Some are still active. Some are retired — or semi-retired. And some aren’t with us anymore. The performers of the original Woodstock Music & Arts Festival have traveled a variety of paths during the past 40 years. Here’s a quick look at their current status:
Joan Baez: Still vibrant as an artist and an activist, Baez celebrated her 50th anniversary as a performer in 2008 with the release of the Grammy Award-0nominated, Steve Earle-produced “Day After Tomorrow” album. She recently posted a performance of “We Shall Overcome,” with some lyrics in Persian/Farsi, on YouTube as a tribute to protestors in Iran.
The Band: The group that, to many, epitomized the Woodstock ethos broke up in 1976, though all but guitarist Robbie Robertson regrouped in 1983 for another 16-year run. Pianist Richard Manuel committed suicide on March 4, 1986, and bassist Rick Danko passed away on Dec. 10, 1999. Robertson and keyboardist Garth Hudson remain active in a variety of musical endeavors, while Levon Helm’s 2007 solo album “Dirt Farmer,” won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album. Helm recently released a new solo set, “Electric Dirt.”
Blood, Sweat & Tears: The brassy rockers continued their hit-making ways into the early ’70s and have continued playing with a rotating cast of musicians. Founding drummer Bobby Colomby and manager Larry Dorr continue to direct the group’s activities.
Paul Butterfield Blues Band: The group broke up in 1972 but the harmonica-playing Butterfield kept performing until his death from a drug overdose in 1987.
Canned Heat: The blues rockers have continued to boogie on, surviving the death of key members such as Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite. Drummer Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra, author of a revealing biography “Living the Blues,” continues to keep the group going. Its story was also told in the 2007 documentary “Boogie with Canned Heat: The Canned Heat Story.”
Joe Cocker: After his Woodstock breakthrough, Cocker went on to even greater fame with “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” and as managed for a time by Woodstock producer MIchael Lang. Cocker remains active and is reportedly planning a new studio album for 2010.
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Creedence continued its remarkable run of success until 1972, but acrimony has followed ever since — especially after frontman John Fogerty played with a group of other musicians rather than his former bandmates at the band’s 1993 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Fogerty continues a solo career and will release “The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again,” a sequel to his 1973 solo debut, on Sept. 1. Bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford lead Creedence Clearwater Revisited, a name Fogerty unsuccessfully sued to block.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: Their work as a foursome has been limited during the four decades since they played their second gig at Woodstock, but they did hit the road three times this decade, with the most recent tour yielding the film “CSNY: Deja Vu.” CSN is working on a covers album with producer Rick Rubin. Neil Young released the first volume of his long-awaited “Archives” set this year and has also been part of a team developing the environmentally friendly Linc-Volt automobile.
Grateful Dead: Woodstock members Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Jerry Garcia have gone on to that great gig in the sky — the latter’s 1995 death effectively breaking up the band. Surviving members have regrouped as The Other Ones and The Dead, and the toured under the latter moniker this year.Arlo Guthrie: Guthrie still performs and records, with “Arlo Guthrie: Tales of ’69” due out Aug. 18. He’ll also hit the road this fall for the three-generation Guthrie Family Rides Again tour.
Tim Hardin: The singer-songwriter died of a drug overdose on Dec. 29, 1980.
Keef Hartley: The British drummer (trivia answer: he replaced Ringo Starr in Rory Storm & the Hurricanes after Starr joined the Beatles) has kept a relatively low profile since the mid-’70s but did put out an album, “Not Foolish, Not Wise” in 2003 and published an autobiography, “Halfbreed (A Rock and Roll Journey That Happened Against All Odds)” in 2007.
Richie Havens: Woodstock’s first performer released a new album, “Nobody Left to Crown,” in 2008 and will perform “Freedom” on Aug. 14 at the Museum at Bethel Woods on the original festival site to open a weekend-long commemoration of the 40th anniversary.
Jimi Hendrix: Woodstock’s final performer died of a drug overdose 13 months after the festival. The family -owned Experience Hendrix label keeps his legacy alive via archival releases, the latest being “Live at Woburn” (England, 1968).
