"Woodstock." Song in the contemporary folk style, in the key of E minor; music and lyrics by Joni Mitchell. "Woodstock" enshrines the seminal August 1969 music festival of that name; Mitchell wrote it while watching the festival on television. The rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young recorded it on the album Déja Vu (Atlantic SD 7200, 1970); their single entered the RPM top 100 charts in Canada 28 Mar 1970, eventually reaching no. 3 in Canada, and no. 11 on the US Billboard charts. A cover version by the Assembled Multitude also was popular in late 1970 in Canada and the US. A third version, by British group Matthews Southern Comfort, reached no. 4 on the CHUM charts 24 Apr 1971, and went to no. 1 in the UK. In 1970, "Woodstock" was published by Siquomb Publishing of New York; it has since been included in several songbooks.
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young again recorded "Woodstock" in 1974 on the LP So Far (Atlantic SD 18100). Joni Mitchell has herself recorded the song several times, beginning with her 1970 LP Ladies of the Canyon. Among others who have recorded cover versions are Led Zeppelin, Richie Havens, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Wonder.
"Woodstock" is often referred to as the anthem for a generation. Mitchell's reflective lyrics characterize the Woodstock festival's optimism and that generation's idealistic quest for simpler values and a return to nature. In 2007 "Woodstock" was inducted by the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.