Posts filed under “Music”

From Woodstock to Wall Street

From Woodstock to Wall Street
Doug Kass
Real Money, Aug 18, 2014 | 9:00 AM EDT




  • What a long, strange trip it has been.

Well I came across a child of God, he was walking along the road
And I asked him tell where are you going, this he told me:
Well, I’m going down to Yasgur’s farm, going to join in a rock and roll band.
Got to get back to the land, set my soul free.
We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

– Joni Mitchell, “Woodstock” (this performance will give you chills)


Forty-five years ago this morning I and about 400,000-500,000 others (which included my pals Dennis Gartman and Larry Kudlow!) were at the last day of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair at Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York. The weekend was serendipitous and unexpected. At its peak Woodstock was the third most populated town in New York state.

The previous week I had quit a job at Camp Chipinaw on Swan Lake to attend the festival with my girlfriend Toby.

We spent five days on a blanket fairly close to the stage. We bathed in the nearby lake and survived on sunflower seeds, some fruit, stale rolls, bottled water and plenty of marijuana.

“This is the second time we’ve ever played in front of people, man. We’re scared xxxxless.”

– Stephen Stills at Woodstock

At around 4:00 a.m. Crosby, Stills & Nash had just completed singing “Marrakesh Express” and were in the middle of their set. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were so unknown that they had to introduce themselves at the beginning of their Woodstock appearance. Woodstock was only the group’s second live performance — the first live appearance was two days before Woodstock began at a Chicago gig with Joni Mitchell. (Joni Mitchell missed Woodstock, watched the accounts on television and instead appeared on “The Dick Cavett Show” during the weekend.)

The air was filled with the stench of cannabis and cheap wine.

There was no sleeping throughout Sunday night as we were serenaded by an extraordinary nonstop barrage of musicians that continued through Monday morning.

  • Joe Cocker started Sunday afternoon’s music with a little help from his friends in The Grease Band.
  • After Cocker concluded a two-hour thunderstorm disrupted the concert, and at about 7:00 p.m. Country Joe and the Fish ripped it up and finished with a seminal song that captured the gestalt and became something of a national anthem of the 1960s, “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag.”
  • Alvin Lee and Ten Years After gave us their spoonful and ended with their classic “I’m Coming Home.”
  • The house band and local Woodstock residents, The Band pulled into Nazareth at about 10:00 p.m.
  • At midnight Edgar and Johnny Winter told the truth and finished with “Johnny B. Goode.”
  • The early morning began at about 1:00 a.m. with Blood, Sweat & Tears spinning their wheels.
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young began their acoustic set at 3:00 a.m.
  • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band delivered a morning sunrise.
  • Sha Na Na, who were paid only about $350 for their gig (the briefest of the concert), were at the hop and ended the morning music by 8:00 a.m. with “Get a Job.”
  • The final act (and the longest set) was Jimi Hendrix at 9:00 a.m. He was paid the most of any performer ($32,000). His “Star Spangled Banner” was widely considered among the best performances of the festival. “Hey Joe” ended the concert.

“But when I played Woodstock, I’ll never forget that moment looking out over the hundreds of thousands of people, the sea of humanity, seeing all those people united in such a unique way. It just touched me in a way that I’ll never forget.”

– Edgar Winter

The party was still going on, and the traffic congestion was so terrible that many, including myself, stayed on for another two or three days.

Years later I played squash at the Princeton Club in New York City with Joel Rosenman, and weeks later learned from him that he, along with Michael Lang, Artie Kornfeld and John Roberts, was one of the founders of the Woodstock Festival. Blackstone’s Byron Wien is good friends with Joel, and he put us back in touch with each other last spring after reading “My Pilgrimage to Warren Buffett’s Omaha,” which mentioned that after having gone to the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, I found myself in a unique sort of symmetry 44 years later attending the “Woodstock of capitalism” — small world.

All weekend I was in wonderment about the changes in my life over the past four and a half decades.

Consider that:

  • On Saturday, Aug. 16, 1969, Wavy Gravy warned me and the rest of the Woodstock crowd not to take the brown acid.
  • On Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, my golf partner, the legendary Wall Streeter Peter Cohen, warned me not to swing my golf club too hard on the fifth hole at Noyac Golf Club in Sag Harbor, New York.

The memories of Woodstock linger on and conjured up a nostalgic feeling throughout the past weekend for me. At times, when viewing the YouTube videos of those original Woodstock performances I got goosebumps and, quite honestly, teary-eyed.

