Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Richie Havens

Richie Havens died today. He was 72 years old.

He's one of those musicians whose name has always been familiar to me, but if you'd asked me to name one of his songs, I couldn't. His passing probably wouldn't have met my notice if not for wonderful Mojo, to whom I owe so much music I love, posting this song today. It's part of the set he played to open Woodstock; three hours, which included making up songs, to keep the crowd entertained and appeased while the other artists, delayed by the unbelievable traffic, tried to get there. After that long, he was still called on for encores; this song makes it easy to see why.

It's so beautiful, it made me cry. A voice like his is at once so comforting and also makes me feel sad; I feel as if I can hear his history in it - the good, the bad, and the fact that it's gone. It made me mournful for what he was part of, and the dream of Woodstock, and the hippies, and the fact that those things are gone, too.

It also made me think about the things artists leave behind. I don't know much about his personal life, just what I read briefly on wikipedia, impeded by tears, but this song is a gift to me, and if you watch the video on youtube and read the comments, you'll read what a gift he was to so many other people. There is no-one more important to leave happiness for than the people closest to you, but I really appreciate the people who are able to leave something for everyone else. Like Richie has. Rest in peace.


  1. i had never heard of richie havens before but i hope he rests in peace. i love his guitar playing and his voice. this post is written so sweetly, i hope you're okay.

    1. This is such a lovely comment; thank you. I'm glad we both know about him now! xo