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The Pied Piper of Woodstock Paperback – October 19, 2009
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ForeWord Clarion Review
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
The Pied Piper of Woodstock
Spirit of the Woodstock Nation
Five Stars (out of Five)
More than a mere three days of peace, love, mud, and music, the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Festival was a cultural landmark in a tumultuous decade. It was the brainchild of Artie Kornfeld, songwriter, music producer, and so-called “Pied Piper of Woodstock.” In his memoir, Kornfeld traces his life from early musical prodigy to organizer of the concert that changed the country.
Pied Piper begins when Kornfeld was a musically gifted child raised by a radical socialist mother and a union activist father. Kornfeld became the youngest VP at Capitol Records at the age of twenty-one, and by twenty-four he had written more than seventy-five songs that hit the Billboard charts. Kornfeld’s ebullient, swiftly paced prose takes readers nimbly through his pre-Woodstock years, portraying his achievements as formative steps on the way to his crowning glory—Woodstock.
Pied Piper details every step in the development of the momentous festival. From booking the acts to securing a venue, each piece of the process is described in a casual, intimate tone that draws in the reader. The meat of the book comes in long chapters each devoted to one day at Woodstock, with subsections for each performer that include lively character sketches. True to activist form, Kornfeld expounds on the Woodstock ethos of “peace and music” and why it was so important.
Kornfeld’s book is more than a simple memoir of one of the most important concerts in U.S. history; it is also a detailed, personal account of the 1960s’ rock culture, music, and personalities. The text contains historical photographs and news clippings about key players on the Woodstock scene. Also included are lyrics from Kornfeld’s rock songs and full-color reproductions of dreamy, pacifist paintings by Jim Warren. Pied Piper provides a panoramic, comprehensive collage of the times and people (complete with a detailed index at the end).
With a highly personal and chatty style, Pied Piper uses a wealth of detail to create excitement as the intricate concert preparations come to fruition. A constant stream of anecdotes brings to life the personalities of the festival without becoming bogged down in minutiae or confusing the reader. This is one book that really makes readers feel like they were there.
As a valuable historical document of an important concert and a joyful paean to the revolutionary spirit of an era, The Pied Piper of Woodstock will engross historians, rock lovers, and casual readers alike.
Elizabeth A. Allen
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The book is very nicely produced with a good deal of colorful artwork and photographs. The chapters are categorized and also broken down into bite-sized sub headings, which makes for pleasant reading - like taking a box of tasty chocolates to bed! At Woodstock in 1969, he was on stage nearly throughout as he gathered releases for the film, which became a landmark documentary of this landmark event, and he gives a play-by-play of the events and the performances from a place anyone else has only been in their dreams. Over the years, I've read alot about the concert - nearly everything I could find that seemed authoritative - and I am glad to have another view of the event from someone who was at the center of it all. I had already written a positive review (see below), even before receiving the book, because I knew it would be an interesting book to read and believe it's important to support this long-awaited book's release. This man and his message, as revealed at last to the world here are compelling. It is a book that deserves to be read. Peace
As a student of music and the 60's in general and Woodstock (the concert) in particular, I have been anxiously waiting to hear Artie Kornfeld's own voice describe his true life experiences - and I am glad the day has finally come! This man is a seminal figure in that culture which I hold dear to my heart. He helped to define the Woodstock Nation, even after the last notes had become only echoes in an empty field, and the multitude had returned to their homes.
I've been visiting Woodstock (the town) since I started driving, 36 years ago (so, I was too young to attend the concert) and I'll admit that it has always been a touchstone for me. Of course, the concert site was in a neighboring county, but it was not somewhere else in spirit from the place I am drawn to, again and again. I have enjoyed discovering the reasons that the concert, a true phenomenon, was conceived as it was, and I still struggle to understand the immense importance the event had in opening our eyes to the possibilities of the producers' vision. I am seeking the truth of it so that I can explain it to my own child, because I want him to know why it is meaningful to me.
Artie's work to keep the faith alive has been an encouragement to many people around the world, and I am grateful to him for committing his message to paper. He knows, firsthand, what the movers and shakers of a generation know. He helped define his generation and he is still making the call to, as Lincoln said in his inaugural address: "the better angels of our nature". If you are reading this, I expect you will be fascinated to find out how it all went down. If you have even a passing interest in the movement, then I recommend you listen to this thoughtful man's take on how we might get back to the garden.
At a very young age, Kornfeld found himself swept up in the music phenomenon of the 1960's. He co-wrote the song "Pied Piper", which became a U.S. number one hit, soon found himself in the studio with Dion and the Belmonts and, after becoming the youngest-ever VP at a major record label in his early 20's, Kornfeld became a major driving force behind making the Woodstock festival a reality. Artie's dedication was solely responsible for Warner Brothers making the event into an academy award winning documentary, solidifying Woodstock's place in American history.
As far as the 1969 festival is concerned, Kornfeld had the bands and connections to make it happen. The first vice president of rock and roll had been involved in the most chart topping songs and events of the time with a passion to get the message out. Kornfeld also convinced Fred Weintraub, VP of Warner Brothers to sign a hand written Woodstock movie deal only one day before the festival. He is featured in the documentary so often due to the fact that he had to convince the musicians to appear in the Warner's film. "The Pied Piper" is a brand new account of Woodstock 1969 as Artie and Linda Kornfeld experienced it.
This book also delves into the Kornfeld family history. Shirley Kornfeld had been involved in the Civil Rights movement and is the creator of the freedom rides and telethons for the Congress of Racial Equality. Contained within his memoirs is a letter from the president of C.O.R.E. stating that without his mother's participation, integration of American schools would have been pushed back 30 years.
Artie Kornfeld made his living producing some of the biggest names in music history as well as spurring the alternative rock progression. He is accredited with over 100 gold and platinum awards, not to mention a total of 12 BMI awards. "The Pied Piper" is the official memoir of musician, record producer, music executive, and the Father of Woodstock, Artie Kornfeld.