Posted on August 18, 2015 by Trace

—  t u e s d a y  t u n e s  — 
 W O O D S T O C K

The lyrics tell a story about a spiritual journey to Max Yasgur’s farm, the place of the festival, and makes prominent use of religious imagery, comparing the festival place with the Garden of Eden 

“…and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden”


David Crosby, Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash (right) as they all travel to Big Bear Lake

The saga commences with the narrator’s encounter of a fellow traveler —
  “Well, I came upon a child of God, he was walking along the road”
and concludes at their ultimate destination —
“By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong…”
There are also references to the Vietnam War —
“bombers flying shotgun in the sky.”


Joni and Graham
Joni Mitchell wrote the song from what she had heard from then-boyfriend Graham Nash, [pictured above] about the Woodstock Music and Art Festival.  
She had not been there herself, since she was told by a manager that it would be more advantageous for her to appear on ‘The Dick Cavett Show’. She wrote it in a hotel room in New York City, watching televised reports of the festival.

“The deprivation of not being able to go provided me with an intense angle on Woodstock,” she told an interviewer shortly after the event.
David Crosby, interviewed for the documentary Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind, stated that Mitchell had captured the feeling and importance of the Woodstock festival better than anyone who had been there.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s upbeat hard rock arrangement was released as lead single from their Déjà Vu album.
This version opens with a distinct lead guitar lick played by Stephen Stills who sings the lead vocal with backing harmonies from David Crosby and Graham Nash.
The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young version of “Woodstock” is also notable for the start-stop patterns just prior to the “We are stardust, we are golden…” chorus.


Graham Nash at Joni's LA homeGraham Nash writing songs in the house he shared with Joni Mitchell. 

Although Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young learned the song from Joni Mitchell herself, the band’s version slightly rearranged the lyrics from the her original.
They put the line, “we are billion year old carbon” —which only appeared in her final chorus — into each of the first three choruses.
Then they replaced that line with “we are caught in the devil’s bargain” in the last chorus which was also in Mitchel’s final chorus.


On a daily quest for Freedom seek us here ⇟

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