Richie Havens in 2009. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Richie Havens in 2009. (Eric Thayer / Reuters)


“I’d go back and sing three more. This happened six times. So I sung every song I knew.”


Richie Havens explaining why he opened Woodstock with a three-hour performance: Because all the other acts were stuck in traffic that snarled the unexpectedly massive concert. The soulful folk singer and guitarist, who died this week at 72, recognized that the simple yet epic performance he gave that day in 1969, accompanied by just his drummer and another guitarist, was a turning point in his career. “Everything in my life, and so many others, is attached to that train,” he once told NPR. Two nice obituaries on our site today capture his story: Richie Havens dies of heart attack at 72 (AP); Folk singer was the opening act at Woodstock (Bloomberg)

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