Bobbi Ercoline, Mystery Woman on Iconic Woodstock Album Cover

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Bobbi Ercoline’s name may not be familiar to most, but millions own her photograph: Bobbi, whose last name at the time was Kelly, and her then-boyfriend, Nick Ercoline, were huddled together under a quilt at the 1969 Woodstock festival when photographer Burk Uzzle snapped their picture. The couple, both then 20, were unaware that their photo had even been taken until several months later, when the three-LP Woodstock soundtrack album was released. They were among friends when they first realized the couple on the album cover was them.

“We were passing the jacket around when someone pointed out the staff with the orange and yellow butterfly,” Nick told AARP in 2019 for the organization’s magazine. “That belonged to Herbie, a guy from Huntington Beach, Calif. He was lost and having a bad trip, and we hooked arms with him until he was clear-headed. Then we saw the blanket. Oh my lord, that’s us!”

Bobbi and Nick only lasted one night at Woodstock, and never even got near the stage. They had given it their all trying to get to the festival, ditching their car when traffic became snarled and walking the final two miles. They spent most of their single day there on the hillside where the famous photo was taken.

The Ercolines returned to the Woodstock a half century after the event and recreated the famous photo (sans quilt)

Two years later, in 1971, they married. They remained together until Bobbi Ercoline’s death on March 18, 2023, at age 73 of leukemia, at her home in Orange County, NY.

Nick posted the news on Facebook: “It’s with beyond great sadness that I tell my FB family and friends, that after 54 years of life together, of the death of my beautiful wife, Bobbi, last night surrounded by her family. She lived her life well, and left this world in a much better place. If you knew her, you loved her. She lived by her saying, ‘Be kind.’ As a School Nurse she always championed the kids … ALWAYS! As a person, she always gave. ‘How much do you really need if you have all you need or want?’ So she gave and gave and gave. She didn’t deserve this past year’s nightmare, but she isn’t suffering from the physical pain anymore and that brings some comfort to us.”

Related: The story behind Joni Mitchell’s classic “Woodstock”

“Woodstock was a sign of the times,” Bobbi said in an article posted in 2019 on the website Vintage Everyday. “So many things were churning around in our world at that time: civil rights, the Vietnam War, women’s rights. It was our generation.”

This became a popular photo over the years…

Watch a short video of the couple’s return to the festival site decades later

“I look at [the photograph] every day,” she told Smithsonian magazine in 2009.

Related: Musicians we lost in 2023

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8 Comments so far

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  1. Cisley
    #1 Cisley 20 March, 2023, 00:37

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. She sounds like she was a lovely woman.

    Reply this comment
  2. Neal Umphred
    #2 Neal Umphred 20 March, 2023, 00:56

    Thanks for posting this—I might have missed this news completely. A lovely movie could be made about Bobbi and Nick …

    Reply this comment
  3. Razman
    #3 Razman 20 March, 2023, 12:02

    53 years together. Very sad to hear of her passing. I was also at Woodstock but have totally different memories…. no food, no water, no bathrooms… very muddy. The music was amazing and that made it all worth it.

    Reply this comment
  4. Markus
    #4 Markus 20 March, 2023, 12:53

    Another piece of our youth has left us…I wish we could all just go back to that place and time and have our life ahead of us to live…It doesn’t work like that and we eventually all must leave here…I must stop as I can’t see my screen any longer God bless you and rest in peace Bobbi..

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  5. David
    #5 David 20 March, 2023, 14:34

    Very Very Sorry for your loss….. You two are a symbol of our time. May she rest in Peace.

    Reply this comment
  6. Patti and Jerry Kohut
    #6 Patti and Jerry Kohut 12 April, 2023, 00:54

    My husband, Jerry, and I had the most unexpected pleasure of meeting the Ercolines on one of our excursions to the Woodstock site couple years back. We were introduced to them by the lovely Charlie who is a volunteer at the museum. Bobbi and Nick couldn’t have been more gracious, letting us take pictures of them and chit chatting with us while we walked around. We were so appreciative that they spent time with us when they didn’t even know us. We are so deeply sorry for the family’s loss and hope all the wonderful memories of this sweet lady gives Nick and family some comfort and peace.

    Reply this comment
  7. TimF
    #7 TimF 19 March, 2024, 08:03

    I didn’t know the names, but the album sleeve was made into a poster hanging over the studio’s keyboard station. We’ve all quipped about what was going through you’re minds at the time. Growing up through the sixties I was eight or nine at the time for Woodstock concert. You both inspired quite a few songs off that poster. Thank you for sharing your twenty-year-old self for the future’s sake of music muse… Sorry for the loss of Bobbi. As a Nurse, I’ve witnessed those battles. My prayers to you and your family…

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  8. Yazmatazz
    #8 Yazmatazz 19 March, 2024, 09:25

    Lovely story. When the 3LP set came out, I was in my mid-teens and played it non-stop. I spent countless hours staring at that iconic photo on the cover. This story brings me right back to those wonderful days. Thank you for that. RIP Bobbi and thanks for the memories. Cheers.

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