He was the one, who opened Woodstock 1969 and now, He is with Jimi, Janis and the rest.
Here is Rich Havens talking about his Woodstock 1969 performance:
NEW YORK (AP) — Richie Havens, the folk singer and guitarist who was the first performer at Woodstock, died Monday at age 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.
Woodstock remains one of the events that continues to define the 1960s in the popular imagination. Performers included The Who, Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and dozens of others, and the trippy anarchy of Woodstock has become legendary. There was lots of nudity, casual sex, dirty dancing and open drug use. The stage announcer famously warned people to steer clear of the brown acid.
Havens had originally been scheduled to go on fifth but had been bumped up because of travel delays. Festival producer Michael Lang said in the book “The Road to Woodstock” that he chose Havens “because of his calm but powerful demeanor.”
His performance lasted hours because the next act hadn’t showed up.
“So I’d go back and sing three more,” Havens said in an interview with NPR. “This happened six times. So I sung every song I knew.”
Havens’ website said that he had kidney surgery in 2010 and that he never recovered enough to perform concerts like he used to. He performed at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration in 1993. — NYT
More Via Guitar Player Magazine:
Folk music singer and guitarist Richie Havens, who opened the 1969 Woodstock music festival, died Monday, April 22, of a heart attack at his home in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was 72.
Havens, who retired from performing three years ago, toured for more than 40 years and recorded 30 albums. However, he’ll probably be best known as the opening act at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, where he performed one of his most famous songs, “Freedom,” his own version of a spiritual called “Motherless Child.”
Actually, that day, Havens had no choice but to play every song he knew.
Scheduled fifth on the bill for the opening day of the Woodstock festival on August 15, 1969, Havens and his band were forced to go on early because other bands were busy fighting traffic on the way to the festival grounds in Bethel, New York.
“It was 5 o’clock and nothing was happening yet,” Havens told Billboard. “I had the least instruments (to set up on stage) and the least people (in his band).” Havens performed for 40 minutes. “I went back and did that, then it was, ‘Four more songs …,’ and that kept happening ’til two hours and 45 minutes later, I had sung every song I know.”
May he rest in peace.