Music Fans Remember Woodstock

I was only 6 when the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, known as Woodstock, was

Nick and Bobbi Ercoline

Nick and Bobbi Ercoline

held in August 1969 on a dairy farm in New York. And though I have heard a lot about the festival over the years, I never fully understood the impact the festival had on the music industry, or society, in general. 

But looking back at the music that came from out of the festival, it’s easy to see that most of the music we listen to today, somehow stem from those four days in August, 1969.

The music festival, which was estimated at attracting 25,000, was attended by over 400,000 people. It was originally scheduled Aug. 15 to 17, but it ran over an extra day.

During the sometimes-rainy weekend, 32 acts performed outdoors before an audience that celebrated “peace, love, and rock-and-roll.”

The following year, Rolling Stone magazine listed it as one of the “50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll.”

The event was captured in the Academy Award winning 1970 documentary movie “Woodstock,” an accompanying soundtrack album, and Joni Mitchell’s song Woodstock, which commemorated the event and became a major hit for both Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Matthews Southern Comfort.

Creedence Clearwater Revival became the first act to sign a contract for the event, agreeing to play for $10,000. In contrast, up and coming group, Santana, signed on for $750.

Additional musical artists who later signed included Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Joan Baez, The Who, Country Joe and the Fish, Joe Crocker, Arlo Guthrie, Jefferson Airplane, John Sebastian, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and several others.

Nick and Bobbi Ercoline, whose blanket-clad images graced the cover of the Woodstock album, are still together today, according to a June 2016 article on

The couple, now grandparents, still live in Pine Bush, New York, where they raised two sons within a 40-minute drive of the iconic concert.

According to an article on, the couple said they never intended to go to the original concert. “But as they sat listening to the radio that weekend, the crowd swelled, police closed the roads and broadcast appeals for people to stay away. This made them determined to join in the fun.”

The article went on to explain that the couple were spotted by a wandering photographer. The shot made it on to the cover of the Woodstock triple album featuring, among others, Jimi Hendrix and The Who.

Nick recalls that he and Bobbi were listening to it at a friend’s house when he picked up the sleeve. ‘I said, “Hey that’s our blanket.” Then I said, “Hey, that’s us!”

Though some fans still gather every year to commemorate the history-making festival, there has been discussion about a Woodstock revival in 2019 to celebrate the music festival’s 50th Anniversary, but details have yet to be disclosed.

See more Woodstock photos at


Musical Storytelling an Art

I love music. I love to listen to it, play it, and dance to it (at least in the privacy of my own home). I’m not the best singer, but I’m also not the worst, so I guess I’m doing pretty good.

I listen to most kinds of music, but ballads, the ones that combine two of my passions, music and storytelling, are by far my favorites.

I’ve heard  “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” by Gordon Lightfoot at least a thousand times, but when I heard it the other day, I stopped and listened to the words.

Curious, I googled the name of the ship and learned about the 1974 shipping tragedy that took the lives of the entire crew. The wreckage and the men’s bodies were never recovered.

“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” is not only a beautiful song and an interesting story, it’s a part of history, too.

“Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searches all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay
If they’d put fifteen more miles behind her
They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.”


The information I found about the SS Edmund Fitzgerald was interesting (Wikipedia), but not as intriguing as the song.

SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that sank in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, with the loss of the entire crew of 29. When launched on June 7, 1958, she was the largest ship on North America’s Great Lakes, and she remains the largest to have sunk there.

“For 17 years Fitzgerald carried taconite iron ore from mines near Duluth, Minnesota, to iron works in Detroit, Toledo, and other Great Lakes ports.

Carrying a full cargo of ore pellets with Captain Ernest M. McSorley in command, she embarked on her ill-fated voyage from Superior, Wisconsin, near Duluth, on the afternoon of November 9, 1975. En route to a steel mill near Detroit, Fitzgerald joined a second freighter, SS Arthur M. Anderson. By the next day, the two ships were caught in a severe storm on Lake Superior, with near hurricane-force winds and waves up to 35 feet (11 m) high.

