It has been reported that American folk singer and famed guitarist Richie Havens passed away on April 22, 2013 at the age of 72. Here’s the top five facts you need to know about his passing and his legacy:
1. His Booking Agency Reported on His Passing
Richie Havens’ booking agency, The Roots Agency, released an “in memoriam” statement in honor of the deceased performer:
The Roots Agency represented Richie Havens for many years and regrets to post of his passing on April 22, 2013.
RICHIE HAVENS was gifted with one of the most recognizable voices in popular music. His fiery, poignant, soulful singing style has remained unique and ageless since his historic appearance at Woodstock in 1969. For four decades, Havens used his music to convey passionate messages of brotherhood and personal freedom. Billboard Magazine writes, “This acoustic soul giant truly seems to be getting more inspiring and graceful with age.”
From Woodstock to The Isle of Wight to Glastonbury to the Fillmore Auditorium to Royal Albert Hall to Carnegie Hall, Richie played the most legendary music festivals that ever were, and most of the world’s greatest concert venues. But even when performing in a Greenwich Village coffeehouse or a small club or regional theater, he was eternally grateful that people in any number turned up each time to hear him sing. More than anything, he feels incredibly blessed to have met so many of you along the way.
2. He Was The Opening Act at the 1969 Woodstock Festival
His stirring instrumental performance of the song Freedom can be seen in the above video.
3. He Released Albums From 1968 Till 2008
Richie’s first album (A Richie Havens’ Record) was released on vinyl in 1965. His last record (Nobody Left to Crown) was released in 2008. Richie’s most famous singles include the 1972 hits Freedom and What About Me.
4. He Published an Autobiography in 2000
In 2000, Havens published an autobiography titled They Can’t Hide Us Anymore, which was co-written with Steve Davidowitz. The Amazon profile page description reads:
In this warm, highly personal narrative, Richie Havens recounts a musical career that began on the streets of Bed-Stuy and matured amidst the creative explosion that was Greenwich Village in the Sixties, where he joined other blazing talents in bringing lush poetry and a social conscience to popular music. From Richie’s unique vantage point, we watch the emerging careers of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, Lou Gossett, Jr. (who co-wrote one of Richie’s most famous songs), John Sebastian, Cass Elliott, Peter, Paul & Mary, and more. He also describes the friendship that created his foundation for marine study and conservation, the remarkable song that sent him on a mission of peace to the Middle East, his work mobilizing schoolchildren as environmental activists, and the true legacy of the generation that announced its presence through music and is now in the process of passing the torch to its own descendants.
5. He’s Done Plenty of Charity Work
Richie has performed at many charity-themed concerts during his career. He also opened an oceanographic children’s museum on the City Island in the Bronx called the Northwind Undersea Institute. This museum played an integral part in the creation of The Natural Guard, an organization that looks to inform children about their natural environment. On April 12, 1991, Richie was the recipient of the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award in Sherborn, Massachusetts.