Richie Havens - High Flying Bird (live in 1974)
Rest in Peace, Richie!
I’d like to pay my respects to Richie Havens who passed away at the age of 72. Havens became an overnight icon when he opened Woodstock playing for nearly three hours. However, playing Woodstock was not the highlight of his career. Havens released 13 albums that made it to the Billboard charts and also was in films with Bob Dylan and Richard Pryor.
Putting all of the accolades to the side, I believe that anyone who is an audiophile or a music fan owes this man a great deal of gratitude. Havens paved the way for a lot of musicians, especially those who went against the grain.
After being on the road for nearly 45 years, Havens had to hang up the towel last year. His booking agency, Roots Agency, released the following statement:
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.
You will not be forgotten. Rest in Peace.
A few years ago, I was living in Ireland. I was painting in the fields and falling asleep alot and listening to Richie Havens on my walkman. He kind of became this comforting empowering voice in my head. When I got home, we showed our artwork in upstate new york and Richie Havens happened to be playing at our show. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced, and I will miss his amazing voice and beautiful presence in the world. xoxo.