Legendary folk songwriter Richie Havens dies at 72

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richie havens

It's never a good day when you have to write two obituaries within eight hours of each other. Richie Havens, legendary songwriter, folk singer, and opener of the very first Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, has passed away at 72. The man was a legend with folk songwriting, doing an incredibly memorable, heartfelt cover of The Beatles' “Here Comes the Sun” in addition to releasing 21 studio albums over a near forty-year career. His style was immaculately soulful and often incorporated open tuning on his acoustic guitar. Havens' voice was raspy and warm, and the footage of his opening performance at Woodstock in 1969 is a monument to the power of his vocals and lyricism.

He died of a sudden heart attack this morning at his home. Watch a video of Havens performing “Freedom” at Woodstock below, a performance that quickly propelled Havens to worldwide and well deserved fame.