|Michael Murphy, Author of Goodbye Emily|
Today my guest is Michael Murphy, author of a new book entitled Goodbye Emily. According to Michael, "My return to Woodstock novel captures the music, the rain, the mud, but Goodbye Emily focuses on two people who meet and fall in love at Woodstock and their love lasts a lifetime. Forty years later, well, I don’t want to give too much away."
To celebrate Woodstock's anniversary this month, Michel is providing us with some interesting trivia about the event. Read on...
Woodstock wasn’t the first big multi-day rock concert of the sixties. In 1967, The Monterey Pop Festival featured sixties greats Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Mamas and the Papas, Ravi Shankar, Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel, and Otis Redding and others. The event was memorialized in a 1968 documentary, “Monterey Pop.”
Emboldened, Woodstock organizers wanted an event near Woodstock, New York because Bob Dylan and other folk/rock stars lived nearby. They wanted to raise enough money through ticket sales to create a permanent recording studio in Woodstock. Organizers secured a location in nearby Wallkill, secheduled acts, printed tickets and publicized the event. Then things began to go wrong. Very wrong.
Local residents feared an influx of drug-crazed hippies. Authorities in Wallkill rescinded the permit just weeks before the scheduled event leaving organizers to scramble for an alternative site. After stumbling upon a beautiful lush dairy farm owned by Max Yasgur near Bethel, New York, they secured the location and prepared for the festival.
When August 15 came, construction hadn’t been completed. There was no way to keep the crowds out, so the concert quickly became a free concert, virtually ensuring organizers would not meet their financial goals.
With the popularity of the 1968 Monterey Pop documentary, word had spread about Woodstock. Roads were jammed. Nearly a half a million made it to Yasgur’s farm, but the scheduled acts didn’t arrive on time.
With an impatient crowd, organizers talked Richie Havens into taking the stage. After his initial performance they talked him repeatedly into returning to the stage to stall until more acts arrived. After nearly three hours, he’d run out of material.
What followed was Woodstock history. Havens took an old spiritual, “Motherless Child” and improved a song that’s become known as his famous Freedom song. As he stated later, “When you see me in the movie tuning my guitar and strumming, I was actually trying to figure out what else I could possibly play! I looked out at all of those faces in front of me and the word freedom came to mind."
Country Joe McDonald, scheduled for day three as part of Country Joe and the Fish, was talked into performing an acoustic set. Before his famous anti-war song, “I’m-Fixing-to-Die-Rag,” he gave the “Fish Cheer.” For those who’ve seen the documentary, the four letter word he and nearly a half million shouted, was not fish.
I’m honored two Woodstock icons, Country Joe and Wavy Gravy like my novel. “Michael I just finished reading your novel and found it a fantastic read and wonderful story! It would make a terrific movie. Thanks for letting me see it. cheers, Joe.” Country Joe McDonald
“What we have in mind is a sweet look back at the good old days. We must have been in heaven, man.” Wavy Gravy
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