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Where Are They Now?

The performers at Woodstock 1969

By

Quill

Boston-based Quill were not known outside the Northeast in 1969, and their performance at Woodstock did nothing to change that. They were a crowd favorite, but a technical glitch rendered film of their set unusable in the Woodstock movie that made household names of others. As a result, their label (Atlantic) lost interest, and they disbanded shortly thereafter. Only drummer Roger North stayed in the music business, performing with Holy Modal Rounders until the mid '80s before going on to design drums.

Santana

Sony
Perhaps no other band was launched further faster than Santana after their Woodstock performance. The band has continued, with a wide array of personnel, under the direction of founder and lead guitarist Carlos Santana (with the exception of a brief period in the early '70s when the band played on without him.) Keyboardist/vocalist Gregg Rolie went on to become one of the orginal members of Journey in 1973. He continues to perform with his Gregg Rolie Band. Drummer Michael Shrieve, the youngest Woodstock performer at age 20, went on to work with a number of other rock acts. Today he performs in his own band, a jazz fusion group. David Brown (bass) died in 2000 of liver and kidney failure.

John Sebastian

Collector's Choice
Sebastian had left The Lovin' Spoonful in 1968. He was in the audience enjoying "Country Joe" McDonald's set when a concert staff member recognized him and asked him to play an impromptu set because so many of the scheduled performers were still stuck in traffic jams far from the venue. In 1970 he released the first of a half dozen solo albums. Since the late '70s he has concentrated on writing and performing music for film and television, and instructional videos for guitar students.

Sha Na Na

SBME Special Markets

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.

Ravi Shankar

SBME Special Markets
The most famous sitar player in the world was invited to Woodstock on the basis of his collaboration with The Beatles (especially George Harrison) and his appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. His music wasn't intentionally psychedelic, but that's how it sounded to audience members high on various illicit substances (of which, ironically, Shankar heartily disapproved.) He had released 16 albums prior to his Woodstock performance, and managed 20 more between then and 2007. He is the father of popular multi-genre singer, Norah Jones.

Sly and the Family Stone

Sony

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.

Bert Sommer

Rev-Ola Records
Except for a brief stint with The Left Banke, Sommer's musical career was as a solo artist. Best known for his single "We're All Playing In The Same Band," he released four albums between 1969 and 1977. He appeared in the original Broadway production of Hair. Sommer died in 1990 at the age of 41 of respiratory disease.

Sweetwater

Collectors Choice
Sweetwater were riding high (no pun intended) going into Woodstock. They had toured with The Doors and opened for Eric Burdon and The Animals. They were early adopters of the psychedelic style eventually popularized by Jefferson Airplane. Just a few months after Woodstock, a car crash left lead singer Nancy Nevins with severe brain and vocal cord injuries that stopped the band in its tracks. Drummer Alan Malarowitz was killed in an auto accident in the early '80s. Albert Moore (flute/vocals) died of pneumonia in 1994.

The Who

© PhotoFlashbacks - The Doug Hartley Collection

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.

Johnny Winter

Sony

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. He continued to captivate live audiences, albeit at a slower pace due to health problems in recent years, until his death in 2014 at age 70, while he was on tour in Europe.

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