Richie Havens, RIP
by Justin Farrar | April 24, 2013
The Woodstock generation lost one of its most mythical -- and most compassionate -- icons when a heart attack claimed the life of Richie Havens on April 22. He was 72. A mainstay in New York City's thriving folk-revival scene all throughout the '60s, the singer and guitarist exploded onto the national stage when he opened the legendary Woodstock Music & Art Fair in 1969. Havens was known for his sweaty performances and wildly intense strumming style, and he proved it that day with an epic set that lasted for nearly three hours, ending in a sprawling ocean of young people hopping and hollering for more.
Far more of an interpreter than a songwriter, Havens put his unique stamp on numerous songs over his five-decade-long career, including the folk standard "High Flyin' Bird" (first appearing on his 1967 masterpiece Mixed Bag), Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm" (Havens' voice is so damn gruff on this one) and a propulsive rendition of The Beatles' chestnut "Here Comes the Sun" that truly made the song his own.
In addition to our Richie Havens memorial playlist, please do explore the handful of his albums we've selected below.