It was an age gone by. There were no cell phones 45 years ago and no selfies. Nor was any merchandise sold at Woodstock. A three-day pass cost $18 in advance, $24 at the gate. But by the second day there were no gates, as the concert was free.

To me Woodstock was both a demonstration of peaceful protest and a global musical celebration — considering that nearly 12% of the world is at war today, these are two things we need more of these days.

Over the years Woodstock has been romanticized, glorified and has become a final page in our collective memory of a different era, an age of innocence.

In a sense it was the last waltz of the decade of the sixties.

While I had already cultivated a great interest in the stock market for three or four years, I was still a year and a half away from getting my MBA at Wharton when I left Woodstock and Yasgur’s farm.

To be sure the capital markets have changed materially over the past 45 years. The DJIA stood at 825 back in 1969 vs. 16,660 today. The yield on the 10-year U.S. note was 6.70% vs. 2.35% this morning.

And 1969 was a momentous year.

  • The first automatic teller machine in the U.S. was installed in my home town of Rockville Centre, New York.
  • Wendy’s Hamburgers opened.
  • Ralph Nader set up a consumer organization known as Nader’s Raiders (and I became one in 1971!).
  • The Supreme Court ordered an end to all school desegregation “at once.”
  • “Sesame Street” premiered on PBS.
  • The Fifth Dimension’s “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” topped the Billboard music charts throughout much of the year.
  • Oliver! won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
  • The Beatles released and Abbey Road.
  • The Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction was awarded to Norman Mailer for The Armies of the Night.
  • The Who released the rock opera Tommy.
  • “The Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Hour” ended and so did the show Cabaret (after 1,166 performances).
  • “Hee Haw” premiered on CBS, and Oh! Calcutta! opened on Broadway.
  • The Rolling Stones released “Honky Tonk Women.
  • Rod Stewart joined Small Faces.
  • Hello Dolly with Barbra Streisand opened.
  • The New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl, and Joe Namath was named MVP.
  • Mario Andretti won the Indianapolis 500.
  • Mickey Mantle’s No. 7 jersey was retired by the New York Yankees.
  • Joe Frazier knocked out Jerry Quarry for the heavyweight championship of the world.
  • Muhammad Ali was convicted for refusing induction in U.S. Army on appeal.
  • Rod Laver won the second U.S. Open in tennis and completed his second grand slam.
  • Hundred-to-one shot New York Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles to win the sixty-sixth World Series in five games.
  • The New York Times reported that Curt Flood planned to sue baseball and challenge the reserve clause.
  • Kansas City outfielder Lou Piniella was voted AL Rookie of Year.
  • Richard Nixon was inaugurated as President (and proclaimed he would end the Vietnam War by 1970), and Golda Meir became the first female Prime Minister of Israel.
  • Warren Burger was confirmed as Chief Justice on the Supreme Court.
  • Edward Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving scene of an accident a week after the Chappaquiddick car accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne.
  • The U.S. Army announced the investigation of William Calley for the alleged massacre of civilians at the Vietnamese village of My Lai.
  • The U.S. Army conducted its first draft lottery since World War II.
  • Apollo 9 was launched (and came safely back to Earth), and the Boeing 747 made its first commercial flight.
  • The Manson Family committed the Tate-LaBianca murders.
  • Tiny Tim and Miss Vicky got engaged.
  • Jerry Lewis conducted only his fourth Muscular Dystrophy telethon.

From Woodstock to Wall Street: What a long, strange trip it has been.

Douglas A. Kass
Seabreeze Partners Management Inc.

411 Seabreeze Avenue
Palm Beach, Florida 33480
Web Site:
Twitter: @DougKass

Category: Investing, Music, Think Tank

Lefsetz: Facts

1. You don’t need to be good-looking to make it in music. The MTV era is over, kaput, history. Now it’s about the track. Who even knows what Avicii or Calvin Harris look like! Don’t be dissuaded by the ink TV competition shows garner, that’s a dying paradigm. Sure, being attractive never hurt, but having…Read More

Category: Music, Television, Think Tank

Friday Night Soul: James Brown in Eighteen Minutes

“Get On Up” is the new biopic out on James Brown. David Remnick of the The New Yorker calls it “the second-best film ever made about James Brown.” But rather than watch a good impersonations, how about seeing the real thing? The following James Brown video has been called the “most thrilling, compressed, erotic, explosive…Read More

