WCSX Classic Cuts
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: “Woodstock”
The Hook: Stephen Stills rearranges Joni Mitchell’s song about the festival into “a boys’ song.”
Album: Deja Vu
Writer: Joni Mitchell
Stats: Peaked at number-11 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Background: Although she wasn’t there, Joni Mitchell was a good enough writer to quickly turn the account of the Woodstock Festival she got from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young into a song. Stephen Stills and David Crosby explain how the quartet, led by Stills, took back the song and made it their own.
Stephen Stills and David Crosby on making Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” their own. OC:…with songs. :27
Stills: “I said, ‘This needs to be an R&B song, gimme it.’ I just said, ‘Thanks, babe, and snatched it and ran and didn’t look back.’”
Crosby: “If you listen to Joni’s version of it, you’ll understand what happened. Stephen listened to that and went –he wasn’t sneering, but Stephen’s got a set of cojones on him and he just changed it around there a little bit.”
Stills: “Yeah, let’s make this a boys’ song.”
Crosby: “Yeah, and that’s what he did.”
Stills: “She was quite flattered”
Crosby: “Yeah, she liked the record we made on it.”
Stills: “She said, ‘Good job, Stephen, that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do with songs.’”