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In Memoriam: Richie Havens


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Richie Havens is best known for -- and he knew it -- the song he made up on the spot, "Freedom." He opened Woodstock and had to kill time as other bands tried to get to the jammed site. He finally jammed a song spontaneously that became a highlight of the show, the film and the soundtrack. What it lacked in finished words "Freedom" made up in passion, and Havens knew years later that when he died it would be what would kick off his obituary.

That day came today. A sudden heart attack felled Havens at home. He was 72. The revered folk singer gave up touring last year for health reasons, but his death was still sudden and unexpected.

http://social.entertainment.msn.com/music/blogs/blog--the-voice-of-freedom-goes-silent?ocid=ansent11

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You just can't even begin to imagine how thoroughly his performance defined and gave shape to the gestalt of Woodstock. It all flowed from what he did in those early hours. I'd never even heard of the guy but he was, without a doubt, the greatest performance at Woodstock.

I oughta know, I was there.

Sad, sad news indeed. Of course, we have long since walked away from his dream, and the dream of a generation which squandered it's legacy on a headrush into crass materialism.

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