing in the aisles (if there had been aisles) by the end of his set. In the late '70s and early '80s he produced Muddy Waters' last three albums, two of which won Grammy awards. His 18th studio album, Roots was released in 2011 and he continues to captivate live audiences, albeit at a slower pace due to health problems in recent years.