By Valerie Powell
“I really sing songs that move me. I’m not in the show business; I’m in the communications business. That’s what it’s about for me.” – Richie Havens
The music industry lost another legend this week with the death of Richie Havens on Monday, April 22. Havens was best known for his unique guitar style, soul filled folk rock, and pop and folk covers, such as the Beatles song “Here Comes the Sun” and The Who classic “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
Havens actually started his career as a poet and a portrait artist at the Greenwich Village scene. Later on he picked up the guitar and spent some time with Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. The major turning point in Havens’ career happened in 1969 with his famous three-hour opening set at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. While Havens recorded 21 studio albums, he was at his best onstage.
Richie Havens also did another important opening: he was the opening Different Tempo act for the Strings Music Pavilion in 2008. Betse Grassby of Strings Music Festival says, “I was honored to present him the opening year of the Pavilion. His live performance was exceptional.” The opening weekend of the Pavilion was an exciting time at Strings, and we will remember Richie Havens’ performance fondly.