Playlist for folk musician Richie Havens dead at 72

Richie Havens will be remembered for his soulful voice and his thoughtful reinterpretations of the classics of his time. (PHOTO CREDIT: Benoit Tessier/Reuters)
Richie Havens will be remembered for his soulful voice and his thoughtful reinterpretations of the classics of his time.
Credit: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Folk musician Richie Havens, who opened the historic 1969 Woodstock musical festival and energized the crowd with his version of “Motherless Child/Freedom,” died of a heart attack Monday at the age of 72, his talent agency said.

Havens, who emerged from the New York folk scene in the 1960s and went on to sing for the Dalai Lama and former President Bill Clinton, died at his home in Jersey City, N.J., Roots Agency President Tim Drake told Reuters.

His family said a public memorial would be announced later and asked for privacy in the meantime.

“Beyond his music, those who have met Havens will remember his gentle and compassionate nature, his light humor and his powerful presence,” his family said in a statement.

Known for his driving acoustic guitar and soulful covers of songs by The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Who, Havens used his music to champion the causes of personal freedom and brotherhood.

He retired from touring three years ago and released what would be his final album, “Nobody Left to Crown,” in 2008.

Havens’ improvised version of the gospel song “Motherless Child” evolved into “Freedom” at Woodstock and became an anthem of the 1960s hippie generation.

His performance at Woodstock, where he opened the festival and played for three hours, proved a breakthrough and the inclusion of the song on the “Woodstock” concert movie broadened his audience.

A different version of “Freedom” was included on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s award-winning 2012 slavery-era movie “Django Unchained.”

In the 1970s, Havens branched out into acting, appearing in the 1972 version of The Who’s rock opera “Tommy” and taking the lead role in the “Othello”-inspired 1974 movie “Catch My Soul.”

Havens sang at Clinton’s 1993 inauguration, performed several times for the Dalai Lama, and gave a showstopping performance of “Just Like a Woman” at the all-star Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert in 1992.

Other Havens hits included versions of Beatles classics “Here Comes the Sun” and “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

Havens was born in Brooklyn on Jan. 21, 1941, the eldest of nine children, and began singing in neighborhood doo-wop groups. In the late 1950s, he went to Greenwich Village, where he performed poetry, drew and immersed himself in the folk music scene.

In 1967, Havens released “Mixed Bag,” the first of some 25 albums.

Here is a listen back at some of his finest work.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…