Jambase reports that folk music icon Richie Havens has died at the age of 72. Havens, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, performed for more than four decades, one of his most famous performances being a three-hour set that began Woodstock in 1969.
Havens recorded and performed for more than 45 years, with a signature style of folk music that had a soulful edge to it. Among his many recordings are numerous Beatles covers, such as “Eleanor Rigby,” “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Here Comes the Sun.” In 2012, Havens had to stop touring as a result of complications from kidney surgery.
Havens also devoted much of his time to environmental causes and charity, and in 1991, he won the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award.
The Roots Agency, Haven’s longtime representation, made the following statement after his passing:
RICHIE HAVENS was gifted with one of the most recognizable voices in popular music. His fiery, poignant, soulful singing style has remained unique and ageless since his historic appearance at Woodstock in 1969. For four decades, Havens used his music to convey passionate messages of brotherhood and personal freedom. Billboard Magazine writes, “This acoustic soul giant truly seems to be getting more inspiring and graceful with age.” From Woodstock to The Isle of Wight to Glastonbury to the Fillmore Auditorium to Royal Albert Hall to Carnegie Hall, Richie played the most legendary music festivals that ever were, and most of the world’s greatest concert venues. But even when performing in a Greenwich Village coffeehouse or a small club or regional theater, he was eternally grateful that people in any number turned up each time to hear him sing. More than anything, he feels incredibly blessed to have met so many of you along the way.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.