Bert Sommer is often referred to as the lost star from Woodstock. Those who have only seen the documentary film, or heard the two sets released from the 1969 festival can be forgiven, however, if they are utterly unfamiliar with his name. Sommer was one of a tiny handful of performers who played the festival but never accrued career success, much less fame and fortune, coming out of it. Sommer was born in 1949, and grew up on Long Island. He was drawn to folk music as well as to pop and rock, and became part of the orbit of musicians that coalesced around that New York suburb's music scene. He was a natural musician who was self-taught on the guitar and piano, and who also wrote songs. By his mid-teens, he had become close to Michael Brown, later of the Left Banke, with whom he frequently performed in the early years. But he also traveled in circles that included Leslie West's much harder rocking band the Vagrants, for whom he wrote several songs. His first moment of potential fame as a performer came amid the tumultuous first year or so the Left Banke's fame, when Sommer replaced original lead singer Steve Martin on the single "And Suddenly." But the original lineup was back together soon after that, and that single -- which, thanks to the controversy (including a lawsuit) over the lineup and the use of the name, was never on any of their albums -- was more of a curio in their output than one of its highlights. Sommer was drawn to acting, as well, and by 1968 he had landed the role of "Woof" in the musical Hair, replacing Steve Curry, who had originated the role -- with his frizzed-out Afro, wide, open features, and gentle, cheerful demeanor, he seemed the epitome of genial hippie-dom in the prime days of the counter-culture.