Writer: Joni Mitchell
Producers: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Recorded: November 5, 1969 at Wally Heider's Studio C in San Francisco, California
Released: March 11, 1970
|Players:||David Crosby — vocals, guitar
Stephen Stills — vocals, guitar, organ
Graham Nash — vocals, piano
Neil Young — vocals, guitar
Greg Reeves — bass
Dallas Taylor — drums
|Album:||Deja Vu (Atlantic, 1970)|
One of rock's first “supergroups,” Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) formed in 1968 after Stephen Stills left Buffalo Springfield and David Crosby left the Byrds, while Graham Nash was planning to leave the Hollies.
Neil Young, who was in Buffalo Springfield with Stills, joined the group in June 1969 at the suggestion of Atlantic Records chairman Ahmet Ertegun.
“Woodstock” was written by Joni Mitchell, who was dating Crosby at the time of the original Woodstock, but only experienced the festival via TV news reports because the group left her behind in New York after hearing of the difficult conditions at the concert grounds.
Of the song, Mitchell has said, “The deprivation of being stuck in a New York hotel room and not being able to go provided me with an intense angle on Woodstock. I was one of the fans. I was put in the position of being a kid who couldn't make it. So I was glued to the media… Woodstock, for some reason, impressed me as being a modern miracle, like a modern-day fishes-and-loaves story. For a herd of people that large to cooperate so well, it was pretty remarkable and there was tremendous optimism. So I wrote the song 'Woodstock' out of those feelings.”
Released as a single to precede the quartet's Deja Vu album, “Woodstock” peaked at Number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Deja Vu, the first full-fledged Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) album, hit Number One on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold after its first week of release. The album has since sold well over seven million copies.
After Deja Vu was recorded, sidemen Greg Reeves and Dallas Taylor were replaced by Calvin “Fuzzy“ Samuels and ex-Turtles/future Jefferson Starship drummer John Barbata.