Guitar's biggest names tell us what really happened at Woodstock

The Who’s Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon and Pete Townshend perform at Woodstock August 16, 1969 (Image credit: Archive Photos/Getty Images)

50 years ago, Artist Arnold Skolnick was commissioned to design a poster for the original Woodstock festival. He came up with the image of a dove - an age-old symbol of peace - perched on a flute, an instrument in vogue with the hippie counterculture at the time, but at the last minute, the flute was replaced with a guitar neck.

It was a timely substitution. Woodstock was the culmination of a five-year period that had seen the emergence of the electric guitar as the preeminent instrument of rock music - a potent symbol in its own right of the free-spirited, politically engaged, spiritually aware youth culture of the 1960s.

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Alan di Perna

In a career that spans five decades, Alan di Perna has written for pretty much every magazine in the world with the word “guitar” in its title, as well as other prestigious outlets such as Rolling Stone, Billboard, Creem, Player, Classic Rock, Musician, Future Music, Keyboard, and He is author of Guitar Masters: Intimate Portraits, Green Day: The Ultimate Unauthorized History and co-author of Play It Loud: An Epic History of the Sound Style and Revolution of the Electric Guitar. The latter became the inspiration for the Metropolitan Museum of Art/Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibition “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll.” As a professional guitarist/keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist, Alan has worked with recording artists Brianna Lea Pruett, Fawn Wood, Brenda McMorrow, Sat Kartar and Shox Lumania.