Artie Kornfeld

Business, Rock | 2018

Born in Brooklyn in 1942, “Father of Woodstock” Arthur “Artie” Kornfeld would become one of the most respected composers, publishers, producers, and promoters in the history of rock and roll. In the early 1950s, he was raised in Levittown, New York, but his family moved constantly (he attended six different schools). Kornfeld started playing symphonic trumpet but loved the rock music he was hearing on the radio and got his first guitar in 1956. He soon found himself with a record deal and on stage with Dion and the Belmonts and performing with The Skyliners, singing backup. He became a vice president of Capitol Records in his early twenties, making him the youngest to hold the position. Kornfeld, along with Steve Duboff, teamed up as the pop/folk group, The Changin’ Times. They wrote and recorded “The Pied Piper” in 1965 (Crispian St. Peters’s cover of the song would become a hit) and were the opening act for Sonny and Cher during their “I Got You Babe” tour. By 1966, Kornfeld had written over 75 Billboard charted songs and participated in more than 150 albums. In 1969, Kornfeld left Capitol Records to co-create, with Mike Lang, the legendary Woodstock Music & Art Festival—an idea that came to them one night at two o’clock in the morning after a game of bumper pool.

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