Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock and How It Changed a Generation


The definitive oral history of the seminal rock concert, Woodstock?three days of peace and music and one of the most defining moments of the 1960s?with original interviews with Roger Daltrey, Joan Baez, David Crosby, Richie Havens, Joe Cocker, and dozens of headliners, organizers, and fans.

On Friday, August 15, 1969, a crowd of 400,000?an unprecedented and unexpected number at the time?gathered on Max Yasgur?s farm in upstate New York for a weekend of rock ?n? roll, the new ...

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Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock

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The definitive oral history of the seminal rock concert, Woodstock—three days of peace and music and one of the most defining moments of the 1960s—with original interviews with Roger Daltrey, Joan Baez, David Crosby, Richie Havens, Joe Cocker, and dozens of headliners, organizers, and fans.

On Friday, August 15, 1969, a crowd of 400,000—an unprecedented and unexpected number at the time—gathered on Max Yasgur’s farm in upstate New York for a weekend of rock ‘n’ roll, the new form of American music that had emerged only a decade earlier. For America’s counterculture youth, Woodstock became a symbol of more than just sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll—it was about peace, love, and a new way of living. It was a seminal event that epitomized the ways that the culture, the country, and the core values of an entire generation were shifting. On one glorious weekend, this generation found its voice through one outlet: music.

Back to the Garden celebrates the music and the spirit of Woodstock through the words of some of the era’s biggest musical stars, as well as those who participated in the festival. From Richie Havens’s legendary opening act to the Who’s violent performance, from the Grateful Dead’s jam to Jefferson Airplane’s wake-up call, culminating in Jimi Hendrix’s career-defining moment, Fornatale brings new stories to light and sets the record straight on some common misperceptions. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs, authoritative, and highly entertaining, Back to the Garden is the soon-to-be classic telling of three days of peace and music.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The myth of Woodstock is something in my mind that is very close to the reality. Kids today are drawn to the place. It is the history of our musical past and our artistic past. It is a story that needs to be told and I trust my friend forever Pete Fornatale to tell it." — Richie Havens

"Pete Fornatale is a great music historian and one of the best broadcasters in America. His book Back to the Garden actually made me feel like I attended Woodstock myself. I recommend it highly." — Brian Wilson

"I have turned down tickets to every Woodstock there's been, for the same reason: rock 'n' roll and camping have nothing in common. If you'd like to make up your own mind, tune in to Back to the Garden, Pete Fornatale's fine history of whatever hit 'em up there (in addition to the brown acid or brown rice, whichever it was). From Richie Havens to the endless repercussions, this is the tale...and even a veteran antihippie like me has to recognize it as an indispensable document of rock history." — Dave Marsh

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416591207
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Pages: 303
  • Sales rank: 775,501
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Pete Fornatale is an award-winning broadcaster who has been a fixture on the New York City radio scene for the past forty years. The author of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends, he can currently be heard on in the New York area on WFUV radio’s Mixed Bag.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Bring Back the Sixties, Man Joe McDonald ix

Introduction xiii

Players xxv


Richie Havens 3

The Swami 18

Free Concert 23

Country Joe McDonald 32

John Sebastian 46

Sweetwater 54

Bert Sommer 59

Tim Hardin 62

Ravi Shankar 69

Melanie 77

Arlo Guthrie 82

Joan Baez 90


Founders, Quill, the Keef Hartley Band, the Incredible String Band 101

Santana 113

Canned Heat 127

Mountain 133

Janis Joplin 138

Grateful Dead 150

Creedence Clearwater Revival 158

Sly Stone 164

The Who 175

Jefferson Airplane 191


Joe Cocker 211

Max Yasgur 217

Country Joe and the Fish 225

Ten Years After 230

The Band 234

Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) 239

Blood, Sweat and Tears 247

Johnny Winter 252

Paul Butterfield and Sha Na Na 256

Jimi Hendrix 262

Epilogue: The Whole World Goes to Woodstock 275

Acknowledgments 289

Notes 291

Index 297

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 28, 2012

    A trip to remember-

    Like going back in time and listening to Pete on WFUV. A "trip" down memory lane.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2010

    An Extremely Thorough Retelling of the Legend that was Woodstock

    I have always had a fascination with the legend that is Woodstock (the music festival, not Snoopy's little friend). How could all of the pieces fit together so magically as to make the perfect puzzle? How could a curly-haired, baby-faced, basically unknown producer get acts like the Who, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix to perform on Max Yasgur's farm in New York? How did a for-profit festival suddenly turn free?

    Woodstock...just the name conjures mixed reviews. Many people claim to be there who were not. Even the people who WERE there have very different memories of what happened. This is probably not surprising at all with all the "smoke" in the air. Back to the Garden is a collection of remembrances by musicians, managers, producers, and attendees who sometimes completely contradict each other. Fornatale goes through each day and act in chronological order, from Richie Havens after 5:00 PM on Friday (He was not supposed to be the first.) to Hendrix's legendary rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" very early Monday morning (Most people had left already.).

    Back to the Garden provides one of the best retellings of Woodstock yet. His interviews come together to create an extremely thorough picture. This is must reading for everyone, including the people who were there but do not "remember" everything.

    MY RATING - 5/5

    To see my rating scale and other reviews, please check out my blog:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews

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