April 22, 2013

Goodbye to Richie Havens.

The wonderful singer and guitarist — the first act at Woodstock — was 72.

I saw him in concert not long after that, on November 1, 1969 in Ann Arbor, opening for Laura Nyro. Quite beautiful, those 2, each performing the theater of getting enraptured and carried away by the music.

41 comments:

SteveR said...

Like Johnny Cash doing "Hurt" Havens, for those who lived during that time, was the voice of that beautiful song.

Strelnikov said...

Saw him as headliner of an all day show in '71. Self-righteous pain in the ass. Tried to get everyone to sit down in total silence, asked the house to shut down all ventilation (in July!), and generally condescended to the audience as a bunch of fools. Walked out, along with several thousand others.

wirecutter said...

Another great one gone.

BaltoHvar said...

Wonder if he ever got a new set of dentures?

MadisonMan said...

E. L. Konisburg also died today. I still have a copy of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

Astro said...

"Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom..."

ricpic said...

Would it've been too much for Mr. Wonderful to have taken the marbles out of his mouth before gracing us with a song, just once?

chickelit said...

He peaked early.

creeley23 said...

Thus the old guard passeth away.

I never had a clear line on Havens but he was an electrifying opener for Woodstock.

It's weird to be so much older now and remember how young everyone and everything was back then.

It's weird and wonderful to be able to cue up a Woodstock DVD and watch it like I was playing a record when I was a kid.

EMD said...

Abe Vigoda lives.

edutcher said...

One of the old folkies.

Bob_R said...

Perhaps my favorite by Ritchie. Rest in peace.

creeley23 said...

It's nice of Althouse to remember Laura Nyro. She was a jewel who died too young. "Eli and the Thirteenth Confession" was a forgotten masterpiece from 1968

Paul said...

"Mixed Bag" is still in rotation on my iPod, and "Follow" still chokes me up. A great, original voice.

RIP.

creeley23 said...

Bob_R: Good call. I wouldn't have figured that for a Dylan song.

Bob_R said...

"He peaked early." Maybe so. But the thing about being a folk singer is that you can just keep playing guitar and singing all your life and maintain a certain amount of dignity. Folk, (old school) country, blues, bluegrass are good for the long haul.

ken in sc said...

It's been almost a week now that our boy dog has been gone. He is a Boston Terrier, 12 years old. He is on medication for seizures. It makes him dopey. I think he wandered down to the road, and someone picked him up. I heard car horns blowing down there, but by the time I got there, there was no one there. His sister, who has been with him since birth, is totally devastated. It is very sad.

Bob_R said...

Sorry, Ken.

Lem said...

In that Woodstock footage, he appears as if in a trance.

chuck said...

One of my old room mates in the 60's used to quote bits of Ritchie's songs for laughs. Ludicrous stuff.

William said...

Folk singers seem to die younger than rock singers--exclusive of od's, of course. You would think that with all that strumming of peace and love he could have achieved sufficient serenity and balance to break eighty. Maybe it was all a pose, and now that he's dead we'll learn the real story.

tiger said...

I've got one of his 'live' albums and he does a great version of 'Tupelo Honey'.

Too bad he had such hippy dippy political beliefs.

Performers just don't understand that being able to stand in front of a crowd and sing or in a front of a camera and act doesn't make them experts on *anything*.

Even Olivia Wilde was tweeting about our need for more 'gun control'.

What a moron.

chickelit said...

Lem said...
In that Woodstock footage, he appears as if in a trance.

Woodstock was trance-formative. What began in about 1965 peaked there and lasted until Altamont.

Harold said...

A half dozen of my facebook friends posted this. I have no clue who he is. And it always sad to see an artist that others appreciate go. But, as Don Surber says, he got his three score and ten.

bagoh20 said...

"performing the theater of getting enraptured and carried away by the music."

I'm not a stage performer, but I bet that is usually authentic rapture for most artists. It feels too good and is reward enough alone, but if they pay me for it, then great, I'd love them to watch.

mccullough said...

Nostalgia.

Mark Daniels said...

I'm surprised by his age. He always seemed ancient to me and yet he died at the relatively young age of 72.

Mark Daniels said...

Richie Havens and the Perils of Looking on the Outside

Mark Daniels said...

Thanks for the writing prompt, Ann.

Unknown said...

Another piece of my youth has died.

I bought his "Mixed Bag" album with money from my paper route.

dandean said...

In the summer of '68, my parents loaded the four kids, the dog, the cat, and two friends of ours into our Chevy Impala and headed up to Cape Cod from New Jersey for a couple of weeks in a rented cottage in Yarmouth. One day my friend Jimmy and I headed into Hyannis to hang out. We wandered into one of those early hippy-type shops that sold music, posters, incense and such. They were playing 'Mixed Bag." I loved it immediately and went back to Red Bank, NJ a few weeks later and bought it.

Haven't listened to Ritchie much lately, but I guess I need to dust of the Woodstock DVD tonight....

Clyde said...

Another musical artist who died over the weekend was Christina Amphlett, lead singer of the Divinyls back in the 1980s and 1990s. Their hit song "I Touch Myself" was put to unforgettable use in the first Austin Powers movie when he met the fembots.

Tank said...

Was gonna make a slightly negative comment, then realized I don't really know enough about him. So I told myself to STFU. Sometimes that's the best approach.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Richie Havens felt his songs at us.

donald said...

I thought he was 72 in 1969.

rhhardin said...

An overnight nobody on WABC radio said that when he used to date a broadway actress, waiting for her in a cafe on Wednesdays, Richie Havens would come in and sit at his table just to chat, just as conversation, week after week.

So evidently he was a nice guy.

I never heard of him.

Crunchy Frog said...

One day all the hippie boomer icons of the 60s will be dead, and we won't have to hear about them anymore.

One day.

Crunchy Frog said...

One day all the hippie boomer icons of the 60s will be dead, and we won't have to hear about them anymore.

One day.

Chuck Currie said...

His left hand fingering/cording is so unique (maybe because his hands are so large), I was wondering if any guitar players on this thread know if he used a different tuning, as David Crosby did in his younger, solo days.

Cheers

Ipso Fatso said...

"His left hand fingering/cording is so unique..."

Can't tell you anything about that but Jim Hall, one of the greatest jazz guitar players, has said that Richie Havens was one of the best rythm guitar players he had ever heard. High praise indeed.

RonF said...

Saw him perform in a free concert at the Boston Gardens (the park, not Boston Garden the arena). Great stuff, people were yelling for more even after a lengthy set.