Bert Sommer

The Forgotten Woodstock Music Artist


    ert Sommer got a standing ovation at Woodstock 1969, the greatest music festival in history, yet today only a few music lovers know his name. Here on Spotlight On The Artist is Bert's music legacy—along with the story of his life through the voices of people who love the man and his music.

Spotlight On The Artist interviewed Bert's many bandmates, friends, and fans. Listen to the stories and enjoy Bert Sommer's music in this multipart celebration of his life.

Host Paris Stachtiaris was lucky to find Sharon Watts (sharonwattscreative.com) who is currently researching the life of Bert Sommer for her latest book. Sharon became fascinated with Bert and wants to share his story and music with the world. See more of her writing at Sharon Watts Writes (sharonwattswrites.com).

Our first of many interviews of what will be an on going time line exploring and celebrating Bert's life will be with Sharon Watts. Find out just how she stumbled across Bert, and what's kept her reeled in. Check her websites for updates on her book, whose working title is Smile! The Music, Life and Times of Bert Sommer.

Bert Sommer

To start Spotlight On The Artist’s Bert Sommer Special” is an interview with author Sharon Watts. Join us now as Sharon Watts shares her explorations into the little known life of the real Bert Sommer with Spotlight hosts Paris and Ben.

Everyone has contradictions - all part of the human psyche. Having higher brain function than the other animals on earth, we are gifted with the ability to reason and think, but as sentient humans beings, we also acquire a lot of extra baggage.

Having settled that, we will now celebrate the life and music of the artist Bert Sommer.

Spotlight On The Artist zero’s in on the gifts that a person gives to his fellow man.  We like to Celebrate the high points of a person’s life, smoothing over the low times and always enjoying the best side of an Artist.

Sharon Watts

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Ira Stone

Guitarist Ira Stone was backing Bert Sommer on the Woodstock Stage in 1969. Like the others on that momentous weekend, he had no conception of the history he was involved in making. The band came together just in time for a few weeks rehearsal before they played their first gig in front of half-a-million, music-hungry Woodstock fans. 

In Ira’s own words, his account of meeting and performing with Bert Sommer.

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Johnny Rabb

Johnny Rabb and Bert Sommer became close friends, bandmates, and roommates over the years. They both had an unstoppable drive to perform, a love for music, and a true brother-like camaraderie that reached out to all their bandmates. 

Johnny is a local rock star fixture in Albany, and still performs with multiple bands. Sharing many colorful stories of his time with Bert, Johnny Rabb joins our celebration of the life and music of Bert Sommer.

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Michael Lembeck

Michael Lembeck is a Hollywood movie and TV powerhouse. He directed both Santa Clause 2 & 3, and episodes of Coach, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Major Dad. He acted in Clint Eastwood's Hang ‘Em High and TV’s Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and One Day At a Time. And the list goes on, with over 400 TV episodes and 10 feature films.

Michael was Kaptain Kool and Bert was Flatbush in the 1970s children's TV series Kaptain Kool and the Kongs. They clicked, and also co-wrote and sang music together (“When You Feel It”). Join Michael as we celebrate Bert Sommer’s life and music here on Spotlight On The Artist.

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Michael Lembeck

Ron Dante

Award-winning music director and producer Ron Dante began as a singer (“Leader of the Laundromat,” “Sugar, Sugar”). He quickly evolved behind the scenes as the “go-to” producer for hit records, scoring countless major successes with Barry Manilow and many other top artists of the 1970-80s.

Ron not only calls Bert Sommer a friend from the early days of Hair, he also produced Bert’s final album in 1977. A recent guest here at Spotlight On The Artist, Ron shares fascinating tidbits about the record business along with his fond memories of Bert Sommer in the studio.

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