Guitarist Miller Anderson speaks about Keef Hartley Band’s Woodstock experience
The Beatles were not at Woodstock, but a few of their songs were sung, most notably Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help From My Friends." The Beatles were not at Woodstock, but the drummer who replaced Ringo Starr when he joined the Beatles was.
The threads of rock's tapestry are trivial taken singly, but all tell the story. We all know that when Pete Best was let go, Ringo replaced him. Ringo had been in Rory Storm and the Hurricanes at the time. Keef Hartley replaced Ringo.
Before Hartley began his own band in 1968, he joined the John Mayall Bluesbreakers, a band that several notable musicians also played: Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Peter Green, and Harvey Mandell (played at Woodstock with Canned Heat >>> Harvey Mandel link)
Rolling Stone magazine described the band's performance at Woodstock as "a hard and brassy set." They came on after John Sebastian unscheduled appearance.
The band members were:
Keef Hartley: drums
Miller Anderson: guitar, vocals
Jimmy Jewell: saxophone
Henry Lowther: trumpet, violin
Gary Thain: bass
Too Much Thinkin’
Believe In You
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In a 1994 interview Hartley said of Woodstock, "They were hiring some incredible names but they had a fixed budget to stick to so they needed some lesser known names as well. I can’t remember what we were paid now but it was two or three thousand dollars and I got the lion’s share!”
The band released five albums between 1969 and 1972. Hartley released one solo album and two other albums as part of Little Big Band and Dog Soldier.
In the early 90s Hartley left music and took up work as a joiner, working as one part of Hunter Hartley of Preston, England.
Keef Hartley is one of those "unknown" Woodstock performers. Not on the triple album. Not in the movie. No Woodstock push, but the quality of the music that Hartley, his own bands, and the bands he was simply a member of remains undiminished.
He died on November 11, 2011.
On his death, John Mayall said: "When I think back to all the adventures we had over the years, both on and off the road, it seems hardly possible that my friend of so many years will not be showing up to sit in with any of my bands in the future. His sense of fun and love of life will always remain in my thoughts as special memories." (>>> British Blues archive site)