Sweetwater August Burns

Sweetwater August Burns

Woodstock Music and Art Fair

There were (by my count) 167 performers at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. I have tried to do a short bio on each of them on their birthday. It seemed a way of noting their day, their contribution to that grand event, and a bit about them.

As broad and wide as this not-so-newfangled inter-web thingy is, some performers seem to have disappeared. Of course, if I were a true researcher I’d switch to shoe leather (are soles even leather anymore?) and give my fingertips a break. Alas, I’m sticking to fingers.

Sweetwater  August Burns

Wade Lawrence

Fortunately, there are some with far better connections than I have. Wade Lawrence, for example. Wade was the first head curator at the  The Museum at Bethel Woods. Beginning in January 2017 and continuing to the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival in August 2019, he posted the stories of the 32 musical acts that performed at Woodstock.

He covered them in the order they appeared and thus Sweetwater’s August Burns was within his second piece.

Sweetwater  August Burns


Sweetwater was supposed to open the festival, but traffic issues delayed their arrival. Richie Havens’s famous opening became history. Ironically, his closing impromptu composition, Freedom, included pieces of Motherless Child, Sweetwater’s opening song to their 8-song set (though their last “song” was a medley of three songs: Why Oh Why/Let the Sunshine In/Oh Happy Day). 

In addition to Burns who played cello, Sweetwater consisted of:

Other than Ravi Shankar’s performance (and he of course had the sitar), Sweetwater was the only band/performer at Woodstock that did not use a guitar–acoustic nor electric.

As you can see above, August Burns was the band’s cello player. That is a sentence that is rarely written about rock bands!

Sweetwater  August Burns


The Sweetwater site has this to say about August Burns: “An extremely unique individual, August, our well- loved cellist, had a warm smile, a mysteriously deep voice, and was interested, from an intellectual standpoint, in EVERYTHING. This very cool guy, who studied the classics at UCLA, added to our eclectic image by bringing us a touch of class. When he played his solo on “My Crystal Spider, “ during our concerts, the audience would go nuts. After Sweetwater, August went to Germany to study conducting. While there, he somehow fell out of a construction elevator, and in the hospital, contracted pneumonia and died.”

Sweetwater  August Burns

February 16 Music et al

February 16 Music et al

Beatles/Ed Sullivan

February 16, 1964: second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. This time in Miami. An estimated 70 million viewers watch that night Set list: She Loves You > That Boy > All My Loving; I Saw Her Standing There > With Love From Me To You > I Want To Hold Your Hand [Sullivan also refers to upcoming Clay/Liston fight in Miami] (next Beatles, see Feb 18) (see Ed Sullivan Meets the Beatles Again for more)

February 16 Music et al


February 16 Music et al
L – R: Pattie Harrison, John, Mike Love, Maharishi, George, Mia Farrow, Donovan, Paul, Jane Asher, Cynthia Lennon

February 16, 1968: from the Beatles Bible site: John and Cynthia Lennon, and George and Pattie Harrison arrived in Delhi, India at 8:15 am, having flown overnight from London Airport.

They were met in Delhi by The Beatles’ assistant Mal Evans (who had arrived there on 14 February) and Mia Farrow.

Evans had organised three taxis to take the group from Delhi to Rishikesh, where they were to study meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It was a journey of some 150 miles.

Cynthia Lennon later said that “Our arrival at Delhi went very much unheralded. We were bundled unmolested and travel-weary into three battered, ancient Indian taxis without all the usual fuss and frantic rush. It was wonderfully refreshing and stress free. After alighting from the taxis, we were shown to our living quarters. They consisted of a number of stone-built bungalows, set in groups along a rough road. Flowers and shrubs surrounded them and were carefully tended by an Indian gardener whose work speed was dead slow, and stop.”   (see Apr 12)

Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, Ringo and wife Maureen will arrive four days later.

February 16 Music et al

Tony Sheridan

February 16, 2013: Tony Sheridan died. Sheridan, the British guitarist, singer and songwriter, was the star on the Beatles’ first commercial recording.

The Beatles (then a quintet of John, Paul, George, Stuart Sutcliffe, and Pete Best) met Sheridan in Hamburg. In 1961 Bert Kaempfert offered to record Sheridan with them as his back up band. They would record nine songs altogether over the next two years.

Mr. Sheridan sang seven of them — “My Bonnie,” “The Saints,” “Why (Can’t You Love Me Again),” “Nobody’s Child,” “Take Out Some Insurance On Me, Baby,” “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Swanee River.” The other two were purely Beatles performances: “Cry for a Shadow,” an instrumental by Lennon and Harrison, and “Ain’t She Sweet,” with Lennon singing.

It was the single “My Bonnie” that led Beatle fans in Liverpool to request the song which eventually led record store owner Brian Epstein to visit the Cavern venue and see what all the fuss was about.

Tony Sheridan continued as a musician the rest of his life–his connection to the Beatles opened doors for him. He died in Germany where he lived. He was 72. (next Beatles, see March 21, 2016) 

Reference: NYT article/obit

February 16 Music et al

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Native Americans

Failed Cherokee rescue

February 16, 1760: Cherokee Indians failed to rescue Cherokee hostages held in Fort St. George (South Carolina). In revenge, the British killed all the hostages. 

