Folk Musician Richie Haven Died of Heart Attack at 72

Published on April 22nd, 2013

On Monday, famous U.S. folk musician Richie Havens died of heart attack at the age of 72. The artist was known for his energetic guitar vibe and soulful covers of songs by then popular bands like The Beatles, The Who and Bob Dylan. Some of his greatest hits include covers of “Here Comes the Sun” and “Strawberry Fields” by The Beatles and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who.

In 1969, the artist famously opened Woodstock, where he played for three hours to a crazed crowd, with his powerful rendition of gospel song “Motherless Child/Freedom”, which became an anthem of hippies. A version of that song also became a soundtrack for “Jango Unchained.” In 1992 he also performed at Bob Dylan’s all-star 30th anniversary concert.

The musician was born in 1941 in Brooklyn in a large family, where he was the eldest of nine childen. He started out as a singer in local doo-wop groups and moved to New York in ’50, where he entered the big folk scene. In 1967, he issued his first album, “Mixed Bag.” In total, Havens released some 25 albums. From there, the musician went very far, ending up singing for Clinton and Dalai Lama. Aside from his musical career, he also did some acting. In particular, he appeared in a version of rock opera “Tommy” by The Who and played the lead part in “Catch My Soul,” a 1972 movie inspired by “Othello.”

Three years before his death, Havens dropped touring and put out his last album, “Nobody Got to Crown.” His music, deep and emotional, calls for brotherhood and personal freedom. He will always stay a symbol of the ’60 hippie era and an icon for folk fans, perpetuated in his iconic Woodstock set.

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