×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Woodstock ’69 Getting a Completists’ 38-Disc, 36-Hour Box Set for 50th Anniversary

If you want to hear three complete days of Woodstock music this August, you’re guaranteed it. No, not out at Watkins Glen with Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, et al. — that Woodstock still seems very much in flux — but via a completists’ audio box set of nearly every note played at the original 1969 Woodstock festival. The Rhino label is about to unveil “Woodstock 50 — Back to the Garden — The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive,” a 38-disc, 36-hour, 432-song CD collection that lays the ’69 fest out in chronological order, from the first stage announcements to muddy farewells.

Amazingly, most of this material has never been issued before; 267 of the 432 songs have never seen an official release. The word “amazingly” comes into play because so much has come out in dribs and drabs since a hit three-LP set went to the top of the charts in 1970. There were expanded CD box sets in 1994 and 2009 … but, needless to say, not nearly this expanded. Some of the acts on the bill have had complete, or semi-complete, versions of their sets released. Just last month, Janis Joplin and Sly & the Family Stone had their performances issued on vinyl for the first time for Record Store Day in limited editions that became instant sellouts.

But it took some years and some doing to convince all the artists as well as record-company powers-that-be that there was a need and a market for an $800 list price edition that would include every lick, including some off ones.

Rolling Stone broke the news Wednesday morning via an interview with Andy Zax, an archivist who co-produced the collection for Rhino. He revealed he had first come across the treasure trove of dozens of one-inch tapes in a Warner Bros. storage space in 2005. “From the moment I saw those tapes, I was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s so much more than I’d ever thought,’” he said. “It was clear to me that no one was exploring this stuff and dealing with it in totality.” Zax told Rolling Stone’s David Browne he lacked “institutional support” at the time for his vision of putting everything out and had to settle for a mere six-CD box for the 40th anniversary edition.

Zax also detailed for RS other hangups, like the fact that microphone feeds often weren’t turned on in the sound truck yet when bands would begin their sets — something that was fixed by dubbing in bits from the soundboard tapes. And then there was the fact that a lot of acts weren’t pleased with their performances, among them Creedence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty, who nixed the use of any Creedence material in the original album or movie because he was upset at the lack of audience response when the band played to a sleepy crowd following a much-delayed post-midnight start time. (“Why show the people a weakness?” Fogerty told RS,) Zax says Creedence’s set is actually ““one of the best performances at Woodstock … the fact that it wasn’t out in its entirety until now is flabbergasting,” and Fogerty has finally come around to agreeing.

For anyone who wants more Woodstock who lacks the stomach or wallet for three full days’ worth of it, Rhino is also issuing an entirely reasonable 10-disc distillation of the new collection and, for the truly faint of heart, a three-CD version.

On the complete collection, each act will gets its own disc. Among the other artists represented are the Who, the Grateful Dead, the Band and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (whose Neil Young has long been disdainful of his part in Woodstock and declined to let himself be shown in the film). The only things missing from the 38-CD version, Rolling Stone reports, are two Jimi Hendrix songs that his estate didn’t believe were up to snuff and some Sha Na Na that missed being captured on tape.

More Music

  • Sony Music to Deliver ‘Real Time’

    Sony Music to Deliver ‘Real Time’ Data, Royalty Payments to Artists

    Sony Music today announced two new payment features for its artists — “Real Time Royalties” and “Cash Out” — through its artist portal beginning this fall. 

A memo sent to artists Monday morning and obtained by Variety says  the initiatives will “allow our artists and royalty participants to view and withdraw earnings faster than ever [...]

  • Whitney Houston

    Whitney Houston Estate Plans Hologram Tour, Album, Musical

    In the seven years since Whitney Houston’s death, there has been relatively little of the asset-exploitation that usually follows the passing of a music icon, apart from a smattering of previously unreleased recordings, a pair of harrowing documentaries and a lot of unflattering press. But according to an article in the New York Times, the [...]

  • Liam Gallagher and Son shopping at

    Cannes: Screen Media Buys 'Liam Gallagher: As It Was' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Screen Media has acquired North American rights to Charlie Lightening and Gavin Fitzgerald’s feature documentary “Liam Gallagher: As It Was.” The film follows the former Oasis frontman as he finds himself on the periphery of the rock ‘n’ roll world after years spent at the white hot center of the music world. Screen Media will [...]

  • AMERICAN IDOL - "218 (Season Finale)"

    Adam Lambert Does Double Performing Duty on 'Idol' as New Winner Is Crowned

    A new “American Idol” winner was crowned Sunday night, but not before Adam Lambert returned to the stage for the season finale for a pair of performances that included his new single and a duet with eliminated contestant Dimitrius Graham Sunday. The show concluded with Louisiana teen Laine Hardy showered in confetti as he was [...]

  • Beyonce Emilia Clarke

    Emilia Clarke Worried Beyonce Would Hate Daenerys After 'Game of Thrones'' Final Season

    After eight seasons as the Mother of Dragons, “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke has a lot of celebrity fans. But the most impressive? Probably Queen Bey. In a New Yorker interview posted after Sunday night’s series finale, Clarke revealed that she met Beyonce at an Oscars after-party hosted by the musician and her husband, [...]

  • Zia McCabe, Brent DeBoer, Courtney Taylor-Taylor,

    Concert Review: The Dandy Warhols Need No Confetti at 25th Anniversary Show

    When the Dandy Warhols released their first album in 1995, the year’s bestselling record came from Hootie and the Blowfish. Suffice it to say, a lot has changed in the music industry and the world since Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Peter Holmström met in Portland, Oregon and decided to form a band. Yet on Saturday night [...]

  • John Mayer Madonna

    The College Dropouts: John Mayer, Madonna Among Music Stars Who Didn't Graduate

    It’s commencement time at colleges coast to coast, which means seeing successful musicians at podiums receiving honorary degrees — among them, Justin Timberlake at Berklee College of Music and Jon Bon Jovi at the University of Pennsylvania. But the music world is full of stars who never matriculated and still managed to come in at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content