1789 US Constitution & Native Americans
  • Article 1 Section 3: 3: Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed. [Indians not counted in population]
  • Article 1, Section 8: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; [Indians are treated as a foreign group
Jefferson’s plan to get Native American’s land

In 1803: in a private letter to William Henry Harrison, Governor of the Indiana Territory, President Thomas Jefferson outlined an Indian policy that would result in the natives ceding land to the United States. He stated [my underlining]: To promote this disposition to exchange lands, which they have to spare and we want, for necessaries, which we have to spare and they want, we shall push our trading uses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands. He added, “…we presume that our strength and their weakness is now so visible that they must see we have only to shut our hand to crush them, and that all our liberalities to them proceed from motives of pure humanity only. Should any tribe be foolhardy enough to take up the hatchet at any time, the seizing the whole country of that tribe, and driving them across the Mississippi, as the only condition of peace, would be an example to others, and a furtherance of our final consolidation.” (see October 5, 1813)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism



February 16, 1847: the Missouri legislature passed an act that prohibited “Negroes and mulattoes” from learning to read and write and assembling freely for worship services. The act also forbade the migration of free blacks to the state. The penalty for anyone violating any of the law’s provisions was a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars, a jail term not to exceed six months, or a combination of fine and jail sentence.

The 1847 law supplemented a Missouri law passed in 1825 that imposed various restrictions on free black people. The 1825 law defined a black person as anyone having at least one black grandparent, and made a distinction between those considered full-blooded Negroes and mixed-blooded mulattoes. The 1825 law also prohibited free blacks from keeping or carrying weapons without a special permit and settling in Missouri without a certificate of citizenship from Missouri or another state. Free blacks who migrated to or through Missouri without citizenship documents faced arrest, a court order to leave the state within thirty days, and a punishment of ten lashes. Under the 1825 law, white ship captains and labor bosses were permitted to bring free blacks into the state as workers, though for no longer than six months at a time.

In 1840, nearly 13 percent of Missouri’s population was composed of enslaved black people, while free black people made up less than one percent of the state’s residents. The 1847 law was enacted to place further limitations on the black population and calm fears of a possible rebellion. (see June 30)

U.S. Navy

February 16, 1944: the U.S. Navy began training its first African-American officers. More than 100,000 African Americans were in the Navy in World War II, many of them forced to serve as laborers, support crew and cooks. None were officers. After pressure from civil rights groups, the Navy responded by commissioning 16 African-American officers and sending them for training. (next BH, see Mar 13)

Black Liberation Front

February 16, 1965: the New York City police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the help of the Royal Canadian Police broke up a plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, and the Washington Monument.  The four were: Walter Augustus Bowe, Khaicel Sultan Sayyed , leader Robert Steele Collier, and Canadian Michelle Duclos,The men were part of an extremist organization known as the “Black Liberation Front” (BLF), while Duclos was a member of the Quebec secessionist group Rassemblement pour l’Indépendance Nationale. (Chicago Tribune headline)  (BH, see Feb 17; next Terrorism, see June 14)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism


Lithuania twice

February 16, 1918: Lithuania independent from the Russian and German Empires. (see Feb 24)

February 16, 1990: Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union. (see Mar 15)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

Furrier strike

February 16, 1926:  the beginning of a 17-week general strike of 12,000 New York furriers, in which Jewish workers formed a coalition with Greek and African American workers and became the first union to win a 5-day, 40-hour week (see May 1)

Milwaukee teacher strike

February 16, 2011: public schools in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisc., closed as teachers call in sick to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s plans to gut their collective bargaining rights. (see Feb 17)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism
Technological & Cultural Milestones

February 16, 1937: Wallace H. Carothers, a research chemist for Du Pont, received a patent for nylon. (see April 30, 1939)

The Camel Newsreel Theatre

February 16, 1948: NBC-TV aired the first nightly newscast, “The Camel Newsreel Theatre,” which consisted of Fox Movietone newsreels. The program was 10-minutes long. (see June 20)


February 16, 1968:  the nation’s first 911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated in Haleyville, Ala. (NENA article on history or 9-1-1) (see September 2, 1969)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Cold War

Fidel Castro

February 16, 1959: Fidel Castro became prime minister of Cuba after leading a guerrilla campaign that forced right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista into exile. Castro, who became commander in chief of Cuba’s armed forces after Batista was ousted on January 1, replaced the more moderate Miro Cardona as head of the country’s new provisional government. (see Apr 15)

Boston SANE

February 16, 1962: Boston SANE [Sane Nuclear Policy (1957)] & fledgling Students for a Democratic Society held first anti-nuclear march on Washington with 4000 – 8000 protesters. (see Apr 14)

Flights to Cuba

February 16, 2016: the Obama administration’s top transportation officials joined Cuban dignitaries at the Hotel Nacional in Havana to sign an agreement that restored commercial airline service between the two countries for the first time in more than 50 years. (see Mar 20)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism

