Skip to main content

Richie Havens dies aged 72

American folk musician Richie Havens has died of a heart attack aged 72.

Havens was a prominent figure within the '60s folk scene in New York and is widely known for his opening performance at Woodstock in '69. He performed a three-hour set at the festival culminating in an impassioned, improvised version of the Gospel standard Motherless Child, which morphed into the song Freedom. It proved to be an iconic moment for the festival and a turning point in Havens' career.

Havens was known for rhythmically propulsive acoustic guitar style, along with his soulful reworking of tracks by the likes of the Beatles and The Who.

He passed away at his home in Jersey City, New Jersey.