Forty five years have come and gone since 30 bands and artists were part of rock history as performers at the original Woodstock festival. For some, careers were launched. For others, it was just another gig (albeit with an audience of half a million.) Some are gone, some have faded into history, and some are alive, well, and still making music.
Prior to Woodstock, her music strongly reflected her opposition to the Viet Nam war and her passion for the protection of human rights. Since Woodstock, she has expanded her activism to include the environment, the death penalty, gay and lesbian rights, poverty, and the Iraq war. Her most recent album, Day After Tomorrow was released in 2008, and she continues to maintain a heavy tour schedule.
Guitarist Robbie Robertson rarely performs in public (the last time was at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival in 2007) but has done considerable work in films, as a producer, performer, or composer. Drummer Levon Helm won a Grammy for his 2007 album, Dirt Farmer and toured with his own band until his death from cancer in 2012. Keyboardist Garth Hudson performs with his band, The Best! and is a busy session player. Bassist/vocalist Rick Danko died in 1999 after years of painkillers and alcohol due to chronic pain from a 1968 car crash. Keyboardist Richard Manuel committed suicide in 1986 after a long struggle with substance abuse.
Blood Sweat & Tears
Lead singer Steve Katz is the only current member of the band who was in the lineup that performed at Woodstock. David Clayton-Thomas, lead singer in 1969, left the band in 1972, but returned for two more stints, the longest running from 1984-2004. He continues to tour as a solo act. Drummer Bobby Colomby currently owns a talent management company in Los Angeles. Bassist Jim Fielder has had a successful career as a session musician and is now a member of Neil Sedaka's backing band. Multi-instrumentalist Dick Halligan composes and performs jazz and chamber music. Saxophonist Fred Lipsius teaches at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Trumpeter Lew Soloff plays with the Manhattan Jazz Quintet.
It was just a few months after Woodstock that the Butterfield Blues Band disbanded. Founder Paul Butterfield did solo and session work until his death in 1987 at the age of 44 of a heart attack attributed to years of drug and alcohol abuse. Saxophonist David Sanborn has had a highly successful career as a performer and composer. He released a new studio album, Only Everything, in 2010 and mantains a busy tour schedule. Guitarist Buzz Feiten joined The Rascals, and is now a solo and session player.
Band co-founders Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson and Bob "The Bear" Hite died, in 1970 and 1981, respectively. Drummer "Fito" de la Parra still performs with the band regularly. Guitarist Harvey "The Snake" Mandel and bassist Larry "The Mole" Taylor left in 1970 to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Mandel, Taylor and de la Parra are in the current Canned Heat lineup.
Cocker has continued to tour and record virtually non-stop since Woodstock. His 21st studio album, Hard Knocks was released in 2010, and he is touring Europe in the summer of 2011.
Lead vocalist "Country Joe" McDonald embarked on a solo career after his group disbanded in 1971. He and other original Woodstock performers toured in the summer of 2009 as Heroes of Woodstock. Guitarist Barry "The Fish" Melton has been a practicing attorney since the late '80s, currently working as a public defender in California. He also tours with his own band, The Dinosaurs.
Creedence Clearwater Revival
After CCR broke up in 1972, brothers John (lead vocalist-guitarist-songwriter) and Tom (guitarist) Fogerty each pursued solo careers. Tom died of AIDS in 1990. John is still actively recording and touring. He released The Blue Ridge Rangers Ride Again in 2009. Bassist Stu Cook and drummer Cosmo Clifford formed Creedence Clearwater Revisited in 1995. They are still active with the group, performing the old CCR catalog.
Two members of the Woodstock lineup have died: keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan in 1973 and guitarist/vocalist Jerry Garcia, whose death in 1995 marked the end of the band's three decade run. Bob Weir (guitar), Phil Lesh (bass), Bill Kreutzmann (drums), Mickey Hart (drums) and Tom Constanten (keyboards) have each pursued solo careers, and have performed together in various combinations off and on since 1998. Weir, Lesh, Kreutzmann and Hart have toured in recent years as The Dead. Constanten toured with other original Woodstock performers as Heroes of Woodstock.