Richie Havens Who Opened at Woodstock Found Dead [VIDEO]
Richie Havens,the first act to hit the stage at Woodstock, died of a heart attack on Monday, April 22. He was 72. In an earlier post, I explained in depth of my respect for Richie, complete with video. From the beginning, when he played Village folk clubs in the mid-Sixties, Havens stood out because of the rhythmic style in with he played the guitar. Havens, played piano; as a teenager,and eventually wound up in Greenwich Village.playing the folk clubs.
Havens wasn't supposed to be the first act to open the festival; that slot originally was intended for the band Sweetwater, but that band wound up being stuck in traffic. Backstage, co-organizer Michael Lang approached Havens and practically begged him to go on instead. "It had to be Richie – I knew he could handle it," Lang later wrote.
An article in Rolling Stone states that after performing a half-dozen songs, Havens ran out of material – Havens began chanting that word Freedom over and over and eventually segued into the gospel song "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" which he had heard in church as a child. It later became a highlight of the Woodstock movie,