November 5, 2009

big artie

When my longtime friend and sometime collaborator, Artie Kornfeld the Father Of Woodstock, invited me to the festival in 1969, I thought it was going to be a great picnic, I wasn’t expecting a life changing experience!

Back in 1967 my wife Sheilah was working at Mercury records as a secretary to the songwriter/ producer (“Pied Piper”, “Dead Man’s Curve”, “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things”) we hung out a lot with Artie and his wife Linda. Artie was always concerned about social issues and making the world a better place, but none of the gang at the Brill Building or from 1650 B’way ever expected that one of our own could make such a powerful impact on our culture!

A few weeks ago right after the world wide celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock, I spoke to Artie who filled me in on everything going on in his life, his book, his radio show, etc.

“My memories of my most wonderful days were after three recording deals and managers while attending Queens College at night that, as I tell in my book “The Pied Piper of Woodstock” that I met Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin. With a 25$ demo I took the subway into Nevins Kirchner a/k/a Aldon Music and left with a 75$ a week advance against royalties and a $ 500 advance from BMI.The bread meant nothing as I was now a writer for what soon became Screen-Gems Music. I was accepted in a world of Goffin and King, Mann and Weil, Barry and Greenwich, Leiber and Stoller, Artie Kaplan, Artie Wayne, and so many others who I had only read about and got to learn with the whole Brill Building gang and was lucky enough to have hit songs with Toni Wine my first collaborator and then Steve Duboff and Jan Berry and Brian Wilson. Even my idol Steve Allan, I thought I was in heaven and I was. That is why when I got into position my door was always open. Although we all competed we all were happy at our friends successes.. It is this love of making music and affecting others through song that the seeds for Woodstock 69 were born, I used all my knowledge of music, I actually made a living out of while learning.

Those days in the rooms writing and the friendships that remain almost sacred to me are as clear in my soul as anything in my life.Those incredible days with brooks Arthur in the studio and others and the incredible Hugh McCracken. I am proud to carry on that message we all were sending out of NYC. It remains all about giving all you have for others. As Jerry Wexler told me when he backed out of a label deal in front of my attorney, the incredible Paul Marshall, who is back in my life again. Jerry said, “Artie “, d.” I am backing out because you said we are going to make a lot of money and I wanted you to say we will make great music”. Those  were the most important words I have heard . Since then I have carried the sword of our groundbreaking music in three buildings and the incredible world of super talented and wonderful friends. I am so happy I took a breath and through Artie Wayne’s work and others to be back home in my heart where I started, still carrying our message.

I tried to tell it all in my memoirs, scratching the surface in MY GIVE BOOK “The Pied Piper of Woodstock”, a writer is always a writer.

Peace and Love through Music.- Artie Kornfeld




Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne




  1. WS Story Says:

    So that is how you two know each other.. what an exciting time that was, I’m sure! Artie, if you have not viewed the trailer yet, check it out here

  2. Bobbi Cowan Says:

    Is Artie’s book published? Loved your piece on him and his quotes, but need to know if the book is done, where it can be ordered.
    Great job Artie, as ever.

  3. RFWoodstock Says:

    WOODSTOCK LIVES ONLINE!!!! Join us. We’re a small group of folks based at Utopia Studios in Woodstock who are keeping the spirit of Woodstock alive.

    Listen to RADIO WOODSTOCK 69 which features only music from the original Woodstock era (1967-1971) and RADIO WOODSTOCK with music from the original Woodstock era to today’s artists who reflect the spirit of Woodstock. Watch Woodstock TV.

    Go to for details and to join our Woodstock Universe online community.

    Peace, love, music,

  4. Glenn Says:

    I’ve always gotten the strong impression that Artie Kornfeld, after creating Woodstock, identified his whole self and purpose on Earth with that act. Personally, I was always more impressed by the shimmering gems of pop music he created with Steve Duboff, “Pied Piper” and “The Rain, the Park and Other Things”. If I met him I would be SO thrilled, but it would be because he co-wrote those great songs!

