Stephen Stills Band

Stills first emerged on the American music scene with "For What It's Worth", a song he wrote and sang with the legendary Buffalo Springfield in 1967. This success was followed up with the formation of the supergroup Crosby, Stills, and Nash (later adding Neil Young, a Buffalo Springfield alum). The collective enjoyed a string of hits in the late 1960s and early 70s which was augmented by successful solo efforts from each member of the group. 

Guitarist Steven Fromholz, who appears in McCrea 1971, joined the Stills Band just before their appearance at the Celebration of Life. Soon after the festival, Stills formed yet another band, Manassas, which included several members of the group who made the trip with him to Pointe Coupee Parish. Stills was not unfamiliar with Louisiana. Though he didn't graduate, he attended Louisiana State University for a short time in the early 1960s before pursuing a life in music. 

John Sebastian

John Sebastian was the founder and frontman of popular 60s act The Lovin' Spoonful, best known for hits like "Do You Believe in Magic" and "Daydream."  By the time he played Celebration of Life, Sebastian was in the third year of his solo career.  Despite never duplicating the success of his former band, Sebastian enjoyed a number one hit in 1976 with "Welcome Back." 

Chuck Berry

One of rock and roll's early pioneers, Chuck Berry had a string of hits which stretched back to 1955's "Maybellene." After a stint as one of the dominant recording artists of the late 50s and early 60s, Berry's popularity waned as musical tastes shifted toward the new sounds emanating from San Francisco and the UK.  Throughout the late 60s and early 70s, Berry remained a popular touring act on the strength of his energetic performances.   

Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes

Originally formed in 1964, The Amboy Dukes enjoyed their first commercial success with their 1968 release "Journey to the Center of the Mind". 

A series of line-up changes through 1968–71 left Nugent as the only original member of the band. Although he held on to the Amboy Dukes name until 1975, the version of the band that appeared at Celebration of Life was primarily a vehicle for Nugent's solo career, which reached its peak in the late '70s with hits like "Stranglehold" and "Cat Scratch Fever".

It's A Beautiful Day

Formed in 1967 in the midst of a burgeoning music scene that boasted the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Santana, and Big Brother and the Holding Company, It's A Beautiful Day never attained the level of popular notoriety enjoyed by some of their Bay Area peers. Despite this, their evocative and eclectic sound won them a loyal worldwide fan base. Their 1969 single "White Bird" remains one of the classics of American rock music in the late 60s.

It's A Beautiful Day's set at Celebration of Life stands out as one of the bright spots of the festival in the memories of many who attended. Guitarist Billy Gregory, who appears in McCrea 1971 and is today a mainstay of the New Orleans blues scene, played his first show with It's A Beautiful Day only three months before the band's appearance at the Celebration of Life.

Ike & Tina Turner

Although Ike & Tina Turner had enjoyed success in the UK for years by the time they appeared at the Celebration of Life, popular chart success had eluded the duo in the States. This changed just a few months prior to the festival when their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary" reached #4 and catapulted them to the upper echelons of American popular music.  Their success endured through the early 70s despite a notoriously turbulent marriage. Ike's drug problems and abuse ultimately led to divorce and propelled Tina to even greater heights in her solo career during the 1980s.

Country Joe McDonald

Country Joe McDonald was best known for his iconic appearance at the Woodstock festival in 1969 where his band, Country Joe & The Fish, performed their classic "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag".  McDonald performed solo at Celebration of Life due to the breakup of The Fish in early 1971.

The Chambers Brothers

These four brothers got their start singing in the church choir as children. After his discharge from the army in the early 1960s, George Chambers relocated to Los Angeles. His brothers followed and they soon became mainstays on the gospel circuit. 

Like many of their contemporaries in the acoustic-based gospel and folk scenes, The Chambers Brothers electrified their sound in the mid-60s, which led to a record deal and a commercial breakthrough with the 1968 release of "Time Has Come Today". Despite their strong musical output, the band broke up in 1972, just a year after appearing at the Celebration of Life.


Melanie (Melanie Safka) was a mainstay of the late 60s and early 70s festival circuit. In addition to Celebration of Life, she appeared at Woodstock and was the only artist to actually perform at the ill-fated Powder Ridge festival. Melanie traveled to Louisiana in June 1971 directly from her appearance in honor of the summer solstice at the Glastonbury Fayre (now the Glastonbury Festival). Although her most notable hit "Brand New Key" wouldn't be commercially released until later in 1971, many attendees at Celebration of Life recall her performing the iconic song at the festival.


