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"Woodstock" Crew On Difficulties Of Capturing Rock's Big Event

June 5, 2009 12:47 PM ET

We're only two months away from the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock Festival, and to celebrate Warner Bros. is reissuing Michael Wadleigh's documentary Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music as an newly remastered Ultimate Collector's Edition with more than three hours of bonus footage and never-before-seen live performances from the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Who and more. The DVD box set, which will be released on June 9th and limited to a run of 140,000 copies, will also feature Wadleigh's four-hour Director's Cut of the film.

Click above to watch an exclusive clip in which producer Eddie Kramer, Wadleigh and more talk about how difficult it was to properly record the performances, with equipment hastily set up and strung together with wires and chewing gum. The audio crew was trapped in an 8x8 tractor-trailer with no sight of the stage and only learned when to record when they heard music playing outside the back of the truck. "After the first act, all communication was in the toilet, because who knew what was going on after that," Kramer says. "It was complete chaos, but we did it."

Other featurettes on the Deluxe edition DVD include interviews with Woodstock organizer Michael Lang, Jefferson Airplane's Grace Slick and director Martin Scorsese. The set also comes with a 60-page commemorative Life Magazine reprint and reproductions of festival memorabilia and the three-day ticket. The awesomely packaged set is available in both standard and Bluray DVD.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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