New Woodstock Films to Feature Neil Young, CCR

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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (with bandmates) in 1970

With the 50th anniversary of Woodstock arriving this August, numerous celebrations and recollections are in the works. In addition to two live-music events – one taking place in the area where the original occurred – the official 1970 Michael Wadleigh-directed Academy Award-winning documentary of the event, simply titled Woodstock, is being re-released, and it will be joined on the big screen by a new companion piece.

The new documentary about the festival, produced by Bill Gerber (the recent A Star is Born), is notable because it will include footage of Neil Young performing with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. If you’ve seen the Wadleigh film, you’ll recall that it shows CSN performing “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Although Young did take part in the festival with his then-bandmates, joining them onstage after they’d performed six songs as a trio, he was not included in the original film. Now, according to a report in Deadline Hollywood, the new film will include the full quartet. In addition, other artists omitted from the 1970 film will appear.

Related: Where are the Woodstock artists now?

Gerber is quoted in the piece: “The film has new interviews and is also the ‘Young Men With Unlimited Capital’ story of John Roberts and Joel Rosenman, these two young guys who started Woodstock as a capital raise to build a recording studio. There is … material no one has ever seen. Neil Young was not in the movie for a variety of reasons, until now. There is unseen footage of Janis Joplin and performance footage that hasn’t been seen. There are some great stories, like how Nelson Rockefeller was going to send in the National Guard to shut the festival down. Roberts and Rosenman had family in finance and banking and they got on the phone with the governor and pleaded with him to call off sending in the National Guard on that first Saturday. Otherwise, the festival never would have happened.”

Watch raw footage of CSN&Y performing “Long Time Gone” at Woodstock

No release date for the new documentary has yet been announced.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

In addition, a second film in the works will present, for the first time officially, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Woodstock set. CCR was arguably the most popular American band of 1969, yet their footage was not included in the 1970 film. According to the band’s drummer, Doug Clifford, that is being rectified this year. In an article published online by ABC News Radio, Clifford stated, “We fought for 50 years over [releasing the performance], and now it looks like it’s finally…gonna be out there. So, I’m excited about that, and hopefully the fans will be excited about it as well.” The news item notes that group leader John Fogerty nixed having the band’s performance included in the original Woodstock because he was unhappy with it.

Clifford, who still performs with CCR bassist Stu Cook as Creedence Clearwater Revisited, did not specify whether Fogerty is ready to sign off on that footage now that half a century has passed, but his statements seemed to indicate that the release of the footage is a sure thing.

“I’m sorry that we weren’t in the movie,” he added. “That wasn’t my decision. But we were there…and we had a big part of it being as grand as it was, just by virtue of saying ‘yes’ to the [organizers’] offer.”

Watch Creedence perform “Born on the Bayou” at Woodstock

Related: Our interview with Clifford and Cook

This summer, PBS is also presenting a documentary filmWoodstock, that examines the festival from the audience’s point-of-view.

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6 Comments so far

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  1. kirk1480
    #1 kirk1480 26 February, 2019, 00:31

    Hopefully the reissue of the original film will be re-edited, getting rid of the “style of the time” multi-screen shots. It is so distracting, the movie is unwatchable in the 21st century.

    Reply this comment
    • AtlantaMike
      AtlantaMike 4 March, 2019, 17:02

      Hopefully you aren’t serious! What made this film what it was was the multiple image, split screen editting…along with the surround sound. I am certain they won’t be getting rid of that!!

      Reply this comment
      • kirk1480
        kirk1480 1 July, 2019, 20:46

        If you like the split screens, go back and watch the original. I didn’t like it then either.

        Reply this comment
    • Jaws
      Jaws 8 March, 2019, 22:44

      Perhaps reissue a new movie but keep the original historical Woodstock film available for those who like to see things as they were.

      Reply this comment
    • Fred
      Fred 17 April, 2019, 18:25

      What not release it in black and white as all that color was annoying too? Maybe even cut a song I didn’t like too?

      Reply this comment
  2. Buckey
    #2 Buckey 26 February, 2019, 16:18

    John Fogerty is a bit of a perfectionist. I read his autobiography, and while his natural talent is well deserved, I think it is that perfection bent that may give him trouble. The FACT that he was ripped off by Fantasy records would embitter anyone. Still, the performance of Born on the Bayou is great. No reason to hold it back for so long. Lighten up, John!

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