Richie Havens on Greenwich Street in Tribeca in 2011, reading The Cambridge Companion to the Sonnet
[Photograph by Lawrence Schwartzwald.]
Richie Havens, the folk singer and guitarist who was the first performer at the 1969 Woodstock Festival, died Monday. He was 72.
Havens died of a heart attack in New Jersey, his family said in a statement. He was born in Brooklyn.
Havens was known for his crafty guitar work and cover songs, including his well-received cover of Bob Dylan’s Just Like a Woman.
His performance at the three-day 1969 Woodstock Festival, where headliners included Jimi Hendrix, was a turning point in his career. He was the first act to hit the stage, performing for nearly three hours. His performance of Freedom — based from the spiritual Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child — became an anthem. Havens returned to the site during Woodstock’s 40th anniversary in 2009.
“Everything in my life, and so many others, is attached to that train,” he said in an interview that year with The Associated Press.(CBC)
“Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.-Ralph Waldo Emerson