Folk legend Richie Havens died unexpectedly yesterday morning in his New Jersey home from a sudden heart attack. He was 72 years old.
The Brooklyn-born artist got his start in gospel and doo-wop before becoming prominent in the music scene after performing an impromptu opening set at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. With his unique and memorable guitar playing and soulful voice, Havens first entered the Billboard charts in the late 60s and early 70s with albums like Richard P. Havens, 1983 and Alarm Clock. He was also known for his covers of pop and folk songs, perhaps most notably, his version of the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.”
Havens toured and recorded music for over four decades before announcing his retirement last year. Beloved for his personality as well as his music, many will remember Havens for his light sense of humor, compassionate nature and powerful presence. Also a family man, Havens leaves behind three daughters, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
While his family greatly appreciates that Richie’s many fans are also mourning this loss, they do ask for privacy during this difficult time.
A public memorial will be planned for a later date.