Shortly after 7:10 p.m., Fitzgerald suddenly sank in Canadian (Ontario) waters 530 feet (160 m) deep, about 17 miles (15 nautical miles; 27 kilometers) from Whitefish Bay near the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario—a distance Fitzgerald could have covered in just over an hour at her top speed.

Although Fitzgerald had reported being in difficulty earlier, no distress signals were sent before she sank; Captain McSorley’s last message to Anderson said, “We are holding our own.” Her crew of 29 perished, and no bodies were recovered.

Many books, studies, and expeditions have examined the cause of the sinking. Fitzgerald might have fallen victim to the high waves of the storm, suffered structural failure, been swamped with water entering through her cargo hatches or deck, experienced topside damage, or shoaled in a shallow part of Lake Superior.

The sinking of Edmund Fitzgerald is one of the best-known disasters in the history of Great Lakes shipping. Gordon Lightfoot made it the subject of his 1976 hit song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” after reading an article, “The Cruelest Month”, in the November 24, 1975, issue of Newsweek. The sinking led to changes in Great Lakes shipping regulations and practices that included mandatory survival suits, depth finders, positioning systems, increased freeboard, and more frequent inspection of vessels.

The ship was named after Northwestern’s president and chairman of the board, Edmund Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald’s own grandfather had himself been a lake captain, and his father owned the Milwaukee Drydock Company that built and repaired ships.”

The article goes on to say, “More than 15,000 people attended Fitzgerald’s christening and launch ceremony on June 7, 1958. But the event was plagued by misfortunes: When Elizabeth Fitzgerald, wife of Edmund Fitzgerald, tried to christen the ship by smashing a champagne bottle over the bow, it took her three attempts to break it. A delay of 36 minutes followed while the shipyard crew struggled to release the keel blocks. Upon sideways launch, the ship crashed violently into a pier. On September 22, 1958, Fitzgerald completed nine days of sea trials.”


Dick Clark-a permanent fixture in American history

I wasn’t really surprised when I heard the news that Dick Clark had died. He had


been ill for many years. Still, it doesn’t take away the fact that a great man will soon be laid to rest.

Known by millions as the host of “American Bandstand,” Dick Clark was a familiar face Saturday mornings during my childhood years. As we watched the show, we had no way of knowing the impact his show would have on the world. Most of the artists spotlighted skyrocketed to fame, if they weren’t already there.

A massive heart attack April 18 took the life of the 82-year-old Clark. He was remembered fondly as a private person who hated goodbyes, and would salute the audience and say, “So long,” after every show.

A lot of musicians got their big breaks on Bandstand and it’s fun to look back and remember how much that music meant to me. It really was a part of American history. Watching the show, realizing how music has evolved over the years also holds insight into the minds of the American teenagers over the years.

Though I grew up with American Bandstand, there were still a few things I didn’t know about the show:

Richard Wagstaff Clark was born November 30, 1929 in Mount Vernon, New York. In 1956, Clark became the host of American Bandstand, (aired on television from 1952 to 1989) a show that featured Top 40 musical artists who would lip sync to their hits.

Bob Horn was the original host from 1952 to 1956 but was fired after a drunk driving arrest. Clark took over and made it the top show watched by teens for years.

The show inspired other shows such as Soul Train and Solid Gold.

The Bandstand theme music was originally “High Society”  by Artie Shaw but saw various changes throughout the years. Barry Manilow’s “Bandstand Boogie” took over in 1977 to open and close the show until it’s 1977 until it went into syndication in 1987. After that, an instrumental version replaced it. “Bandstand Boogie,” was originally recorded for Manilow’s “Tryin’ to get the Feeling,” soundtrack.

I have a lot of fond memories from my younger days, with Bandstand being one of them. Watching the Jackson Five and other iconic musical groups, I was too young to understand the history that was in the making.

After American Bandstand went off the air, Clark went on to host the $20,000 Pyramid and the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, but he will forever live in the hearts of many as the host of American Bandstand, “America’s oldest teenager.”