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DEDICATION OF PEACE ABBEY STATUE AT
HOLY FAMILY CHURCH IN DUXBURY, MA
- Wednesday 24 April 2013, UK
“Havens’s appearance at Woodstock cemented his reputation. “Everything in my life, and so many others’, is attached to that train,” he later observed. It was surely that iconic performance, captured in the film of the event, which subsequently secured his invitation to play at Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993, two years after receiving the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award. “Richie Havens was one of the nicest, most generous and pure individuals I have ever met,” said his old Greenwich Village friend Stephen Stills, of Crosby, Stills & Nash. “He was very wise in the ways of our calling. He always caught fire every time he played.” Noting that Havens died on Earth Day, the singer’s official website marked his passing with the typically humble epitaph, “Say not in grief, ‘He is no more’, but live in thankfulness that he was”.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBS NewYork) — Folk music legend and Brooklyn native Richie Havens died Monday at the age of 72.
Mr. Havens’ death was announced Monday afternoon. He died of a sudden heart attack in his Jersey City home, according to booking agent Tim Drake.
Born in Brooklyn in 1941, Mr. Havens performed with the McCrea Gospel Singers in his native borough as a teenager before taking on the folk scene in Greenwich Village during his 20s.
“I saw the Village as a place to escape to in order to express yourself,” Mr. Havens said in a 2008 biography on his own Web site. “I had first gone there during the beatnik days of the 1950s to perform poetry, then I drew portraits for two years and stayed up all night listening to folk music in the clubs. It took a while before I thought of picking up a guitar.”
Mr. Havens landed a record deal in 1967, and released five albums before his legendary appearance as the opening performer at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in 1969. He performed a lengthy set, and but was best remembered for the improvised song, “Freedom,” an improvisation of the spiritual, “Motherless Child.”
His cover of the George Harrison-penned Beatles song “Here Comes the Sun” was also among his best-known hits, making No. 16 on the U.S. pop charts in 1971.
Mr. Havens went on to found his own record label, Stormy Forest, and branched into acting in the 1970s — appearing in the 1972 stage interpretation of “The Who’s Tommy,” as Othello in the 1974 movie “Catch My Soul,” and alongside Richard Pryor in the 1977 film “Greased Lightning.”
Mr. Havens was also a producer of the 25th anniversary Woodstock ’94 festival. In all, he put out 21 studio albums and went on several world tours. He also won the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award for his charity work in 1991, according to published reports. Mr. Havens retired from performing three years ago, Drake said. A public memorial will be planned for a future date.
Havens toured and recorded for decades until complications from kidney surgery left him unable to tour after 45 years in 2012. In addition to putting out 21 studio albums and touring the world numerous times, Havens also devoted much of his time to charity. In 1991 he received the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award from singer/song writer Marsha Taylor.
Here’s the announcement from Havens’ longtime representatives, The Roots Agency:
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.
Top photo: Richie Havens receiving the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award with Kathy Hennessey, Lewis Randa and Marsha Taylor.
Middle photo: Sue McDermott, Paul DeMotte and Richie Havens at the Legacy of the Peace Movement event at the JFK Library in 1992.
Lower photos: Richie Havens presenting the Courage of Conscience Award to Dr. Benjamin Spock and performing at JFK Library in 1992,
Bottom 4 photos: Courtesy of the University Archives & Special Collections Department, Joseph P. Healey Library,University of Massachusetts Boston : Peace Abbey Collection