Grace Slick in a blue velvet suit. Gram Parsons smashing a tambourine. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young appearing like they like each other. Altamont will forever be known as the Death of the Sixties. But the Library of Congress has made the story even more sunny with previously unreleased footage.
The 30-minute clip — released via the Congress’Blog — contains no sound, with a fuzzy home video quality that looks as if your drunk aunt filmed your backyard family barbecue. But it also shows that Altamont was not just a Rolling Stones concert that went terribly wrong. It was where Meredith Hunter, an 18 year old fan of Hells Angels, was stabbed to death.
We see footage that is not in the video. Gimme Shelter, like the Flying Burrito Brothers’ performance at nine minutes in. Gram Parsons dominates the stage while Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and others marvel from afar. Richards performed the same night. “Wild Horses” for Parsons, which he ended up covering on Burrito DeluxeOne year later. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young take the stage around 11 minutes, ironically kicking off with “Woodstock.”(Following the festival the supergroup would travel to UCLA for the second concert of their day.
Neely Tucker writes in the blog that the Library of Congress discovered the footage from the 200,000 reels of film it received 20 years ago, via Rick Prelinger. Two reels of film were found by a technician. “Stones in the Park,”Neely mistakenly assumed that it was the 1969 Hyde Park Show. He was surprised to discover he was wrong.
“Many people know the Gimme Shelter documentary pretty well, but there’s a lot more in this home movie,”He wrote. “Although the footage is silent, we were all thrilled to see close-up footage of concert performers who were cut from the film, such as Carlos Santana and Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. Gram Parsons performing with the Flying Burrito Brothers was especially amazing, as you can only see the back of his skull in this film. Gimme Shelter.“