February 16 Music et al

Beatles/Ed Sullivan

February 16, 1964: second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. This time in Miami. An estimated 70 million viewers watch that night Set list: She Loves You > That Boy > All My Loving; I Saw Her Standing There > With Love From Me To You > I Want To Hold Your Hand [Sullivan also refers to upcoming Clay/Liston fight in Miami] (see Ed Sullivan Meets the Beatles Again for more)(next Beatles, see Feb 18


February 16, 1968: Mike Love, Mia Farrow, Donovan and others travel to India to visit the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at Rishikesh.  (see Apr 12)

Tony Sheridan

February 16, 2013: Tony Sheridan, the British guitarist, singer and songwriter who was the star on the Beatles’ first commercial recording — they were the backup band—died. (next Beatles, see March 21, 2016)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism


February 16, 1968: U.S. officials reported that, in addition to the 800,000 people listed as refugees prior to January 30, the fighting during the Tet Offensive created 350,000 new refugees. (see Feb 18)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism


February 16 Peace Love Art Activism

February 16, 1971: Nixon began secret recordings using a newly installed taping system in White House. (see Watergate for expanded story)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Symbionese Liberation Army

February 16, 1974: in a second tape recording, Patty Hearst asked her parents to “stop acting like I’m dead.” DeFreeze says that the S.L.A. is looking for “a good faith gesture.”  The SLA had kidnapped Hearst on February 4. (see Patti Hearst for expanded story)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism


February 16, 2012: Judge Nancy Edmunds of Federal District Court in Detroit sentenced the so-called “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to four consecutive life sentences plus 50 years. (Justice Dept article) (Terrorism, see Feb 29; Abdulmutallab, see January 13, 2014)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism

LGBTQ & Marriage

NJ approves same-sex marriage

February 16, 2012: The New Jersey legislature approved the freedom to marry, but soon after, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill. 

Pew Research

February 16, 2012, the Pew Research Center reported that about 15% of all new marriages in the United States in 2010 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from one another, more than double the share in 1980 (6.7%). Among all newlyweds in 2010, 9% of whites, 17% of blacks, 26% of Hispanics and 28% of Asians married out. Looking at all married couples in 2010, regardless of when they married, the share of intermarriages reached an all-time high of 8.4%. In 1980, that share was just 3.2%. (see Feb 22)


February 16, 2019, just two days after Valentine’s Day, the Social Security Administration sent a letter to Jack Baker and Michael McConnell confirming once and for all that their 1971 marriage was legal, stating that they were indeed entitled to monthly husband’s benefits. (see Baker/McConnell for expanded chronology; next LGBTQ, see Feb 26)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Immigration History

Obama policy halted

February 16, 2015: Federal District Judge Andrew S. Hanen in Brownsville, Texas ordered a temporary halt to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, siding with Texas and 25 other states that filed a lawsuit opposing the initiatives. (see Feb 23)

Hanen prohibited the Obama administration from carrying out programs the president announced in November that would offer protection from deportation and work permits to as many as five million undocumented immigrants. The first of those programs was scheduled to start receiving applications February 17. (IH, see Feb 23; Obama, see May 26)

Immigrant boycott

February 16, 2017: in a prequel to a May 1 protest, businesses in cities across the country closed as immigrants boycotted their jobs, classes and shopping. Immigrants in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Austin, Texas, and other major U.S. cities planned to stay home as part of a strike called “A Day Without Immigrants.” (see Feb 17)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Environmental Issues

Train oil spill

February 16, 2015: a CSX train carrying crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken formation derailed in the Mount Carbon area of Fayette County, West Virginia sending oil tankers off the tracks, with some reaching the Kanawha River.

The train, consisting of two locomotives and 109 rail cars, was en route to Yorktown, Va. (Reuters story) (see Feb 24)

Trump eases coal mining rules

February 16, 2017: President Trump signed legislation ending an Obama administration coal mining rule. The bill quashes the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials had finalized in December 2016. (see Mar 9)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Sexual Abuse of Children

February 16, 2019: Pope Francis expelled Theodore E. McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, from the priesthood, after the church found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adult seminarians over decades.

The move appears to be the first time any cardinal has been defrocked for sexual abuse — marking a critical moment in the Vatican’s handling of a scandal that has gripped the church for nearly two decades. It was also the first time an American cardinal had been removed from the priesthood.

In a statement, the Vatican said McCarrick had been dismissed after he was tried and found guilty of several crimes, including soliciting sex during confession and “sins” with minors and with adults, “with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.” (next SAC, see Feb 21, next McCarrick, see July 28, 2021)

February 16 Peace Love Art Activism

Women’s Health

February 16, 2024: the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law.

The decision was issued in a pair of wrongful death cases brought by three couples who had frozen embryos destroyed in an accident at a fertility clinic. Justices, citing anti-abortion language in the Alabama Constitution, ruled that an 1872 state law allowing parents to sue over the death of a minor child “applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location.”

“Unborn children are ‘children’ … without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristics,” Justice Jay Mitchell wrote in a majority ruling by the all-Republican court. [AP article] (next WH, see Mar 4; Alabama, see Mar 6)