On August 15,1969 black folk music singer Richie Havens opened the legendary Woodstock festival in Bethel, New York. Woodstock Music & Arts Festival was considered by many as the most pivotal point in mainstream music history. Havens was supposed to be the fifth act of the show, but due to a technical issue, he kicked off the festival for over 500,000 people. After his first song, Havens was asked to perform four more songs, including an impromptu version of “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” which later became a cover song for the Woodstock movie. (Watch video of performance below.)
Raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn with eight siblings, Havens learned music from his father, a factory worker and nighttime piano player. The young musician was raised on the sounds of doo wop, but as he got older, he wanted to sing about social change. He began listening to artists like Fred Neil, Dino Valenti and Tom Paxton. Havens stood six and a half feet tall and recorded with a soft voice for a predominately white folk music audience.
It wasn’t an easy road for Havens. He and other musicians would play at local coffee houses, featuring 14-20 minute sets per night. The pay was by donation for many performances. Havens performed under those conditions for seven years. He was soon discovered by Bob Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman. In 1968, he released his debut album entitled “Mixed Bag” under the Verve/Folkways label.
Then came his Woodstock performance.
It was only a year later that Havens recorded a successful cover of the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” in 1970. He soon launched a successful music and acting career. He starred as Othello in the 1974 rock musical “Catch My Soul” and appeared in “Greased Lightning” (1977) opposite Richard Pryor.
Havens took to the road, touring for nearly 40 years, only retiring in his late sixties. Havens co-wrote one of his more famous songs,”Handsome Johnny”, with actor Lou Gossett Jr. He released 21 albums throughout his career and presented his final album “Nobody Left to Crown” in 2008.
In 2009, Richie Havens returned to Woodstock for the 40th anniversary celebration, the place where he gained half a million fans in a three-hour set.
On April 22, 2013, Richie Havens died of a heart attack at his home in New Jersey. He was 72 years old. His ashes will be scattered at the scene of his first big performance at Woodstock, which is now Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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