The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Jon S. Randal: A Few Days At Woodstock

Jon S. Randal's photo.

August 17, 2015
He was the closing act, scheduled to perform on the third and final day of Woodstock, Sunday, August 17, but because of the delays and the length of the other performances, it was 8 a.m. on Monday morning when Jimi Hendrix finally appeared and launched into arguably the most memorable performance of Woodstock.

During the height of the Vietnam war, in the midst of continued civil rights unrest throughout the nation, amidst the stench of the garbage strewn about a muddy field after three days of peace and music, with only 30,000 to 40,000 people still remaining after many had already gone home, Jimi Hendrix surprised and shocked the remaining crowd with his own interpretation of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Some called it uplifting, some called it disrespectful, some called it haunting and eerie, but it was trademark Hendrix, using amplifier feedback to convey the sounds of bombs falling, jets flying overhead, and what sounded like the cries of human anguish.

After Woodstock, Hendrix appeared on the Dick Cavett show, and was asked what he felt about the controversy.

Hendrix replied, “I don’t know, man. All I did was play it. I’m American, so I played it. I used to sing it in school. They made me sing it in school, so it was a flashback.”

Before Hendrix finished what he was saying, Cavett interrupted, warning the audience that before they start sending in "nasty letters" complaining about Hendrix and the "unorthodox way" he performed the national anthem, they should know that “This man was in the 101st Airborne."

Hendrix then respectfully disagreed with Cavett’s description. “I didn’t think it was unorthodox,” he said. “I thought it was beautiful.”

One critic agreed, saying, "Because he interpreted ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ it gave it a meaning that was closer to where we were all coming from. There wasn’t anti-American sentiment. It was anti-war sentiment. He brought it home to us in a way nobody ever had.”

And, years later in a film produced and written by Bob Dylan, the rock critic character played by Jeff Bridges would go into this speed rap about what Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner was all about, a black man, wearing a costume honoring his Native American heritage and "that it was not a protest, it was not negative, but rather a cry of despair and love, and that what it said was, ‘I’m a native son. This belongs to me, the anthem and the country.’

August 16, 2015

Jon S. Randal

On the second day of Woodstock, Saturday, August 16, 1969, an unknown band would take the stage, a band that hadn't even released their debut album. By the time they left, they were one of Woodstock's breakout acts, closing their set with the instrumental 'Soul Sacrifice,' a funky, percussion-fueled dynamo that would propel the group, simply known as Santana.

The group's leader, Carlos Santana, who would be named one of the greatest guitarists of all time, would also be a voice for civil rights, speaking out on immigration issues, saying, “One day there will be no borders, no boundaries, no flags and no countries and the only passport will be the heart.”

Regarding war in the world, he would say, "Peace has never come from dropping bombs. Real peace comes from enlightenment and educating people to behave more in a divine manner."

After all, he would add, "The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace."

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