Founded by Eric Burdon, who originally exploded on the scene as the singer of the British Invasion band the Animals (House of the Rising Sun, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood), the band enjoyed its first commercial success with 1970's "Spill the Wine". Burdon left War after collapsing on stage during a European tour in Spring 1971, just before the band's appearance at Celebration of Life. 

Pressing on without their frontman, War continued to tour and record, almost immediately producing their first hit in the post-Burdon period with "Slippin' into Darkness", released in late 1971. This kicked off a string of hit singles that would span the 1970s including "Cisco Kid", "Low Rider", and "Why Can't We Be Friends".

Brownsville Station

Brownsville Station were still relative unknowns when they performed their set at the Celebration of Life in June 1971. Their greatest success, 1973's "Smokin' in the Boys' Room," propelled them to tremendous popularity throughout the 70s.


Stoneground's eponymous debut was released just months before their appearance at the Celebration of Life. The 10-member band hailed from Concord, California and was led by Sal Valentino, the former frontman of the Beau Brummels, considered by many to be the prototypical band behind the 'San Francisco sound' of the late 60s.

Black Oak Arkansas

Black Oak Arkansas' appearance at Celebration of Life came on the heels of their self-titled debut album. They would go on to become one of the biggest touring hard-rock bands of the mid 1970s.


Bloodrock was one of the most popular bands from the hard-rock scene of the 70s and were an important catalyst in the emergence of several acts from their native Fort Worth, Texas throughout the decade. They released their most successful album Bloodrock 2 in early 1971.  The lead single from the album, "D.O.A.," peaked at #36 on the Billboard charts just two months prior to Celebration of Life.

Jimmy Witherspoon with Eric Burdon

Jimmy Witherspoon was a blues shouter with hit records dating back to the mid 40s. His popularity declined in the late 50s due to the explosion of rock and roll.  Like many of his blues contemporaries, Witherspoon enjoyed a resurgence in the 60s due to the heavy influence of American blues on popular British bands of the era.

In early 1971, former Animals frontman Eric Burdon, then fronting War, collapsed on stage and withdrew from the rest of War's tour, ultimately leaving the band. War went on to become one of the most popular acts of the 70s, while Burdon withdrew to record a blues album with Jimmy Witherspoon called Guilty!.  The Witherspoon/Burdon appearance at Celebration of Life was part of a tour to promote the album. 

Ballin' Jack

Ballin' Jack was part of the American horn rock genre that enjoyed some success in the early 1970s. Hailing from Seattle, Washington, the band emerged on the scene with a minor hit, "Super Highway", in 1970. They accompanied Jimi Hendrix on what would be the final tour before his death later that year. Ballin' Jack's self-titled debut album is perhaps most notable for yielding the song "Found A Girl," best remembered as the source of the sample that drove Young MC's 1989 Grammy-winning hit "Bust A Move."

Boz Scaggs

Boz Scaggs originally gained notoriety as a guitarist and singer with San Francisco's Steve Miller Band. His appearance at Celebration of Life came soon after his departure from that group.  His greatest solo success wouldn't come until a string of hits in the late 70s and early 80s.

Delaney and Bonnie

Husband-and-wife duo Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett had both been involved in the music business long before gaining name-recognition of their own. Delaney was a long-time session player, while Bonnie was already an accomplished singer in her teens. At 14 she performed with legendary bluesman Albert King and at the tender age of 15 became, remarkably, the first white Ikette (the female background singers and dancers in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue). She disguised her pale skin and blonde hair with a spray tan and a black wig. After marrying Delaney, the pair fronted a rotating ensemble called Delany & Bonnie and Friends, which boasted an impressive list of on-and-off participants including George Harrison, Leon Russell, Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, and Eric Clapton. 

Glass Harp

Glass Harp was a Youngstown, Ohio trio who released their debut album in 1970. In contrast to the tight production of their studio albums, the band became known for their ability to stretch arrangements in the live setting. Coming to prominence as a opening act for many of the most successful progressive and jazz-rock bands of the early 70s, the band is today remembered as one of the prototypical jam-rock bands––a genre that gained steam throughout the 70s and 80s and only fully bloomed in the early 90s.

Ruth Copeland

Ruth Copeland was an English singer whose brief career was a strange mix of seemingly opposing influences. Initially interested in country and British folk music, she came to prominence through an unlikely collaboration with American funk-rock pioneer George Clinton and his Parliament-Funkadelic collective.

Copeland, an early label mate with Clinton, initially came to work with the group as a songwriter on the first Parliament album, receiving credit on a handful of singles and album tracks. She also performed vocals with the group in the studio. Alongside her involvement with Clinton, she began recording her solo debut, working with members of the Funkadelic half of the Clinton collective. Several members of Funkadelic broke off from the group and became permanent members of Copeland's touring and recording band.