Richie Havens - 'Freedom' (from Woodstock)

Richie Havens
Richie Havens’ performance of ’Freedom’ was one of the highlights of the Woodstock Festival in 1969

Folk singer Richie Havens died of a heart attack on April 22, 2013 He was best known for his riveting performance of "Freedom" at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. He was 72.

A year after Woodstock, on August 6, Havens performed at the Summer Festival for Peace at Shea Stadium. "Freedom" was highlight on that day as well. The crowd danced so hard the upper-deck tiers literally swayed to the music.

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1941, Havens was drawn to the Greenwich Village folk scene in the late-'50s and early-'60s. The soulful folkie recorded a series of popular albums from 1965 to 1976, including Mixed Bag, Stonehenge and Alarm Clock. His version of the Beatles's "Here Comes the Sun" was a Top 20 hit in 1971.

Peter Tosh covered Havens' anti-war song, "Handsome Johnny."

Richie Havens at the Pot Parade
Richie Havens at the NYC Pot Parade with David Peel, Tom Doyle, Jerry the Peddler and others (David Peel Archives)

Havens was a supporter of the marijuana cause, playing at rallies in New York during his long, illustrious career.


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.