Among the 500,000 people frolicking in the mud at Woodstock, 50 years ago this weekend in Bethel, New York, were five future members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- Billy Joel, Steven Tyler, former Eagles guitarist Don Felder, and from Blondie, Chris Stein and Debbie Harry, although they didn't know each other.
Billy Joel: “I hated it. I think a lot of that ‘community spirit’ was based on the fact that everybody was so wasted. Because everybody was stoned — everybody was passing around pot and acid — and I wasn’t into it. There’d been a lot of rain, it was all muddy, and you couldn’t go to the bathroom unless you stood up and went right where you were. I was there for a night and a day, and then I left just before The Who went on. I really wanted to see them, but it was very hard to because everybody was hopping up and down and banging into you. So I walked out and hitched a ride home.”
Chris Steinsays it was "awesome," adding that it was "the only time" he saw Jimi Hendrix. "By the time he went on the crowd was really thinned out and we were right up in front of the stage."
Steven Tyler was a year removed from forming Aerosmith when he made the trek to Bethel.
Steven Tyler says,"I was in a tent somewhere stuck between the Hog Farm and the stage. And I remember walking along a path called Groovy Way, which was the only way to get there. It was all full of barkers and people selling drugs and pipes and stuff."
Tyler and Aerosmith performed at Woodstock '94 in Saugerties, New York.
Don Felder was bouncing around from band to band and was four years away from moving to Los Angles, where he finally made it. Ironically, one of his childhood friends was on the bill, Stephen Stills with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Don says, "The impact that it not only had on me, but that it had on global rock and roll -- that was probably the largest rock explosion that the fall out from that event, that three-day weekend, literally just covered the entire circumference of the globe and propelled rock and roll to a whole new point."
Word of the concert did indeed spread around the world, including north of the border to Toronto, Canada.
Geddy Lee talked about his memories of Woodstock:
"We knew it was going on, but it was more about the aftermath than it was before it. And it was a different time, you know. We didn't have social media. We didn't have the connectors that we have to any event."