    So it’s good to know he HASN’T forgotten that part of his life, and even puts it in the chain of things that led to Woodstock. Thanks, Artie. Both of you!

  5. Brian Gari Says:

    Artie was there in the heart of the great pop music era. In fact, both of these Arties were and what a time it was. I came in at the tail end and I sure wish I hadn’t missed any of it!

  6. Alan O'Day Says:

    Thanks Artie,
    Nice insights into your connections with the other Artie, & people in the biz who loved music for music’s sake.

  7. jimmyboi2 Says:

    You guys were all so charmed to hang out with each other during those life-enhancing years… unforgettable, I imagine! Nice tribute : )

  8. Laura Says:

    Hi, Artie and Artie,

    The Woodstock Music & Art Fair was such a huge, enormous event of such historic proportions – a profound moment in time and space, a permanent fixture in pop culture, the single most defining happening of the 1960s – that it had never occurred to me until recently that there were actually people behind it! Woodstock seems to me to always have been, like the Moon and the stars and the Sun; it’s indelibly stamped on the face of the Universe. The concept that it actually had had organizers, human beings who dreamed a dream and then brought the dream to fruition, is one that I am only just beginning to fathom. Of course, much of my naivete may have something to do with the fact that I was just 10 years old when Woodstock happened and probably not even aware of it except on a peripheral basis. My parents were 31 years older than me and into Sinatra and Tony Bennett. I was a fan of The Archies and bubblegum music and Top Forty and AM radio. “Sugar, Sugar,” which hit #1 on the Billboard charts the same weekend that Woodstock was taking place, was my favorite song. I barely knew that The Who, Richie Havens, Joan Baez and CSN&Y even existed. It wasn’t until much later in my life when I realized just how profound the entire Woodstock experience had been, and the impact it had had on an entire generation. So, on behalf of all the children of the ’60s, I want to say THANK YOU to the Pied Piper of Woodstock, Artie Kornfeld, for bringing it all to life. I’ve just added a link to Artie K’s website to my Oldies Connection homepage along with a blurb about the book, which I am definitely looking forward to reading!

  9. To Artie W., Thanks so much for helping spread the word of Artie K.! That the Woodstock festival, that pinnacle of heavyrock, was co-founded by a popmonger from the halls of the Brill Building is a paradox I find truly exciting. If it proves nothing else, it is that people are always more complicated in real life than they seem in biographical squibs. And, that nobody should ever underestimate a Brill Building popmonger!

  10. Roger Atkins Says:

    Super article! I didn’t get to know Artie K. well when I was at Screen-gems and that was my fault. I appreciate certain people much more now than I did then and Artie is definitely one of them. Woodstock was a monumental moment in the history of the music business and the likes of it will never be seen again. But even if Woodstock never happened there would still be those wonderful songs that Artie was part of and that’s what it’s all about for me.

  11. Ira Howard Says:

    Dear Artie,
    During my nearly 50 years at Cashbox, Screen-Gems, Mills and Reasder’s Digest, I met many extremely talented people. And my good fortune included both you and Artie Kornfeld. While walking down Broadway, the week before Woodstock, Artie invited me to the upcoming event. However, I turned him down because I couldn’t get a baby-sitter. My bad, I missed one of the great events of the century. Nevertheless, I’m glad I met you guys along the way.

    Ira Howard

  12. Mike Edwards Says:

    Hi Artie,

    Thanks for bringing Artie Kornfeld’s book to my attention. Artie wrote one of my favorite “pick me up” songs, “Don’t Cry Sing Along With The Music” – a great tonic for those down moments. I have it by both the Tokens and Billy & The Essentials. Then how ’bout Jan & Dean’s “Hot Stocker” with that looooong fade-out? I’m looking forward to the book. Thanks again Artie, Mike

  13. Tommy Says:

    old time, but Woodstock spirit’s will live 4ever

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