Category: Friday Night Jazz, Music, Weekend

Hey, Janet (with apologies to the Beatles)

With August upon us and many readers likely at the beach, here is some levity from one side of the vocal debate on the future of Fed policy. Please hum the melody of Hey Jude as you read the lyrics. With thanks and credit to the Beatles.   “Hey Janet” Hey Janet, don’t make it…Read More

Category: Federal Reserve, Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Humor, Music

15 Rules for Spotify

1. You will delete your MP3s. Just like you tossed your 8-tracks and cassettes, you’ll get rid of your MP3s, all your iTunes purchases, kaput, evaporate, just like that. It will happen when you get a new computer, which isn’t as frequent as before, but the truth is we’re moving to flash storage and it’s…Read More

Category: Music, Weblogs

Lefsetz: The Tiers

STADIUM ACTS Are not bitching about what everybody else is. Money is not their issue. Everybody wants to be in business with them. The transition in the business is evidenced by the fact that those who consistently sell out stadiums are younger generation acts, baby boomers cannot. Bruce Springsteen can do stadiums overseas, but not…Read More

Category: Music, Weekend

Lefsetz’ Scorecard

MAJOR LABELS More powerful than at any time since Napster. Case in point, Sam Smith. One has to credit Capitol with a phenomenal publicity campaign. Mr. Smith has been featured in every major outlet, the press on his Apollo show alone was incredible. This is what a major label can do, it can build a…Read More

Category: Music, Think Tank, Weekend

Jetsetter Jazz & the Persuasive Sounds of Nutty

Nutty is a bizarre mash up of swingin’ jazz and crooning classic rock, with a healthy dollop of big band swing.

The result is a unique hybrid of lyrics, melody, musical hooks. Nutty’s arrangements have been called “musical martinis that are spiked, shaken and stirred.” It’s so much more than, simply, “jazzy versions of classic rock hits” — its irreverent, humorous, and sassy.

If you are into music and fond of mashups, then check out the band Nutty.

Here’s a blend of Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther with Jimi Hendrix’ Purple Haze:


And here is Dave Brubeck’s Take Five with The Moody Blue’s Nights in White Satin:

Hat tip: “James Kraus, author of iBooks cookbook Jet Age Cooking for the Bachelor Gourmet.” His writing ties in with Nutty’s Jetsetter Jazz sound.

More info after the jump

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Category: Friday Night Jazz, Music, Weekend


I smell money! I’ve been flying all over the world listening to an ever-decreasing number of old farts lamenting the music business ain’t what it used to be. That the kids have stolen all the music, that you just can’t get paid. And then I come to Las Vegas and find out we’re experiencing a…Read More

Category: Music, Think Tank, Weekend

Chrissie Hynde: Stockholm




I was a monster Pretenders fan back in the day. Their first album, Pretenders, is in the running for the greatest debut album ever. Its great rock and roll, with brilliant songwriting, sly and lovely melodies, ALL belied by the raucous punk production. It was the first album I ever saw that had the words PLAY LOUD on the cover. Now that’s a recording ethos I can get into.

If you have even the slightest doubt that their under-rated melody was the secret sauce of the Pretenders, check out the live acoustic album Isle of View recorded with a string quarter backing the Hynde instead of electric guitars and bass. Its just brilliant.

Yeah, I had a crush on her — I loved her rawness, the way she moaned Hmmmm, how she spat out lyrics, both plaintive (No, I’ll never feel Like a man in a man’s world) and nasty (I shot my mouth off, and you showed me what that hole was for). The power trio behind her was killer, and they could play soft if they wanted to (See Lovers of Today, or their cover of Ray Davie’s Stob Your Sobbing, both on the debut album). Hynde’s voice could range from tough as nails to crushingly vulnerable; her unique phrasing perfectly fit the music she crafted. Musically, everything about The Pretenders just worked.

I’ve always wanted to see a bio pic of the Pretenders, with Gina Gershon cast as Chrissie Hynde. Not me, baby, I’m too precious, I had to fuck off.


Soundcloud has two full songs, plus Chrissie discussing how the album came about (below).


Dark Sunglasses


You or No One





Her website is at

Stream full album at Soundcloud

Review of Stockholm by The Guardian

Chrissie Hynde, Minus the Pretenders (NYT)

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Category: Friday Night Jazz, Music, Weekend