Turn it up to 11: tech's contributions to rock and roll

Many of rock's greatest moments hinge on shifts in music technology. Here is a chronology of some of the highlights.

Woodstock Music & Art Festival (1969)

The Baby Boomers' defining moment occurred 40 years ago, when 500,000 people congregated on a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, to rock out for three whole days. Only four years had elapsed since the Beatles' woefully underpowered show at Shea Stadium, but technology responded with ever-larger amplifiers for performers like Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane.

The success of Woodstock's sound system is due to audio engineer Bill Hanley, whose specially designed setup consisted of custom-built microphones, Shure mixers, and a unique two-tiered speaker system that ensured that people at the far edge of the vast crowd could still hear the music — which probably did more than anything else to prevent the crowded concertgoers from running amok.

Photo: Courtesy of Sobrefotos.com

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