Richie Havens obituary

American musician known for his performance at Woodstock who put a soulful, fiery twist on folk songs and covers

Richie Havens, who has died of a heart attack aged 72, is best known for his opening performance at the historic 1969 Woodstock festival. He had been scheduled to go on fifth, but major traffic snarl-ups delayed many of the performers, so he was put on first and told to perform a lengthy set.

He entranced the audience for three hours, being called back time and again for encores. With his repertoire exhausted, he improvised a song based on the spiritual Motherless Child. This became Freedom, his best known song and an anthem for a generation. His inclusion on the subsequent film of the festival – where he can be seen strutting around the stage, pouring every ounce of emotion into the song – further enhanced his reputation. The song was included on the soundtrack
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

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