Archive for April 23rd, 2013




Richie Havens, the opening act at the 1969 Woodstock music festival, died Monday of a sudden heart attack. He was 72.

Havens, who retired three years ago, toured for more than 30 years and recorded 30 albums.

Havens told Billboard that his breakthrough at Woodstock came after another artist’s equipment got stuck in traffic. He was supposed to be the fifth act.

“It was 5 o’clock and nothing was happening yet,” Havens told Billboard. “I had the least instruments and the least people.”

So Havens went on and performed for 40 minutes as planned. Organizers asked him to do four more songs.

“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,” he said.

Havens, a Brooklyn NY native, told CNN that music enabled him to leave his rough neighborhood to head to Greenwich Village and the music scene there. He never looked back.

Billboard reported Havens died in New Jersey, leaving behind four daughters and five grandchildren.


Groove of the Day 

Listen to Richie Havens performing “Freedom”