By: AnnMarie Scaramuzzino
Throughout the four days of Woodstock in 1969, some of the most iconic performances in Rock and Roll history took place. It would quite literally be impossible to choose who was best, but these are some of our favorites.
Check out our list of the Top 5 Artists Who Rocked Woodstock and tell us what you think!
1. Jimi Hendrix
When Jimi Hendrix took the stage at Woodstock, it was 9am on Monday, August 18. The festival, delayed by weather and techincal issues, had bled over through the night, but Jimi was determined to close the show. Playing a medley that included "Voodoo Chile (slight return)," "Purple Haze" and his infamous version of "The Star Spangeled Banner," along with an encore featuring his hit, "Hey Joe," Hendrix left a dwindling and exhausted crowd with one final memorable moment.
2. The Who
Leading up to Woodstock, The Who were on tour in support of their rock opera, Tommy, which clearly inspired their setlist. Again, due to scheduling problems, the band went on hours after they were supposed to, hitting the stage at 5am on Sunday, August 17. The Who rocked abbreviated versions of the Tommy songs they'd been playing on the road, including "Heaven and Hell," "1921," "Pinball Wizard," "My Generation," and "See Me, Feel Me."
3. Joe Cocker
Unlike many of his counterparts, Joe Cocker actually took the stage at Woodstock at a decent hour, playing the 2pm slot on Sunday. Also unlike many of his counterparts, the soulful singer was hardly a household name in 1969, which quickly changed after he performed a cover of the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," that left everyone talking (and singing).
Guitarist Carlos Santana and the latin-fusion band that bears his last name were also realatively unknown when they performed at Woodstock. However, if the festival had given out superlatives, Santana probably would've won "Rookie of the Year," as their 45-minute set on Saturday, August 16, was quite the crowd pleaser, featuring songs like "Evil Ways" and "Soul Sacrifice". The band, whose debut, self-titled album hadn't even been released yet, proved that there's no better place to test out new material than during the biggest music festival of all time!
5. Richie Havens
Though he his last on the list, Richie Havens actually opened Woodstock, playing for a reported three hours on Friday, August 15. Havens was only supposed to play four songs, but after other acts became stuck in the horrible traffic jam caused by the festival, organizers encouraged him to keep going. Havens improvised and his set featured several covers, including the Chet Powers song "Get Together" and versions of the Beatles' songs "Get By With a Little Help from My Friends," "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Hey Jude." Havens concluded his set with the now iconic "Freedom" which he is said to have created right there on stage.
Richie Havens sadly passed away this year at the age of 72, and the late rocker's ashes will be spread over the original Woodstock site following a tribute concert on Sunday (August 18).