Canned Heat gained international attention and secured their niche in the pages of rock ‘n roll history with their performances at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival (along with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Who) and the headlining slot at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969. Alan Wilson was already renowned for his distinctive harmonica work when he accompanied veteran bluesman, Son House, on his rediscovery album, “Father of the Delta Blues.” Hite took the name Canned Heat from a 1928 recording by Tommy Johnson..
They were joined by Henry “The Sunflower” Vestine, another ardent record collector and former member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, capable of fretboard fireworks at a moment’s notice. Rounding out the band in 1967 were Larry “The Mole” Taylor on bass, an experienced session musician who had played with Jerry Lee Lewis and The Monkees and Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra on drums who had played in two of the biggest Latin American bands, Los Sinners and Los Hooligans and then with The Platters, The Shirelles, T-Bone Walker and Etta James
Vestine missed playing at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, having quit the band the previous week. In 1995, he explained to an Australian reporter that "[a]t the time, it was just another gig. It was too bad I wasn’t there, but I just couldn’t continue with the band at the time." There had been some tension between him and bassist Larry Taylor. When Taylor quit Canned Heat, Vestine returned; their alternating membership in the band was to be repeated a few more times over the years.