Woodstock icon Richie Havens dead at 72

Richie Havens

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Musician Richie Havens, who performed first at the Woodstock music festival, poses in front of a Hippies "Magic Bus" replica at "The Story of the Sixties and Woodstock" at the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a gallery built on the site of the 1969 Woodstock music festival in Bethel, New York. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

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by MESFIN FEKADU

Associated Press

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 5:24 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Richie Havens, who sang and strummed for a sea of people at Woodstock, has died of a heart attack Monday, his family said in a statement. He was 72.

Havens, a folk singer and guitarist, was the first performer at the three-day 1969 Woodstock Festival. He returned to the site during the 40th anniversary in 2009.

"Everything in my life, and so many others, is attached to that train," he said in a 2009 interview with The Associated Press.

Havens was born in Brooklyn. He was known for his crafty guitar work and cover songs, including his well-received impersonation of Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman."

The singer's website said he had kidney surgery years ago and that he never recovered enough to perform concerts like he used to.

Havens performed at Bill Clinton's presidential Inauguration in 1993. He has released more than 25 albums. His last album was 2008's "Nobody Left to Crown."

"I really sing songs that move me," he said in an interview with The Denver Post. "I'm not in show business; I'm in the communications business. That's what it's about for me."

A public memorial will be planned for a later date.


Richie Havens sings "Freedom" at Woodstock in 1969

 

 

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