The Incredible String Band: The psychedelic Scottish folk band broke up in 1974 and regrouped from 1999-2006. Group members Mike Heron and Clive Palmer were joined by Richard Thompson, Robyn Hitchcock and others for Very Cellular Songs: The Music of the Incredible String Band in July at the Barbican Centre in London.
Jefferson Airplane: The flight ended in 1974, morphing into the Jefferson Starship, with one last trip under the Airplane moniker in 1989. Paul Kantner continues to lead a version of the Starship and released an album, “Jefferson’s Tree of Liberty” with Marty Balin singing. Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady continue to perform, sometimes as Hot Tuna (Kaukonen also runs a guitar camp in southern Ohio), and Grace Slick has retired and is focusing on visual art.
Janis Joplin: Like Hendrix, Joplin didn’t last long after Woodstock. She died in October 1970 from a drug overdose, four months before the release of her final album, “Pearl.”
Melanie: One of Woodstock’s surprise performers resides in Nashville and continues to perform. She’s launched a podcast series, “Tales From the Roadburn Cafe,” on her official web site.Mountain: Bassist-keyboardist Felix Pappalardi was shot by his wife on April 17, 1983, but Leslie West and Corky Laing keep the band going and can be seen on this year’s version of the Hippiefest tour. “Mississippi Queen” has been featured by both Guitar Hero and Rock Band.
Quill: The unknown Boston band that opened Woodstock’s second day — in exchange for some free goodwill concerts it played on the festival’s behalf in upstate New York — has remained unheralded. It disbanded in the spring of 1970 but will get its moment with a pair of tracks on the “Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm” box set that comes out Aug. 18.
Santana: Carlos Santana appeared on this year’s “American Idol” season finale and is on a summer tour of Europe. He’s featured as an animated character for Guitar Her 5 and returns to his residency in September at The Joint in the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel.
John Sebastian: The ex-Lovin’ Spoonful member hasn’t had a hit since 1976’s “Welcome Back” but he continues to perform, sometimes with pals such as Roger McGuinn and David Grisman, with whom he recorded his latest album, “Satisfied.”
Sha Na Na: Donny York and Jocko Marcellino are the only remaining original members in the crew that keeps playing those golden oldies. The group has released a “40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition” CD featuring performances from Woodstock, the film “Grease” and the Sha Na Na TV show.
Ravi Shankar: The career of his daughter Anoushka Shankar (more than that of another child, Norah Jones) has kept the Indian music master from packing away his sitar entirely, even at the age of 89. A great grandson, Koji Shankar Lefevre, was born in April, and he continues to oversee the Ravi Shankar Center in New Delhi.
Sly & the Family Stone: With Sly Stone an ephemeral presence at best, the main repository for the group’s music has been the Original Family Stone with Rose Stone, Cynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini, Rose’s daughter Lisa, Little Sister’s Vaetta “Vet” Stone and occasional drop-ins by Sly.
Sweetwater: Originally scheduled to be Woodstock’s first band, Sweetwater broke up in 1971 after three albums, but three original members played at Woodstock ’94 and the group was the subject of a 1999 VH1 film “Sweetwater: A True Rock Story.”
Ten Years After: Guitarist Alvin Lee went his own way again after a late ’80s reunion, but his brother Ric Lee, Leo Lyons and Chick Churchill have continued since 2003 with Joe Gooch. Animosities are such that the group could not agree to license any of its performances, not even the famed “I’m Going Home,” to the “Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur’s Farm” set.
The Who: Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey continue to play under The Who moniker after the deaths of Keith Moon and John Entwistle. Daltrey is planning a solo tour for the fall, while Townshend is overseeing a new stage production of the 1973 rock opera “Quadrophenia.”
Johnny Winter: The Texas guitar hero has suffered his share of health problems but, like any self-respecting bluesman, has soldiered through them and continues to swing his axe on the road, including a date at this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Shout! Factory released “The Johnny Winter Anthology” in May.